[read about brown boy privilege here.]

When it comes to marital relationships in brown culture, there’s something like a guideline to adhere to, lest we’re told to return to our father’s home and not go back. It’s misogynistic, sexist and dripping with patriarchy.

Marriage, culturally, means a woman is going from her dad’s house to her husband’s dad’s (unless he has his own place) house, leaving behind a home and family, to live with, and follow rules and guidelines carefully constructed to please the husband, the mother-in-law, the father-in-law and every other in-law. The rules of marriage are simple, really: listen, and obey, the husband. Don’t argue back. Don’t argue with the in-laws either, lest it result in divorce, the worst thing to ever exist.

Women are expected to bend over backwards and compromise everything for the satisfaction of their man, exist solely for him and treat him like the centre of the universe. The unequivocal difference in the treatment of brown boys and girl comes from parents who were taught this from their parents: brown boys can do anything and still have that same defence and unconditional love from their families and community, and brown girls will be demonised and vilified for it.

Whether it is stepping away from the expectations of their families or as vile as abuse, brown boys get off scot-free, able to live their lives because of the advantages of the silver spoon given to them from birth: being born male. Their brown boy privilege makes them not care because they know they have the support of not just their mates, but their families too, who will do anything to protect the legacy of their sons. In marriage, this means, if he cheats it’s his wife’s fault for not pleasing him enough; if he beats her then it’s his wife’s fault for angering him.

There is a double standard constantly at play, and the same rules for women don’t apply to men. Men are not expected to give up their careers once married or they have a child, or to leave their families behind, nor be quiet and accept every kind of abuse hurled at them. A woman is expected to have dinner ready on the table by the time he gets home, even if she works just as much. She can’t say no to sex either, even if she is tired, because it is expected of her to always please him, always pleasure him. The sex isn’t about or for her. She is expected to stay patient when he raises a hand against her. If he hits her, she must’ve done something wrong. That is the guideline choreographed by a culture so inherently sexist and misogynistic, it throws all moral decency out the door when it comes to the treatment of women, knowing that the boys and men will never receive any repercussion. And they never do.

The patriarchy is well and alive in the deepest parts of the South Asian culture, toiling away even in the Diaspora, because tradition is tradition for a reason and its very foundations are held together at the seams by the brown boys it glorifies and protects, the ones who gain everything from it with nothing to lose. They reap the benefits and continue to sow the seeds of sexism, rooting it into the earth so society doesn’t change: it seethes and coils and hisses, bubbling away, a volcano waiting to erupt and burn everything in its wake. And by everything, I mean the happiness of every brown girl, forced to live under the tyrant rule of a patriarchal society, coddling the boys who partake in everything and do everything us brown girls feel guilty for. If brown girl guilt is real, so is brown boy privilege, and they have the unfair advantage and choice of living a life, guilt-free.

[continue reading about brown boy privilege here.]

Posted by:Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed is a student, poet and freelance features journalist, aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture, and bringing marginalised topics to light. She is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Poised.

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