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Stockholm Syndrome among (Indian) Women

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Rehanism

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Rehanism

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Posted: 06 February 2014 at 11:00pm | IP Logged
How to deal with a situation when women themselves consider the most misogynistic social evils like 'Sati-hood' to be a matter of honour and high virtue? Recently I had been to a forum dedicated to the TV show Mahabharat, that I follow. They were discussing whether Draupadi was 'chaste' enough to be regarded as 'Sati' alongside Sati, Sita, Savitri etc..One girl listed the criteria for being Sati. Here's a conversation that followed.

XYZ : Sati - in a broader sense- refers to all the women who are chaste, loyal and unflinchingly faithful to their husbands.

Draupadi's name occurs in the Panchakanya's list- for a different reason.

But to answer your question, Draupadi is also considered a Sati for the simple reason that she did epitomize the qualities mentioned above. She was chaste loyal and devoted to all her five husbands. When Jayadrath abducts her, the way she describes the Pandavas is so beautiful.

Yudhishthira claims that the loved Arjuna the most, but that's just his opinion. Even if we assume she did love Arjuna the most, she did so covertly- never overtly. There's not one incident in the entire MB which supports this charge on her.

In fact after Bhima rips of the divine Mani from Ashwathama's head, and presents it to Drauapdi, she gives it to Yudhishthira - not Arjuna

When Virata throws dice on Yudhishthira's cheek and he starts bleeding Drauapdi rushes to him to staunch the flow of blood, despite the fact that Yudhishthira ignored her pleas for help when tormented by Keechak.

The Drauapdi of the original MB was a noble lady.

AFAIK, her so-called relationship with Karna is contrived, convoluted and crass.

It is said that the characteristic of a Sati lady is that she does not suffer widowhood. Draupadi too didn't.

Now before everyone jumps at me pointing that Mandodari was a Sati and Ravana died before her, I would like to explain. out that for a period of twelve days after a man's death, his wife is still considered a wife. it is only after the thirteenth day ceremony is performed that she is considered a widow. If within a period of tweleve days after her husband's death, his wife too dies, she is considered to have died a suhagan.

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ME : What a disgustingly misogynistic set of criteria of 'Sati' listed in the previous page!! Especially the one about a woman not suffering widowhood and dying within 12 days of husband's death. And this epithet is supposed to be a matter of pride for women? No wonder why India is so f**ked up to the core.

I hope Draupadi is NOT a sati, because she's the only likable woman I find in entire Indian mythology. If she qualifies for that title, she's officially struck off from my mind.


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XYZ : Do loyalty, fidelity respect and honour towards one's husband come under the category of "misogynisctic" ?

No, India is not f**ked to the core because of these values.

Rather, the West is f**ked to the core because of the absence of these values.


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ME : Yes it is.

And the fact you don't understand this is the reason why India is one of the most dangerous places for women.

Spitting on those 'values' of yours would be an insult to my saliva. And I have no regret for this statement of mine. Any sane person who has read your post, anyone who has slightest regard for humanity and hopes for a more free and equal world would agree with me.


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ME : Ofcourse women were (and are) considered as properties of men. Why else is daughter called 'paraya dhan' (literally - another man's property)? Why else is husband called 'Swami' (literally - owner/master)? Master of what? A slave or a commodity! Free humans do not have masters. Why else no one among Pandavas even bothered to ask Draupadi's opinion before deciding that they all would marry her? When Karna justified Draupadi's disrobing by claiming that Draupadi was already lost when Pandavas were lost, why else couldn't knowledgeable people like Vidur and Bheeshm think of a rebuttal? Because they knew that woman is a man's property that he has now lost to another man.

But despite being treated like shit all your life, if you still consider it to be a matter of pride and the purpose of your life to lick your husband's feet incessantly, and jump into fire at his death, you are an ideal woman! That's Great Indian Kaalchaar for you.


