In Indian society, the institution of the family is ingrained in sociocultural sexism having heteronormative parochial views where monogamy takes supersedence. There is no single definition of what constitutes a family. However, it is recognized that a family is an integral unit of society formed by interpersonal relationships. The broader and widely accepted definition in India restricts family to husband-wife-children and other family members like grandparents, etc. There is no recognition of same-sex and transgender marriages, which overlook families that exist within these boundaries. Along with being heteronormative, it also promotes a patriarchal institution, with women given the subordinate position in family matters.
The Hijra community, LGBTQIA+, basically all non-conformist families are ostracised from the ambit of law and are subject to unfair social treatment. As a ray of hope, in Navtej Johar v Union of India, AIR 2018 SC4321, section 377 was scrapped down, decriminalizing same-sex relationships. According to the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, it provided that provisions should be made to provide legal recognition to same-sex marriages, the prohibition of child marriage, equality between men and women should be met, rights to be provided against violence within the family, and urges the state to provide laws on basis of basic human rights principles. These rights are mainly talking about the rights in terms of family boundaries while disregarding the personal autonomous freedom that these disadvantaged groups mainly LGBTQIA+, women, and disabled people should be granted in a family that goes beyond the scope of just empowerment.
Single-hood is looked down upon in society and women are urged to find a suitable husband. The pressure mounted on women often supersedes that of men. Women are conditioned and expected to forgo the previous identity that they held before marriage and are required to settle down into her new family, conforming herself to serve her family. They are treated like the property of the family. Generally when a woman is married, her title changes, she is then addressed as Mrs, which before marriage is Miss. The man continues using the title of Mr. Ornaments, sindoor, rings worn only by women turn into symbols of a married woman, to show everyone that she is taken and belongs to a man. The requirements of a man to make such a pronouncement is uncommon. However, it cannot be generalized that all women are forced to pronounce their marital status using these symbols, some make that choice voluntarily, like the choice of some women to wear the burqa.
The protection of women from domestic violence act, 2005 recognizes live-in relationships only between heterosexual couples. Protection of the institution of the family is given more importance over the sanctity of women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Cis-gendered men top the hierarchy. There is a Tremendous difference between law on paper and the horrors of reality. Reforms made have proven insufficient and to date monogamous, heterosexual relationships are considered the only norm, and many are still on the disadvantaged spectrum.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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