Is it just me, or is the world going upside down? The National Commission for Women (NCW) has asked that maintenance be given to a woman who is deserted by her live-in partner. They are asking for an amendment to the Section 125 of our Criminal Procedure Code, which defines ‘wife’. They want the definition to include women in long-term live-in relationships. Hence, upon termination of such relationship by the man, they want him to pay alimony to his partner. This seems to be a perverse form of feminizing the laws of the country which is somehow in vogue today.
The very beauty of concubinage is in the liberal nature of it. It is seemingly taking over the youth of many developed countries who choose to exchange physical and emotional satisfaction without the ties of marriage. The lack of rules in such a system provides a flexibility which is attracting more and more people to it.
There is no need to cast moral aspersions on such a relationship, for some of the happiest relationships exist namelessly. Also, there are many valid arguments supporting the thesis that human beings are not naturally suited for monogamy, at least not all of us. Those that subscribe to such notions can enjoy the benefits of cohabitation without complications today, and they need not fear moral debasement from their peers.
But this may be pushing it a little. When a person enters into a marriage, it is pretty clear that they are in a serious relationship, and in absence of a pre-nuptial agreement, a division of the marital assets upon separation seems fair. People may approach a live-in relationship with varying levels of commitment. In such an event, forcing the issue on men to provide financial restitution to their partners should they choose to exit, seems like a flaw in the system. There is of course, no mention on any consideration to men if their liberated partner should choose to leave them. The NCW couldn’t care less if the men suffered. Consider this, live in relationships are more common among the young, educated and liberated. Women of this sect are rarely abused, nor are they financially dependent on the men. If they must deserve our applause for being independent, (which they do) shouldn’t they be asked to shoulder responsibility?
There is another demand of the NCW which is scaring me. They ask that adultery of the wife not be considered in divorce settlements. Now this gives some pause. A lot of states in the USA are ‘no-fault’, which means they don’t care if any partner has been adulterous. The divorce settlement is statutory. This is pretty practical and forward. If only the NCW had asked for a complete ‘no-fault’ divorce law. That would be a progressive move. They ask for this to be applied to women alone, claiming that many women are wrongly accused of adultery and thus defamed. While there is some sense in that, when will this group ever consider the potential for abuse in such laws?
The man can be accused of adultery and punitive measures can be taken, but women should be exempt. I don’t understand where this world is going. If someone makes a statement in public, “Women are smarter than men and they can do everything that men can, and better”, he or she would get (and has got) an applause. When the President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers said that “innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers”, he was boycotted and drew a lot of flak. Women walked out on him while he spoke, in a country which claims to be a beacon of free speech. I do not readily subscribe to that man’s views, but I would hear him out.
I do not mention this to digress, but to point out that any success of a woman is applauded and failures are blamed on the ‘glass ceiling’, which I’m sure exists in some cases, though not all.
If this feminization of laws and rules, and even norms in our society is not checked, I predict a complete wave of female domination identical to the male domination that we consider neanderthal and chauvinistic. To those who feel such a wave is warranted, all I can do is remind you of the dialogue in the movie Disclosure, “a woman in power can be every bit as abusive as a man.”
Now I know that I’m going to be branded a chauvinist for disagreeing with an extremely feminist point of view. I do welcome rebuttals from my small set of readers. Please debate the merits and not the emotions.