I was watching a Community episode on wedding, when I saw this tweet:
Memang tugas suami cari duit isteri habiskan duit. Suami jangan marah isteri besar jasanya. #UstAzharIdrus
— Ust Azhar Idrus(@ustazharidrus) May 11, 2012
There is much to be said about this account’s — which claims to tweet the real Azhar Idrus’s teachings — misogyny, but this rubs me wrong for another reason. I bet there are many women who are cheering for this tweet, and will hail this as proof that Azhar does not hate women.
One of his tweets before urged wives to beg forgiveness from their husbands every night before sleep. Husbands are the only ones that can absolve their faults, and without the man’s forgiveness, the wives will forever be in sin. If you were one of the women who got mad at this tweet before, perhaps it is wise to give some thoughts before cheering the recent tweet.
There is a couple of hidden messages buried in this latest tweet, namely:
- “Tugas suami cari duit”: men are breadwinners, they’re financial masters
- “(Tugas) isteri habiskan duit”: women only know how to spend money, and depend on husbands
- “Suami jangan marah”: the authority here lies with husbands, they shall not get angry at their wives for they are merciful
I have heard these similar points a few times during kursus kahwin before. Men bring back food. Men are frugal. Men are good with money. Men spend wisely.
Women? They only know how to waste money. That is why you should never let them shop for groceries, for they will start buying unnecessary things as soon as they see it.
So, by celebrating Azhar’s tweet, saying that “yay, my hubby should shower me with money so I can spend more”, aren’t some women just ultimately falling into this stereotype?
In the Community episode, single mother Shirley was getting back with her ex-husband Andre. The whole gang helped out with planning her wedding ceremony, and a couple of wedding stereotypes emerged.
Annie had a huge scrapbook of wedding ideas. I know a lot of women who have been planning their dream wedding since they were a little girl. That is why wedding planning is so important to them: it’s not an event, it’s a dream.
Britta was apprehensive towards the idea of marriage, since it pigeonholed women into a rigid role. Then she turned out to be a great wedding planner, and mourned that as a woman, she would one day end up in a marriage.
Jeff was apprehensive towards the idea of marriage too, but because he believed men aren’t meant to settle with just one women. Life is too short. Commitment sucks. I would say he’s not an exception among guys, he’s what every husband used to be like.
Meanwhile, Shirley put her dream on hold, blaming it on the wedding and its planning. The moment she found out that Andre wished for her to return to her previous role as just a homemaker, she realised that they had differing goals for the marriage.
In the end, Andre’s action defined marriage best. Marriage is a compromise.
To quote a couple of married friends who tweeted right afterwards: it comes down to mutual respect for each other. It’s about striving for it every day, and repairing the damage when you slip. There is no need to shower wives with money for them to spend, it’s the little appreciations that are more precious.
It’s the foot rubs after a long day at work, kisses after showers, compliments, making up the table, washing the dishes, to show that you care. It’s a lot of work, but certainly not set in the mould of husband the master, wife the servant.
Shirley’s wedding happened two days after the proposal, with modest preparation and intimate guests. Why can’t we have that kind of wedding, huh? Well, a man can dream.