Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The 21st century villain

Once upon a time, a young girl was groomed since she was little to be a good wife and daughter-in-law. She was taught by her own mother that the most important role she would ever play in life was to serve her husband and the way to his heart was not only through his stomach but to also through his mother’s heart.

So she learned how to cook, clean, serve, present herself gracefully in public at all times in order not to bring shame to her new family and above all, to be obedient and respectful.

No amount of preparation would mitigate her anxiety towards the unknown; notably her first night with a man, her ability to produce a male heir and last but not least whether she would ever gain the approval of her future mother-in-law.

Once a wife, this girl would always be fearful of her mother-in-law. She would always ask herself whether she had lived up to the latter’s expectations, whether she had done her husband proud and whether she had proved her worth to her new family.

Fairy tales’ villains are usually in the form of a cruel stepmother. In real life, it is the interfering, ungrateful and hard to please mother-in-law. While there is nothing magical about this tale where Prince Charming always comes to the rescue, husbands usually cohort with their mothers in humiliating and criticising their wives when there is a conflict.

In the 21st century,  there seems to be a role reversal. Mother-in-laws do not have the same power over the marriage and spell over their sons anymore. A wife no longer aims to please or serve her mother-in-law, but instead, expect her mother-in-law to serve her. Yes, the fairy tale still exist, only this time with a different villain and nastier.

I don’t know how this has happened. Perhaps, it’s because our standard and condition of living have improved so much so that parents nowadays are spoiling their children by doing everything for them. Girls do not need to lift a finger anymore at home when there is a maid in hand. Accustomed to such an easy lifestyle  from the beginning, which mother-in-law dares to ask her to clean the toilet?

Mothers, who have previously been trained to serve all her life, do not seem to mind doing all the chores from day to night, all in the name of love for their sons. So, in order to please their sons, they try to please their daughter-in-laws.

I’ve known and seen many family members where the mother-in-laws are the ones waking up every morning to prepare breakfast, wash her daughter-in-laws’ undergarments and look after her grandchildren so that their daughter-in-laws could go for a manicure, facial or massage.

Nowadays, a mother-in-law has such low expectations  that not only her daughter-in-law  no longer needs to walk on eggshells, the latter is walking all over her.  Apparently as long as her son is happy, she’s happy.

Mother-in-laws are not the only ones who have changed, husbands have mutated too. They no longer take the sides of their mothers when there is a conflict. They have learned that wives can deny them sex at any time if they do not stick up with them when times are rough. Hooray to women power!

So, you can say that this is sort of a revenge to all those horrible and wicked mother-in-laws who have made many wives suffer.

Welcome to the era of the ugly and cruel daughter-in-law.

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