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I Wish All It Took Was My Sindoor To Keep Me Safe

( words)
*For representational purpose only.
Why are there marital symbols only for women and not for men? The justification for this is that women can choose not to wear these symbols later. My question is, why do these marital symbols even exist? And why is marriage defined differently by both men and women?

Recently, I came across a term, ‘the new age married woman”, which I’ve heard from both men and women. Some women feel the need to justify why they don’t wear symbols, while many men are of the opinion that such women defy traditions and are trying to show themselves as, ‘single’. Does not wearing any marital symbol signify availability? NO!

Women don’t need to be called anything: from new age married woman, to lose women who wish to show themselves as single. Why is there this name calling?

There already are so many in our society, starting from calling women Goddesses to Witches. Why should we explain something to society which truly isn’t any of their business?   Do marital symbols make women safe? Does wearing one of these keep a man’s gaze away from you, or a woman’s body?

If we go by mythologies, even Goddess Durga was seen with a wrong gaze; just as Sita was too. They were all seen with evil eyes, by one man or the other, and they all were wearing symbols of marriage.

I’m a Bengali, married woman who used to adorn myself with all the marital symbols, like sindoor, a bindi and red and white bangles. But for the last three years, I’ve stopped all of this.

My mother-in-law never questioned me, she’s a lady who allows me to have my own space to grow and live. My mom, on the other hand, went on questioning me about this decision until I spilt my heart to her and told her why I didn’t want to wear any of it. It was because of a dehumanizing ritual, one which forbids vanity; the ritual of a wife becoming a widow.

The worst part is when at that vulnerable moment, a woman gets tortured at the hands of her own people. When they come to wipe off her sindoor and break her bangles. Not wearing these marital signs aren’t my personal choice, or out of any prejudice, but because I want to question the very essence of a woman: doesn’t she have her own identity? Her own individuality?

All of this is already daunting for her, the loss of her husband, so why should society try to make situations worse for her, instead of better? And if society can’t explain how biased they are, against women, then how do they expect to explain this? The fact is that symbols don’t shield you from anything.

Needless to say, there are demons both outside and inside one’s homes too. The fact is that either you wear symbols or not, the eyes of lust will gaze. While I only sport a bindi in an ethnic dress, I used it as a style statement.

The imperative choice here is, no obligations. I consider that if men were taught modesty or self-respect, and there would have been symbolism for a married man as well; several problems would have been solved.


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