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The notion of ‘men work hard outdoors’ still exists. A man of today will not survive a day in the kitchen, an hour watching kids, a minute with menstruation or a second of labour pain.
Over the last few decades, women have proved that they can get a higher education, a strong and stable career while shuffling around with the household duties on the side. But have men mastered helping out with household chores, being caring, affectionate and responsible while shuffling with their job?
For decades now, a man with a solid, high paying job is portrayed as the god of the household. While the women, who stay back home, cook, clean, take care of hubby’s family and his kids, are portrayed as ‘jobless’ women sucking the blood of their money-making husbands. When is this trend going to end?
Today women are reaching the skies with their education in the corporate world. If this woman decides to focus just on her career (just as a man does), then she is labelled as the radical feminist. If this same lady does all that and comes home to switch onto a housewife’s role daily submitting into a pati-vrata role then she is an ‘OK’ woman. Not a great woman but just an ‘OK’ woman. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, ranked amongst 100 powerful women of the world still had to put on her housewife hat when she returned home from a long, tiring, mind-drenching day of work. It was expected of her. Did she do it out of her free will? Or was it the job requirement of a wife? Sounds hypocritical! That’s exactly what it is.
When a husband comes home after a day-long work, the wife must serve him, make him comfortable so he can show up for dinner with the family. But when a woman CEO comes home after the same long workday, she is still expected to make the chapatis, get her kid’s homework done and serve the family. Why is this not seen as hypocrisy in the desi families? The notion of ‘men work hard outdoors’ still exists. A man will not survive a day in the kitchen, an hour watching kids, a minute with menstruation or a second of labour pain. A woman can work all day at her workplace and still manage to do all the other chores.
It makes my heart boil when someone says women are born multitaskers and hence they can handle it. I am sorry. Yes, the anatomy of a man is different than women. But men are considered to be physically stronger than women. The list of chores mentioned in the job list of a woman involves physical strength. While men only have one requirement on their job list of being a man. “Must have a job.”
How about picking up your own plate? Or pick up your socks, do your own freaking laundry, or just act normal with compassion after returning from his work? Show some compassion when your working wife comes home tired. It doesn’t kill to give the working woman a glass of cold water when she enters the home instead of a list of chores that she needs to do before the end of the day.
Marriage is a balanced relationship. If one party is feeling oppressed, then the other party is definitely the oppressor. Men are allowed to be slanderers in desi culture. Their hard-earned money is worth a lot more than the same amount of money earned by a woman. A cup of tea made by men is given so much more importance than the hourly cups of tea made by women.
I say, Man up! Women have proven that they can handle the jobs of a man. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to bash men. I believe a man’s role is just as equal as a woman’s, but they both get treated very differently when it comes to appreciation, recognition and honour. Now, are men ready to help out and do the womanly chores at home with the same humble attitude as a woman does? A highly educated, successful woman is still expected to bring out the pathetic ‘chai ki tray’ to serve the man’s family. What is wrong with our society? Who has created these norms and why!?
With this division in gender equality, is our generation ever going to witness an equal recognition of the honour, roles and success between man and woman?
I see a lot of changes in the teen generation now. As a mother of little kids, my son is expected to set the table just as the girls are. But are all mothers doing this nurturing education to abolish this gender inequality? When someone sees a little boy cleaning up, or doing the dishes, the typical first response is “How cute!” followed by “Make him a man!” Why is that little boy not a man if he cleans the house or helps with dishes or laundry?
My son is only 10, but I hope to instill in him respect for housework, and a willingness to do it alongside a woman. When he grows up and if he is ready to marry, I will encourage him to take the “chai ki tray” for the girls family. She has the right to choose who she gets married to, and the boy has to show her what he is worth. After all, she has a right to be supported in this way, whether as a partner, or as a mother to a child she may want him to be a father to.
It’s about time the aunty generation bid goodbye to the list of requirements for girls and focus on what your son can do. After all, to find the right women in your life, you must first work on being the right man. Only then do you deserve a woman in your life.
Image source: a still from YouTube
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