A Woman’s Place is in the House

by Dea Safira Basori

Being a woman in South Asia and South East Asian, we all have heard that a woman’s place is in the house, while men work outside the house.  Women stay at their house while men roam around the streets to look for other women to be kept in their cages. They collect women as trophies and put them on their shelves.

They say a woman’s place is in the house, and if you don’t do what the master says, you’d be beaten to death and butchered like animals. Your job is to follow everything he says otherwise get ready to bear the consequences.

In traditional societies, women are seen as domestic animals. They are kept to breed and produce babies which are then raised as robots.

It’s lucky if you are born as a baby boy because they would keep you and see you as a potential breadwinner, but when you are a girl, either they have the guts to raise you or kill you.

Girls are dying, women are dying. Every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. And most of it because of our male relatives who made us stay at home and suffocated us.

In Indonesia, conservative clerics are insisting that women should stay at home. But they turned a blind eye when a pregnant woman was murdered and slaughtered in her own house. They even did not say anything about that disabled woman who was repeatedly raped by her father and two brothers for years at her own home. They don’t believe that women with veil also get raped.

We tell young girls that the goal of their life is to get married only. We also tell them that they will stay at home for their own sake. We don’t tell them to step out of their houses and the prescribed gender norms and live a life as it deserves to be lived. We kill them every day when we force them to stay inside and to give up on their dreams.

We tell women to cover up their body and face before going out but we never tell men to stop harassing, raping and killing women.

We are only interested in making everything fit a certain narrative while forgetting our religious and universal values which say that every life is valuable.

We are too busy, separating ourselves from the so-called western world in order to be authentically eastern while dismissing victims of violence based on gender.

A home should be a safe space for women, but it’s not. Even though you’re a homemaker, it would never be safe because you do not own that home. The home you built for and around your family is still the world’s deadliest place for you. Your existence in the home is to only beautify a man’s property.

Our lives in the house are tied as a property to a man. And every time a man says a woman’s place is in the house, it should be taken as a red signal. It should scare you and make you wary.

No, he is not going to spoil you and buy you gifts, he is actually buying your life, so you’ve got nowhere else to go. He wants you to be dependent on him so when he is done with you, he can dispose and leave you with nothing left in your hand and life. Not even a penny which you could use to sue him for damaging you and your life.

When he is done with you, you would be discarded like an object – he once bought to be put on his shelves. You’re no more than a trophy for him because he doesn’t want you to be at his home which you build for him.

When he tells he wants a woman at home, he is actually marketing his territory as the most luxurious thing you can ever get. Though it is not and will never be. He is just desperate because he has no one who can mother him the way his mom does.

And that’s why educated girls and independent women scare such men. They don’t like independent women because they know these women are aware of their rights and won’t give up on their life easily. They also know that if they will try to suppress them these women will hit them back with the same intensity and power. The only thing they do not know is that these women – if treated good – could help them grow as they grow in their lives and that is what we need – A balanced life.


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Dea Safira Basori


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