The Daughter-in-Law Effect

What is it?  It’s a term, a syndrome, I coined based on my past experiences with society, men, woman, and marriage.  Both sexes suffer because of archaic views regarding women, which are perpetuated by women as well as men.  Examples are found within all nationalities.  The gross assumption that a woman is automatically the “bad” one, or women should be submissive, ubiquitously believed in much of the Eastern Hemisphere.  We read articles about women being beaten with a shoe by a mother-in-law under some patriarchal, backwater, trashy culture.  A man cuts off his wife’s fingers because she pursues a college education, or worse.

However, just because we live in the West does not mean undercurrents of this special kind of hatred toward women are not present.  And it is just as embraced by women as it is men.  The term “hen-pecking” order is a good descriptive way of painting a picture of family dynamics as well as societal ones.  We are raised in a society where daughter-in-laws are still treated as incubators.  From the expectation of the woman’s parents to pay for a wedding, to the kids getting his last name, the deck is stacked against a lady.  Women are a commodity, and this is reinforced by other women.

My close group of girl friends and I were the girls who attracted con artists, abusive spouses, creepy in-laws with a history of domestic violence, mother-in-laws so evilly passive-aggressive that they’re worthy of a part assigned to a fairy tale villain.  The good news:  we all survived.  Somehow we made it past the debt men accrued in our names, the physical violence, psychological threats, or the emotional abuse.  But it wasn’t some man-god in the sky, or new-agey “blame the victim” philosophy that saved us – it was ourselves.  Plus, having the support of really good women got us through some really dark days.

Yes, we lived through hell.  We were those proverbial good girls that ended up with shitty guys and even shittier in-laws who backed up their sons.  And this is the problem:  it is the parents who raise their sons to treat a lady as a meal-ticket, or as a doormat.  They encourage the terror that the wife lives in, constantly breaking her down.  If it’s not nasty statements about her weight, it’s invasion of her personal space and property.  If there are children, they threaten to take a woman’s kids.  That is the very pinnacle of evil.

The female in-laws, and female family “friends”, contribute just as much as any husband.  Sometimes they are far worse, initiating conflict and encouraging abuse.  The wife is made to be an incubator in the eyes of provincial peoples.  No woman or child should ever take the last name of a man and his family unless that man be a truly, truly good guy.  That means providing for his family, whether it’s fur-kids or human kids.  This great guy also has to be willing to defend his mate to anyone who would attack her, verbally or otherwise.  If a couple can take on the world by having each other’s back, then that’s one secret to over-coming all the silly drama that jealous friends, siblings, etc. attempt to bring into your life.

We see this translate from the very interpersonal level to a societal one from tabloid headlines to local groups, such as churches and friends.  The woman is expected to become an extension of the man, despite her age or level of education.  It may not be overtly stated, but that mentality is very much with us.  I have heard all types of stories from my girlfriends who have so much in common with me.  From noses breaking, to mother-in-laws insisting on staring at someone’s va-jay-jay as she gives birth, The Daughter-in-Law Effect is a societal sickness.  We begin to stop it by insisting that women stop making war on other women.

Once you’re divorced, you’re suddenly damaged goods in the eyes of everyone.  It doesn’t matter what the story is, what he did to your cat, your face, or your credit – the family of your next suitor will treat you as damage goods.  They’ll even make up bullshit about you.  Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.  Everything you ever post online, or display of love toward your beau, is up to be misread and even demonized.  And there’s no appropriate way to fight back.  You’ll always be the “crazy one” because you’re damaged, or too quiet.  Maybe you have a funny laugh?  Maybe you’re too attractive or not attractive enough?  It’s always something.  If you do confront situations straight-forward, you’re a bitch, a cunt.  If you play your cards close and do the passive-aggressive game, you’re the manipulative bitch.  Never mind that you never started any of it.  Just being in love is your crime.

My ex-in-laws were frauds, seriously and literally in the business world sense as well.  I married someone nine years older.  He’d been divorced too.  I was pursuing graduate school, recovering from horrible job and life experiences.  They thought I’d be malleable simply because I’m the quiet type.  I’d marry their son and they’d convince me that having a retarded baby from their retarded gene pool was my life purpose.  Wrong.  Didn’t happen.  When these freak-shows met me, they knew my grad school plans.  Yet, the whore sister-in-law demanded to know, “When did you decide to go to grad school?”  They never heard anything I ever said simply because they never even saw me as a person.  My ex was a lazy piece of poop, unfaithful, and into conspiracy theories.  It doesn’t matter how long of a relationship you have before you marry the man, bad men don’t show their true colors until they have you trapped.

Everyone asks me how you “break a cycle”.  But for me and my friends, it’s not as if we were in a cycle.  Every guy we dated seemed like a completely different individual.  They all had different hobbies, socio-economic levels, cultural backgrounds, etc.  The problem is that we are female, and these assholes just do not like women.  Whatever their reasons, they are misogynists.  They each had their excuses:  bad mother, religion, family history, etc.  Maybe they are angry, latent homosexuals?  Until good men and good women hold scumbags accountable, they will continue to seek out victims.  Users always look for givers.

* A note on Feminism:   Personally, I call myself a feminist.  But I don’t know if I’m a feminist according to the current definition that extreme feminists/post-feminists pimp out.  Don’t ask me to fight your wars or do push-ups.  Feminism didn’t start off to make woman as equally worthless as men.  In fact, why does anyone have to be worthless?  Feminism was about the right to vote, equal access to education, personal autonomy over our bodies.  It wasn’t about actually becoming a man.  Equal doesn’t mean we’re biologically the same.   Feminism should be this basic:  Do you believe both girls and boys should receive equal access to education?  If “yes” is your answer, you’re a feminist.