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June 2, 2010

Stuff soaps are made of – ALL India Mother-in-Law Protection Forum (AIMPF)

Filed under: Protest News — Fighting Legal Terror @ 6:31 am

http://beta.thehindu.com/life-and-style/metroplus/article442582.ece

For how long will serial writers keep painting mothers-in-law as manipulative, bossy, greedy and territorial? It’s time to get realistic!

Two women at the mall — one says: “My mother-in-law is an angel.” The other says: “You’re lucky. Mine is still alive.”

The “Monster-in-law” and “suffering daughter-in-law” tales were probably true once, but isn’t it time TV serial writers buried them for good?

One suspects the prickly mother-in-law-daughter-in-law relationship has been carefully nourished by script-writers. Think of it; stereotyping sells — the mother-in-law is manipulative, bossy, greedy and territorial; every word she utters is a poisoned barb; the mere shadow of the daughter-in-law brings out the devil in her; the helpless daughter-in-law, the martyr, puts up with the 24 X 7 abuse. Phew!

Mutual space

Check reality. Mothers-in-law today ask for space, and do not play boss. And, the social-networking, career-driven daughters-in-law DIL too seem to understand their worth, especially when they plan a family. “We don’t have time to discuss our relationship, so we assume we love each other,” says recently-wed Mridula. Also, when the son chooses his girl, it comes down to ‘gain a daughter or lose the son’.

In the mother-in-law-daughter-in-law equation, the latter, perhaps, is the powerful one today. Since its inception last September, the All India Mother-in-Law Protection Forum (AIMPF), has seen over 500 mothers-in-law complaining of abuse by the daughter-in-law.

“My phone rings all the time,” says Neena Dhulia, the Forum co-ordinator, who says “the TV charade” is the not the only one to show a mother-in-law as bad. “Mothers paint mothers-in-law as a fiend, to get girls to fall in line. Haven’t you heard them say: ‘I’m tolerating this (habits), but your mother-in-law won’t’? Our girls are programmed to hate the mother-in-law.” The girl’s relationship with in-laws is bound to be awkward in the beginning, but, why make a mountain of it?

And, there are 15 laws to protect the daughter-in-law, and none to protect the mother-in-law, says Neena.

Groans Rukmini Natarajan: “Sure, it’s my responsibility to accept the girl who shares my son’s life. But, whatever I say, even small-talk to make friends, is misunderstood. I have to weigh my words all the time. So, I just keep mum.”

However, Suman Mahesh, married for 10 years, says: “This delicate skein of a relationship can be woven into a strong fabric of family life. When I first met my husband in graduate school, I had little clue as to what his family might be like. His mom pretty much dissolved any pre-conceived notions I had of her. She’s enthusiastic, energetic, and living-life-to-the-hilt, breaking-the-norm kind of a person. I have her to thank for my husband’s progressive leanings. Over time, tethers such as children, and shared interests in travel, feminism and environmental concerns forged a permanent bond.”

So dear soap writers, tone down the mother-in-law thing before you lose the bulk of your audience.

Think of her as working with her son’s wife to make him a better person. That seems more realistic!

SHE WANTS TO BE…

Loved and respected

Included and taken into confidence

Considered for fun activities

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