We South Asians are experts in creating double standards when it comes to gender. I have been conscious of how my culture defines different expectations based on gender. A man and woman’s treatment no doubt is world apart in my culture. Let’s focus on the matter of marriage for now. There was a female relative whose unfaithful husband had committed an affair after 12 years of marriage and two children. The husband had settled in with another woman and she bore him a child too. However, the husband not only proved to be a cheat but also a cowered too. He decided becoming a father again to a baby who he had with who he really only thought of as his “whore” was too much responsibility to handle and to give to someone who he only used for sexual gratification and also to satisfy his mid-life crisis issues. What a mess this is, who do I feel sorry for? The husband, the whore, the wife or the children involved?
All of them I guess, the husband because he allowed his weak self-control to get the better of him and now his children despise him and only see him as the cheat and the not the father who once held their hand whilst their morning walks to school. The wife, for losing her husband, for not being able to sexually please her husband, for thinking she was not able to sexually please her husband and that’s why he did what he did, for him not having any respect for her, her losing her self-respect, her now becoming gossip for her relatives and friends and for her marriage falling apart so shamelessly. The whore, she thought he loved her; he only used her, for beginning to see dreams of a family and life with him, for being labelled as the “whore”, for having a love child that is shunned, for having to go through the pregnancy and will have to go through raising their child on her own. And finally, the children, all three. The children of the wife, the betrayal as well as confusion that must have gone through them, the embarrassment in school playgrounds when gossip spreads from the aunties to their children who are friends of the children, the uncertainty of not having a proper home no more and losing their dad. The love child, for having such a useless father, for being seen as a curse, shame and embarrassment instead of a beautiful blessing like all the children he will go to school with in the future.
See the issue here is when relating back to my culture is the only person who was taken into consideration from all of these unfortunates was the husband, the man. There was discussion, what we call “politics” taking place, where the heads of both families would have a meeting aiming to reach to some sort of conclusion. However, disappointingly, they didn’t do much for all the victims involved in this mess. Only the man’s wellbeing was taken into consideration. The argued with the wife, urged her to take him back as his reputation is on the line here. How she should just forgive him, and if she doesn’t and she hasn’t till this date she is now perceived by them as stubborn, arrogant, stupid and selfish. Its ironic how she is perceived as all these things when the man wasn’t, no he only made a “mistake”. He wasn’t selfish or stupid when getting his lover pregnant. No, all he had done was made a mistake.
So why is it that the wife who got so much grief for refusing to accept that man as her husband again? She’s the victim here right? Now let’s imagine these roles were reversed. The wife is the cheat and the husband is the victim. The wife is carrying her lover’s child. Her lover the man will not be branded as the “whore” but instead the pregnant wife is now the whore. Can you ever imagine family member’s encouraging the husband to accept that pregnant cheating whore as his wife again? No bloody way in a million years would that happen! So why must the woman have to endure this no empathy attitude from my culture when it comes to her husband cheating on her?