Judge not and ye shall not be judged?

IHM asked a question on her blog Why do women judge other women. To me this is interesting psychologically, because the kind of judges I am going to describe are peculiar. These are the ‘been there done that’ ones. Somewhat like abuse victims turning abusers.

So if you have had an abusive mother in law, instead of being kind towards your daughter in law, you will treat her badly too. And you will use excuses like this is how the traditions are to be passed on, there was a reason I was ‘tamed’ by my mother in law and so I will ‘tame’ my daughter in law too.

Sometimes the judgement isn’t as simple however. Sometimes they try to be sympathetic and tell you how things should be. You hear statements like, you know one should ‘adjust’ (and I hear this more from women). You know these children today, they have too many expectations. These are people who have been ‘victimised’ but have rationalised it somehow and integrated it into their lives. So the very fact that you are not taking shit and are actually thinking of getting out of it becomes a mirror to them, a reflection that they can’t stand. If you have noticed ‘un’happily married women seem to make the loudest noise when someone else gets a divorce. These women then go on about how that girl was too modern to ever last in a family or give the famous line about how there are always going to be fights and that is no reason to end a marriage.

This type of judgement is not just restricted to women and family life. You find it in the work world too. Somehow anyone who does something different from the ‘established’ norm is wrong, too rebellious, immature etc etc. The ultimate argument always given is that the world is unfair and everyone has to live with that. To me when that comes from people who have the power to do something only shows their own selfishness, it is because the unfairness of the world is skewed in their favour that they do not want to change or that they are not willing to take responsibility for shaking up things.

Most of these ‘victims’ get a perverse, sadistic pleasure in seeing that someone else is going through the same shit. It indirectly validates their experience and every effort is made to stop the new person from breaking free, because once the new person breaks free, they have no justification for why they didn’t do anything. Agreed, getting out of abuse is not easy, there are many considerations for victims sometimes. But if someone else is sticking their neck out, why pull the rug below their feet? Why not rejoice that atleast another person is not going to be in the same predicament as you? Why not wish them well? Maybe they can get out and you still can’t but who said that it makes you wrong? Why not just accept that someone else’s life is at the end of the day, someone else’s life.

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3 Comments

  1. Though I wish it wasn't like this, I guess I agree with you, 'it is because the unfairness of the world is skewed in their favour that they do not want to change…', because
    “…once the new person breaks free, they have no justification for why they didn't do anything” .

    “Why not just accept that someone else's life is at the end of the day, someone else's life.”

    Loved this post!

  2. Hello Cilla,

    Loved you post. My ex-MIL often said that a woman is a woman's worst enemy. It is certainly true with regard to Indian women. I think we Indian women internalise society's messages about our inferiority and our defects. A lot of stereotypes about Indian women can be traced back to our scriptures, especially the Manusmriti. Since Hindu women are expected to be eternally dutiful, loyal and devoted to their husbands because it is our stree dharma, a lot of people are unsettled at the prospect of a woman choosing to leave an unhappy marriage. The traditional understanding is that a woman stays married no matter how abusive or unhappy her marriage is. A lot of Indian women are also hopelessly confused. They want independence, freedom, respect and equality, but they have also been raised to be obedient, dutiful, submissive and “adjusting”.
    I think women are a lost cause in India until we women begin to respect and to stand up for others who belong to our gender. This means that a woman acknowledges that her brother's wife deserves the same respect and consideration as does her sister's husband. This means that a mother acknowledges that her daughter has the same right to pursue educational and professional opportunities as does her son.
    Change will be slow in coming, but it will come. It is our responsibility to ensure that Indian society treats its future daughters with a little more respect and dignity.

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