Ask a Feminist | Q. 6 How do elements like caste & economic class affect gender roles & violence? / by Tara Kaushal

March 2018: I answer questions that are burning your bras and run this column as a makeshift guide to the feminist way of life.

How do elements like caste and economic class affect gender roles and violence?

"The gender dynamic is unique to each class situation. For instance, women are taught to aspire to marry wealthy men, yet women married in to wealthy families are often very disempowered—they aren't encouraged to work in light of the family money and/or their earnings are ridiculed, and their economic dependence can lead to situations ripe for domestic violence. Needless to say, our advice to women is to ensure their financial independence at all times. Class position impacts the level of entitlement men feel, and it follows that gender violence tends to follow class lines, with men of any class feeling entitled to women of their class and below. At the crux of the matter lies the fact that egalitarian ideas, including feminism, are at odds with the hierarchical Indian caste system, the very basis of our cultural structure. We need to learn to respect the personhood of people across classes, extending to the women."

This column appeared on Pass the Mic, the blog of Why Indian Men Rape in March 2018.