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Anupamaa is the story of every mom who isn’t ‘cool’ enough for her kids, nor classy enough for her husband. So she doesn’t deserve any respect, does she?
Few days ago, I was scrolling through YouTube and I saw an ad for a new serial called Anupamaa. The ad showed a mother being constantly disrespected by her kids and husband for not being educated enough and for being a homemaker.
Anupamaa’s husband is a rich man with ‘class’ while her kids also have the so-called status. They believe it is something Anupamaa lacks. Thus, they constantly disrespect her for not being classy enough and even go on to call her an embarrassment to them.
Doesn’t all of this sound extremely familiar to most of us? The plot of this Star Plus show is sadly the story of several homemakers in our society. These women are constantly ridiculed by their families for not being ‘cool’ enough for the kids or classy enough to maintain the status of their families.
And watching the ad made me wonder why was it so easy for so many kids and husbands to ridicule the women of their families?
In our society, we often see the mothers who are disrespected and ridiculed. If she works, she is ridiculed for not being a good mother and for not making her family a priority. However, if she is a homemaker, she is disrespected for not being modern and classy enough to match her family’s standards. She is always taken for granted.
Here too, Anupamaa isn’t very educated, she was married when she was supposed to be studying. She barely knows the basics of English and that is a drawback that even her kids point out to her. Neither does she fit the bill of a big-town mom who is proficient in her language. She doesn’t have the confidence and spark in moving with elite groups.
For her kids, she is not up to their standards and thus an embarrassment. They feel, because she is uneducated, she is not modern or cool enough and they insult her for not understanding the ‘cool’ things.
Even her husband considers her an embarrassment because of her dressing sense, her attitude and her communication skills. He believes she doesn’t match the status that he has in society.
This is very common in households in our society. Many kids, too, who study in posh schools are embarrassed about their moms who are not very well educated women. They tend to not introduce their moms to their friends. A lot of times this happens because their moms are not fluent enough in English.
The most accurate portrayal of this behaviour was shown in the Sridevi’s movie English Vinglish. Sridevi’s character Shashi is often insulted and ridiculed by her husband and kids for not knowing English and for being too ‘desi.’
One thing that is common here is that it’s usually the mother or wife who is treated like this. And the credit for that goes to our patriarchal structure which stems from the belief that women are inferior.
In one of the promos of Anupama, she decides to be independent after having given 25 years of her life to her family. Once she starts working, she is excited about the first bonus she receives.
She is excited to go home and tell her family about it. And on the same day, her husband too gets an increment which is higher than Anupamaa’s first pay-check.
When her husband returns home and shares his news, the whole family celebrates it. And when they hear of her success, they conveniently ignore it and rejoice over the man’s success.
This is something that, yet again, is very common in our households. Before marrying them off, girls are asked to quit their jobs. They are told that since their prospective husband earns enough, why do they need to work!
If a wife earns less than her husband, her job isn’t considered worthy enough and it is never about the money. Being a homemaker is nothing less than a full-time job! Sadly, no woman is ever appreciated for any of that. She is told, ‘aakahir tum karti kya ho jo tumhari izzat ho?’ (What do you really do for us to respect you?)
Anupamaa might just be a serial and like all other tv serials it might turn around to be cringe. But the basis of the show raises poignant questions about the patriarchal structure of our society.
The idea that insulting the woman is right because she is ‘gawar,’ according to the society, is something that we all need to question ourselves.
It is time we start giving women the respect they deserve for their unpaid care and work. From our families, we need to start building the mentality that the man and the woman of the house deserve equal respect.
Picture credits: Still from the Hindi TV series Anupamaa
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