My Grandma Didn’t Let My Parents Go On Their Honeymoon.

Alas! Her son has another woman in his life now.

joono
Pop Desified

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South Asian “boy moms” were born centuries before the term itself was. And it has been so normalized that every time there was a woman who was victimized by such a “boy mom” in the form of her mother in law, she became one the moment she had a son. The cycle was repeated again and again all while internally nurturing the misogynistic and incestuous roots of the phenomenon.

The patriarchy is the first to be blamed. Making girl children a huge burden on the parents in every aspect of it, parents were bound to prefer their sons over daughters. Even now there are families in India which encourage female infanticides and in case that doesn’t happen, the girl faces blatant discrimination growing up where her entire family treats her like a slave all while the brother(s) can exist as princes. Misogyny lies in the root, but the culture is equally to blame. Girls, when they are hardly of age, are married “off” to men and are considered as paraya dhan, meaning wealth that belongs to someone else. The marriage procedure is just a huge financial burden on the girl’s family, from dowry to every single expenditure put upon the girl’s family. Failing which, she can be denied marriage or worse, married and then tortured by her in-laws. A woman’s life in such a culture and society has no respect and no value and just when she has lost all hopes of having the minimum of any of it, she realises she can be redeemed. Through her motherhood.

A woman is valued, when she is in any way, associated with a man. If she can become the mother of a boy, she will finally have respect, the right to opinions and to live with dignity. That’s where a woman’s obsession with a boy child births. And if she does have a son, she is going to latch on to him to do the same things that she has been subjected to and hated, because she is in more than one way, helpless.

She is going to be the toxic boy mom she hated her mom for being, favouring her son over whatever daughters she has, because like herself, these daughters will be married off into families and serve no purpose for her. But her son will. So she wants her son to love her and choose her over everything else, even his own wife down the line, because that is how she gets to be who her mother in law is today. She forgives her mother for being a horrible mother because she wants an excuse for her behaviour too. She forgives hoping her daughters too will forgive her and take forward the same steps in the name of “culture” and “tradition”.

The mom of an obedient son lives on the seventh cloud. She has everything under her control, especially the finances of the house, that she so desperately wanted and needed but never got. She was denied education and thus a job, and was respected when finally her son brought home his entire salary and handed it over to her. He has given her what she’s wanted since she was born. The son trusts his mother’s financial judgements and this way, lies in her hand the power of the entire family. She can lay around the house and spend her days idly while ordering her daughter in law(s) to work properly, being her meanest self in her son’s absence. She keeps her image clean in front of only her sons so they keep trusting her with their money. She has succeeded in preventing her son from falling in love and got him married to a woman she wanted. This woman will never be able to bond with him because she actively brainwashes him against her every day. The son, being naive or stupid, never questions his mother and never bonds with his wife. The only woman he needs is his mother. And the only man the mother needs is her son. It is a case of mental incest and internalised misogyny at its finest.

My mom and her sister have exactly such mother in laws. My aunt is still processing her traumatic divorce because her mother in law was in love with her son and hated them both together to the point that she led them to their divorce. Even though it was an arranged marriage and she had consented to it all. My mother’s mother in law still interferes in my parents’ business, even though both her grandchildren are legal adults now. She’s still obsessed with my father and brainwashes him against my mother every day. I find it hard to believe he is not deliberately allowing all this because it has been proved to him time and again that she is up to no good. He simply enjoys two women fighting over him and the benefits he reaps from this. My mother still needs to babysit him because if she doesn’t, her competition, aka my grandma, will babysit him instead, leading to a bonding that will not favour my mom. With her children settled outside, she craves love and attention from her husband, only to be begging for crumbs after fighting with his mother for it everyday. It is tiring to even listen about, imagine going through it.

My mom plans on being a mature woman, she herself wants my brother to settle away from them to break this traumatic cycle that women have borne in this family. I’m so proud of her for taking this step and not feeding into what the culture expects of her. Also, with changing times, it is best to change and evolve.

If you want more insight into this, there’s a soap opera called “Saathiya” that started airing in 2010 that has this concept mastered. The “boy mom” was looking for a bride for his son. She outright rejected any girl who had even the basic level of education, stating her requirements as, “a woman who has a tongue but doesn’t speak, has eyes but doesn’t use them to entice her son, has hands and legs but submits like a puppet to her.” She also mentions that her son’s bride will be her daughter in law before her son’s wife. Despite all this, her behaviour was never called out. She only behaved normally with her son, who is perfect in her eyes, keeps seeking his validation and needs constant affirmation that his wife will not replace her in his life during the marriage procedure. The son doesn’t even look at the photo of the woman his mother chose for him, stating he trusts her decision, as if the only reason you can be curious about who you’re getting married to is because your mom is not trustworthy in your eyes. She is also extremely controlling of her son, who is a 26yo, making every single decision for him, which he happily allows. This behaviour is romanticised in the show and normalises toxicity for women after marriage and encouraging women to keep playing for and into patriarchal roles in society. You can watch the show on Hotstar.

Since times have changed, a lot has changed for women too. But what starts in the west comes to us as a cool thing even if we have done it, rejected it and moved ahead after that. I just hope the rise of discussions about boy moms doesn’t come back as a “cool” western trend, because it isn’t and will never be “cool”.

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joono
Pop Desified

With everything going on in my mind, writing is the only way to keep track of it ^^