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XYZ : We indians have the culture where women perform their duty as a daughter,wife,mother,daughter in law in a religious manner...this is what we are born with and is in our blood how much modern we become...this is the reason why we have so much of respect for our elderly people...why still infront of our parents and in laws we still bow our heads...husband in india or in western countries are karta of the family...even in christianity during marriage wife takes oath to love and care for her husband and his family and husbamd take oath of taking responsibility of fulfilling all the needs of his husband...it is not vice vrsa...in western countries too husband is a master of the family...is the head and takes all the duty...isnt it an exception when a husband is taking care of family sitting at home cooking food for his wife waiting for her in the evening and wife comes from office ask her husband to serve food for her...dear even a woman doesnot feel good to marry a man who will be dependent on her rather she will always ask for a partner whom she will feel dependent on...
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When we discuss issues like rape, bride burning, honour killing, etc we tend to see them in isolation however almost no effort is done to delve deep into this sort of deep entrenched and widely accepted culture of misogyny that breeds them.

The question is -- Isn't it our defeat that a large chunk of Indian women themselves (and that too educated ones using most modern technology) suffer from such Stockholm syndrome and consider feminists and liberals as their enemies and proudly lend their shoulders to a thoroughly sexist and abusive culture and its role-models? How does one, then, respond to arguments like **
see women here have no problem with it, then what is your problem**?

PS : The purpose of the thread is not to decide who was right in this interaction. So please don't bother to elaborate on that too much. Rather focus on the culturally institutionalized misogyny and women's role in its sustenance.


Edited by Rehanism - 10 February 2014 at 9:47am

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K.Universe.

Goldie

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 10:43am | IP Logged
If I were to judge solely on the above dialogue that took place between you and XYZ, I would say you lost your cool (and your cause as well). You failed to convince even one person, let alone rid the society of the evils that you so despise.

Statements such as "What a disgustingly misogynistic set of criteria", "No wonder why India is so f**ked up to the core.", "Spitting on those 'values' of yours would be an insult to my saliva", "despite being treated like shit all your life, if you still consider..." wouldn't win you any arguments. Foul language aside, in my opinion, the main reason for losing the argument would be the missing links.

XYZ was apparently endorsing "loyalty, fidelity respect and honour towards one's husband". You didn't furnish argument how that leads to "Stockholm Syndrome", "misogyny", "rape, bride burning, honor killing" and other analogous malefactions afflicting women. May be you are right, may be you are not; you still have to lead them to what is that you see that they are failing to see, still have to provide a glimpse into your cognitive powers so to speak.


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charminggenie

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 11:16am | IP Logged
Well, I agree with Mr K, will give my opinion based on the tone of this debate not the context. There were two reasons why you failed to probably get the reaction that your thought-provoking and reasonably relevant sentiments deserved, they were:-
By mentioning India , you sounded more patronizing and  like a snob. They saw you as someone who considered India and its traditions backward compared to the western world. Your argument was lost in this nationalistic battle.

Second ,  the phrases and the language , worked against you , hence the warning.


@On topic of Draupadi and other female characters, each of them were influential in their own ways. There is nothing to suggest that they were submissive to any gender . Yet, a reflection on their character  is solely based on personal interpretations. I won't comment on India's culture and history as much as its people for altering such tales according to their convenience. 

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return_to_hades

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 12:35pm | IP Logged

I get what you are trying to say about patriarchy and issues with perception of women in Indian culture. As a woman, these concepts like sati' definitely do piss me off. I do have a problem with some notions women themselves adhere to. Unfortunately, as Mister. K pointed out, your approach was wrong. You failed to explain what exactly the problem with the notions and why they can lead to bigger issues.

 

"Loyalty, fidelity, respect and honor towards one's husband" To me that is a very sound concept. These values are some of the fundamental building blocks of a relationship. A wife should have these feelings toward her husband. But marriage is a two way street that demands reciprocity. It should be complemented with "Loyalty, fidelity, respect and honor towards one's wife".

 

Indian traditions suffer because there is no balance or reciprocity. There are many lopsided expectations of the wife, but not many of the husband. There is an unfair imbalance. So we do need to address these issues. Although as a caution, not everyone adheres or believes in the lopsided notions. I think we can use this topic to address these issues.

