The silent savagery

In so many places around the world, subservience to a man under all conditions is like a moral obligation, an indication of a 'good wife'

2018-08-16T18:16:00+05:00 Mehreen Burney

After hearing a lot about the television series, Big Little Lies , I at long last, watched it. It builds a sense of curiosity and enigma within a person from its very first episode. And its plot is what opens up a box of realization as to how people, especially women, have secrets and emotions that they try to keep hidden from the world and that sometimes, they even hide themselves from the truth.

Celeste Wright, played by Nicole Kidman, is one of the main characters of the show who is a mother of two and a victim of domestic violence. Later, it is also unfolded that she is a lawyer who was and still is passionate to work but her husband does not support her for it and she is afraid to further convince him. What is startling and upsetting is the fact that she, being well-educated and having the potential to stand up on her own feet, is unable to identify and face the ugly truth of her relationship with her husband. Celeste, during her counseling with a psychologist, initially she is unable to accept and actualize that the behavior of her husband towards her is violent and wrong.

This halted and shook me for a moment and made me think about other women in so many parts of the world. About the girls who are married off before they complete their education, before they even discover themselves. Before even learning about the world around them, they are left to be lost in the middle of nowhere. And simultaneously, so many are fed with this belief that their job is to obey their husbands under all circumstances and that living rest of their lives silently and going through the ups and downs patiently, being the best thing for their own sake and the only way of survival.

So, on one side we have Celeste Wright, a lawyer, a competent and a well-educated woman, for whom it took years to come to this conclusion that since her husband is abusive, leaving him is what is right and necessary. Who was under the impression that consistent violence followed by forgiveness can go hand in hand in a relationship without realizing the extent of its toxicity. While on the other side we have thousands and millions of mentally, intellectually, psychologically stagnated girls who are molded according to the ridiculous, unhealthy requirements of a patriarchal society. Who are deliberately pulled back and controlled like tamed animals, and are abandoned from getting the exposure of the world and the knowledge of their own rights.

Imagine, how many women spend their entire lives being a victim of domestic violence or a psychologically abusive relationship yet never being able to comprehend that it is inappropriate. That they are unable to find a way to get out of it or simply realize that there is more to life. How so many women accept the torment or stay in denial and pretend that everything is okay. That how, if realized that they are being mistreated, are at times unable to escape the living hell as they do not have the foundation to stand upon independently and hence, they continue to face the tortures.

There is a huge difference between compromising in a relationship under certain circumstances, to a certain extent and completely molding yourself according to the personality of your partner despite the fact that the person is abusive, sadistic or disrespectful. But unfortunately, a large number people are unable to acknowledge, to understand and distinguish between the two. In so many places around the world, subservience to a man under all conditions is like a moral obligation, an indication of a 'good wife'. And that it is part of the package of marriage hence, one has to go with it. Naturally then, any type of psychological or physical abuse is normalized.

Big Little Lies also introduces us to other issues like how domestic violence can take a toll on children, how rape can psychologically scar a person or how giving into perfectionism and materialism in order to fit in the society can become unhealthy for people. Every characters’ story in the show is something to learn from and to talk about in the open. To realize that how vulnerable can people be in the face of societal pressure or a toxic relationship, unknowingly.

The television shows’ second season is said to be on its way as claimed by HBO with Meryl Streep joining the cast.

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