If you think you have it bad, just read this…
We Americans are lucky to live in a progressive society where, it would seem, all rules are meant to be broken…or at least bent to our will. That said, many of us still abide by traditional wedding customs, such as the ridiculous notion that the bride’s parents should be fully financially responsible for the wedding. Um, what? It’s 2012, let’s get with the program! Apparently, I’m not the only person pissed off by this completely unfair tradition, as a similar practice is used in India.
Although accepting or giving a dowry has been illegal since 1961, it’s still expected that the bride’s family give the groom’s parents cash or other gifts. This isn’t a one-time deal, either: it’s generally expected that dowry demands continue until well after the wedding ceremony. In extreme cases, the bride is tortured or murdered if her family doesn’t pay up. According to India‘s National Crime Records Bureau in 2010, 8,391 women died in dowry-related deaths. Appalling, no?
Even worse, statistics suggest that 44% of all crimes against women in the country were carried out by their husbands and relatives.
I almost have no words…almost.
The idea of a ‘dowry’ at all exists for old school Indian families, but ‘New India’ men are apparently just as bad. They have no idea where to draw the line and are reportedly persistent to a nearly stalker-like level.
According to experts, this behavior is a result of shifting social norms, infrequent interaction between the sexes and varying interpretations of power dynamics through pop culture.
Journalist Hanna Ingber interviewed a slew of professionals who spoke about male confusion towards dating, love and relationships in a changing society.
“We are going through a period in which no one is quite sure what the rules are,” Jerry Pinto, author of “Surviving Women”, acknowledges.
Journalist Sameera Khan says that Indian men are crude and tend to harass women because they haven’t been informed otherwise, unlike their American counterparts. They don’t know how to maintain their personal space or an appropriate level of political correctness. At workplaces, for example, she says that some employees even send around mass emails blatantly making fun of women and lower caste people.
Indrajit Chattopadhyay, who lives near New Delhi, says he flirts with women by sending them five to 10 text messages a day. If she does not respond to the initial messages, he continues sending them.
“If I find the water is cold, I try and make it warm before taking it forward,” he says.“If I send five [text messages] today and no response, and five tomorrow and no response, obviously I will trickle down to two and then one and then zero.”
As I learn about the men in different cultures, I do appreciate the fact that I’m American more and more frequently. American guys may typically be pains in my bottom who play far too many games, but at least they usually get the message. Just sayin’…