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The Greatly Oppressive Kitchen That Glorifies A Homemaker’s Work And Chains Her

Posted: February 16, 2021

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Gender stereotypes pass down from generation to generation until they seep into our lives under the cloak of culture. When will this chain end?

*Spoilers alert

Whose kitchen are we talking about? Rich, poor, educated, illiterate, rural, urban, what is common in all these people’s kitchens? That which is shown in this great Indian kitchen. Gender roles and misogyny.

Whenever we talk about kitchens, I’m reminded of the short film Juice on YouTube. It is a masterpiece representation of daily sexism that we brush aside. I recommend all of you, especially parents, to watch it here on YouTube.

About what’s pure and impure during periods

“I don’t like women cooking during periods because they deserve rest.”

Wow nice!

“I don’t like women cooking during periods because they are impure and I can’t eat food that’s impure.”

Wait, what?

“Also, I should take bath immediately to save myself from the impurity of…”

Stop right there. I’m done. Bye.

If we can’t make periods easier for people, we should at least not make it excruciating. I support only one rule about menstruation, that is, to let people do what they want.

You can go to office? Go.

You want a leave? Take one.

You want to cook? Do.

You want to take rest? Yes.

You want every woman to follow a rule? Sorry.

What if woman wants to do something she likes?

This movie depicts how everything a woman does is shamed or criminalised. Her job, her choices, her desires, her priorities, her health, her freedom, everything. The only thing she is meant to do is cooking and housework.

What’s there in a job, she’s asked. Zilch. What use are your degrees and skills, if you can’t handle the kitchen? A kitchen is a woman’s world, for 23 days a month. And for the balance of 7 days when she’s menstruating, I can’t even describe the horrible condition of her life.

Portrayal of a typical Indian household, taking her for granted

A quintessential Indian household where everyone has food preferences. One wants rice cooked on fire. One has a problem with non-veg. One won’t eat outside unless he wants to. One doesn’t eat reheated food from yesterday. One wants chutney with dosa and another wants sambar without compromise. One wants black tea unlike the milk tea given to everyone because he’s health conscious, but even that black tea has to be made to exacting expectations.

None of them wants to at least put their plate in the wash basin, let alone cooking.

There’s one scene where I literally laughed at the condition of men in that house. He needs someone to fetch him his footwear while he goes out. Why even put the effort to go out, sir? Stay home and relax, no?

They don’t compromise on anything. They want everything served on a silver platter. Their traditions are abided by. Their hypothetical family honour. Their luxury of endless relaxation. Their disgusting comments in the name of humour. Their ego that is shattered whenever a woman talks. They uphold all of these. At what cost?

Enough of these gender role stereotypes!

Gender stereotypes pass down from generation to generation until they seep into our lives under the cloak of culture.

Man wants his wife to prioritize household work over job because his mom did so. Girl thinks periods are impure because her didi/ bhabhi/ bua/ etc were ostracized during periods. MIL wants DIL to cook flawlessly without any qualms because that’s what she has been doing since her day one.

When will this chain end, if not now? After how many broken dreams will we realise that we deserve better?

This movie touches a very sensitive topic, glorifying housewives so as to shackle them to the kitchen. They say a woman being inside the house is ‘auspicious’. Maybe your house is flourishing with all the auspiciousness. But, happiness? Where’s it?

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Managing your health when work & home boundaries dissolve with Sucheta Pal - WICA 2020

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