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Family, society, advertisements, popular media, all underline that household chores are 'women's work'. Someone needs to break this vicious cycle!
Family, society, advertisements, popular media, all underline that household chores are ‘women’s work’. Someone needs to break this vicious cycle!
Housekeeping and cleaning chores are never portrayed to be a man’s job, the reason why we never see men at safedi ki chamkar, bartan mein chamak, toilets ki mehak advertisements.
In my growing up years in the last century, good women were ones whose samajhdari lay in choice of the right detergent, shining pots and pans, keeping bathrooms squeaky clean where you could be shamed if they smelled, but strangely, guys never bothered to learn any of this.
Two decades into the 21st century, not much has changed. A flamboyant king Khan coaches kids, Ranveer jumps in the forest and high seas for cola, dapper boy Hrithik does cart wheels and clothes get washed magically, and nothing less than a helicopter will do for tiger Salman to fetch a bottle of coke.
So, nobody picked up the lowly detergents, sabun, and toilet cleaners that fell to the lot of women. Gender stereotyping of household chores in Indian society has a huge barrier for women to break free yesterday, and still is today.
Narayan Murthy of Infosys once commented that he washed his toilet himself, pointing towards our dislike for menial jobs, but we pretend not to hear them. Mahatma Gandhi too publicly cleaned toilets himself to help us overcome the stigma attached, but sadly, nothing’s changed much for the desi girl.
Woman often complain that no one wants to do the dirty work of cleaning toilet or household chores. I remember when we decided to meet up on a Saturday, the men in the group agreed quickly, but women were reluctant to meet up on a Saturday which happens to be our cleaning day for laundry and washrooms, and picking up of groceries. But we never find men skip a night out with buddies because of housework, though there could be other reasons for it.
Girls are taught and trained from an young age with an aim of getting married, raising families, and running homes. Women are conditioned to believe that home is their domain and responsibility, despite careers and even end up feeling guilty if we didn’t do it well enough. This is reinforced by their mothers and other women in the families, that it’s a woman’s job regardless of everything, and it’s considered ‘demeaning’ for boys or men in the family to do it. If the men helped with chores, we’re all gratitude, but nobody remembers to thank the women for doing it selflessly.
When a home is for everyone, why is running a home meant to be a ‘woman’s job’? If she neglects it she is blamed for doing a poor job as a homemaker, which in turn makes her feel guilty.
Partly, the blame rests on women themselves, who shame other women if they ask the men to share responsibilities. Men are often make fun of and ridiculed by name calling like hen pecked, joru ka ghulam, appu etc. So, women who assert equality are shamed in families and outside. This is the reason why you find many women won’t acknowledge publicly ever, if they manage to get their husbands to share chores.
“Hamare yahan mard yeh sab kaam nahi karte, yeh aurat ka kaam hai”, (men don’t do this work in our family, this is women’s work) say the women with a twinge of self righteousness or wistfulness if their husbands don’t do housework, or see it being done by other men. So, where does one begin, if gender equations are to be corrected? One wonders in exasperation.
Again, if the woman is not a working woman, she’ll forgo maids or domestic helps because she feels guilty of spending, when she isn’t getting money to the table.
Women need to discuss seriously the responsibilities of running a home with families, distribute the tasks so that the burden is shared equally in all fairness.
It is necessary to put the right patterns in place before the children arrive, because, not only are the husbands or partners better equipped at dealing with changed scenarios, but, also, children have right role models in their fathers at hand. It’s easier to teach responsibility at an early age as it is difficult to overcome laziness in later life and children find it hateful and refuse to do them, because, they haven’t been prepared for it and gotten away with it, for too long.
Family must learn there is a method and process that goes into making beautiful homes. Make a list of housework and distribute the tasks age appropriate, so that everyone is made to contribute according to their ability and availability. Fix a particular date or a holiday, shared responsibilities translates into building happy families and healthy relationships while developing empathy towards women who balance careers and homes.
Raise your sons and daughters to be caring who respect and value the responsibility of running a home. If we don’t want it played out into the next generation, break the pattern and start with our sons, so that women of tomorrow may thank us for them.
Image source: YouTube
Writing is soulspeak will dare to dream own up my piece of sky..mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend we all are.. but, being your own person even more. read more...
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Every daughter, no matter how old, yearns to come home to her parents' place - ‘Home’ to us is where we were brought up with great care till marriage served us an eviction notice.
Every year Dugga comes home with her children and stays with her parents for ten days. These ten days are filled with fun and festivity. On the tenth day, everyone gathers to feed her sweets and bids her a teary-eyed adieu. ‘Dugga’ is no one but our Goddess Durga whose annual trip to Earth is scheduled in Autumn. She might be a Goddess to all. But to us, she is the next-door girl who returns home to stay with her parents.
When I was a child, I would cry on the day of Dashami (immersion) and ask Ma, “Why can’t she come again?” My mother would always smile back.
I mouthed the same dialogue as a 23-year-old, who was home for Durga Puja. This time, my mother graced me with a reply. “Durga is fortunate to come home at least once. But many have never been home after marriage.”
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