 

Specifically as far as Draupadi goes, I like her as unlike Sita or Sati who are passive heroines Draupadi was very different. FYI - The following is how I interpret Draupadi and others may see her differently.

 

Drupada had raised Draupadi with the intention of being Arjuna's wife. Draupadi grew up with romantic affections for Arjuna, dreaming of being his bride. She objects to being treated as bhiksha and being distributed amidst all brothers, but accepts it out of respect for Kunti and the dharma of Yudhishthir. In her heart however, she loved Arjuna the most as her husband and viewed herself as his bride. She displayed insane jealousy towards Arjuna's other consorts and wives. This is true because unlike Yudhisthira, Draupadi and the Pandavas are unable to ascend heaven and die during the ascent. According to dharma, Draupadi's flaw is said to be that she loved Arjuna more and viewed herself as his bride even when she was supposed to treat all husbands equally.

 

She took great umbrage to being treated as property and being wagered by Yudhishthira. She publicly chides him and insults him in the Kaurava court for his wagering, an act of defiance and resistance uncommon amidst women in the time. It is partly due to Draupadi's wrath and questioning that the elders intervene and send the Pandavas to exile instead. Krishna supports Draupadi in all her questioning because she is right in her place and it is time for dharma to evolve with society.

 

Draupadi also did not tolerate harassment by Keechaka. When the Pandavas refused to help her out of fear of blowing their cover, she furiously chides and every one of them, even calling Yudhishthir as not being a man in the process. She eventually manipulates Bheema's pride and anger to punish Keechaka. So it is incorrect to assume that she accepted her fate as is. Her helping Yudhishthira when he is hurt is more of an act of compassion, rather than going out of her way to be virtuous. She never forgives the Pandavas for failing to help her, but she isn't vengeful to want them to suffer in any way.

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K.Universe.

Goldie

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 12:50pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades



"Loyalty, fidelity, respect and honor towards one's husband" To me that is a very sound concept. These values are some of the fundamental building blocks of a relationship. A wife should have these feelings toward her husband. But marriage is a two way street that demands reciprocity. It should be



In other words, equality.

The law of the land, depending upon the country in which a person resides, will guarantee status, rights, and opportunities.

How do you propose we guarantee equality between two persons in a relationship when the persons in the said relationship are physically, financially, intellectually unequal?

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return_to_hades

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 1:42pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by K.Universe.

How do you propose we guarantee equality between two persons in a relationship when the persons in the said relationship are physically, financially, intellectually unequal?


Guarantee is a hard sell.

First challenge is that a relationship is always between unequal people. People will always have inherent differences on many levels.

Second challenge is that the perception of equality can be relative. Some women actually love to cook, care for and fuss over their husbands. It gives them great joy. They are content with traditional male/female roles. To tell her that her marriage is unequal would be unfair.

Final challenge is that equality in a relationship is defined by the two people involved. It is difficult for a third party to comment on what is fair unfair.

That being said, I think we can start the dialogue. Discuss pros and cons of some views. Explain why some notions maybe problematic. A healthy dialogue can change how men and women enter relationships. In the end we also do need some objective standards - no one should be taken for granted or be subject to abuse/unfairness.

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K.Universe.

Goldie

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 4:27pm | IP Logged
So, where there is a scope for a dominant-submissive relationship, and by the looks of it there is aplenty in familial settings, and where the law of the land is inapplicable or unenforceable, it looks like we can only hope that persons in relationships abide by a code of conduct?

Unfortunately, hope is not a plan.

Where does the urge to dominate come from? Is it biological (genes) or social or a mix of both?

return_to_hades

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Posted: 07 February 2014 at 10:47pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by K.Universe.

Where does the urge to dominate come from? Is it biological (genes) or social or a mix of both?


It is the age old nature vs nurture discussion. Is dominance always wrong? Or is there wiggle room?

OT: Taking an Astrobiology class on Coursera. Lots of discussion on origins of life.

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