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Joke with her, not about her. The next time you hear a wife joke, don’t laugh don’t forward it. It takes less than a minute to take a stand. Maybe try that?
I am one of the thousand or so Indian millennials added to family WhatsApp groups totally against their will. And I get the ‘good morning,’ ‘good night’ and occasional ‘good afternoon’ from a particularly jobless uncle or aunty. Oh and the forwards which will miraculously shower good luck upon me – if and only if I forward them to 11 other people (not one more or less, mind you)
And the recent, minute to minute updates and opinions on COVID-19. Right from conspiracy theories to realisations of how Indian traditions are more than enough to cure the virus – you know how it goes. Now, a lot of these messages are problematic and I should ideally be fighting against all of them. However, since that’s impossible and since I’ve got to be picking my battles and I pick this: Wife jokes.
Let me just write down a few of them, verbatim, so that you get what I’m talking about:
Woman: I don’t want to marry, I’m educated and independent , I don’t need a husband.
Psychiatrist : You’re educated and independent, you’ll achieve a lot of great things. However sometimes things won’t go the way they want, then whom will you blame? Yourself?
Woman : No
Psychiatrist: There you go.
English teacher: He washed utensils. He was made to wash utensils. What’s the difference between these two sentences?
Student: first sentence – he was unmarried, second sentence – he was married
Difference between COVID and wife : We have to fight COVID, shouldn’t fear it. We should fear Wife , not fight her.
Similarity between COVID and wife : We haven’t found the remedy for either….. yet
When without money, wife becomes man’s secretary . When with money, secretary becomes man’s wife. (Oh sorry – this isn’t a ‘joke’ guys, it was part of large philosophical message about inequality, deep – right?!)
Husband : Too much expenses this month. Where did you spend.
Wife : I have written everything. You can check the details:
900 – NDJV
1100 – NDJV
3500 – maid
800 – NDJV
Husband : What is this NDJV???
Wife : Naan Dress & Jewels Vaangitten! (translates to “I bought clothes and jewels”)
Wife : Do you want dinner ?
Husband : What are the options ?
Wife : Two options
Husband : Ohh what are they ?
Wife : Dinner. No dinner.
Husband (thinking and obviously not speaking) : Should have appreciated my mom’s cooking more
Best example of a once in a lifetime opportunity: A mosquito sitting on your wife’s face.
Sakshi – Coach Kuldeep
Deepa – Coach Bisbeshwar
Sindhu- Coach Gopi
Now it’s time for Indian men to say, ‘Behind every successful woman , there’s a man.’ Please don’t try the stunt at home & try to coach your wife. The results could be very painful. But, after seeing Great Leadership Of Indian Coaches, one thing is Proven, if women actually listen to men, they can achieve wonders!
I completely understand if you skipped a few of these “jokes” because they are impossible to get through (and the grammar is terrible, but let’s not go into that for now). Initially, I had ignored them as well, thinking that old uncles are the only ones who are sending these.
Our generation, with the kind of education and exposure we have, would be more progressive, so I needn’t worry. Then my cousin got married and soon started laughing at these messages and forwarding them himself.
When I spoke to him about it, his reaction, much like the old uncles’, was “Listen, you wouldn’t get what we go through.” That’s when it hit me that this is a continuous cycle and we are doomed.
“Oh come on, why are you worried about random WhatsApp forwards?” But these aren’t only on WhatsApp, I’ve heard these being used as fillers by popular speakers on debates and other shows. And I’ve seen the audience rolling with laughter in response. I’ve read these in reputed newspapers and magazines. And heard them being told by my colleagues to each other. These ‘jokes’ are everywhere. I bet every one of you would have heard at least one of them this week.
“They are for fun- harmless! I love my wife”
Now I’m someone who loves a good laugh, I am not offended by the darkest of humour. Despite that, I am not okay with this. The Boys Locker Room (the concept, not this specific incident, the details of which are unsettling) is simple fun for the boys, isn’t it?
I am not comparing jokes made at women’s expense to that, in terms of the offensiveness or the seriousness. What I am doing is merely drawing reference here to help you understand that these groups normalise objectification and rape.
However, these ‘jokes’ normalise the idea that cooking and cleaning are a woman’s job, that men earn and women shop. These jokes normalise and stress that males are superior while women, especially wives are a liability.
The more you crack these jokes, the more you circulate them, the longer it will take for us to come out of the all-pervasive patriarchy.
So this is for all you old uncles, and younger men well on their way to becoming those old uncles: Stop. Stop normalising male superiority.
It is your house – you better cook and wash dishes as well, and not act smug about it. Don’t act all righteous and take credit for her success because you “let her go to work!” Who are you to let? If she makes the choice of staying at home, you better respect that choice as well.
I won’t say anything about how you must feel about your wife. That is entirely up to you – I honestly couldn’t care less. But what I am saying is simple – you have a duty to acknowledge that you are not superior to her.
Joke with her, not about her. The next time you hear a wife joke, don’t laugh; and the next time you read it, don’t forward it. It takes less than a minute to take a stand and you will be making an everlasting impression. So why not give that a try?
Ps. Attention! This article should be forwarded to exactly 13 people by tonight to miraculously put an end to misogyny. Try it! It works!!!! (If only…)
Picture credits: YouTube
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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