Ever since our childhood, we have been taught that the ideal role of a woman is to be a perfect homemaker while men are destined to earn. As a baby girl, I always got dolls, playhouses, kitchen sets as gifts, while my brother bagged cars, toy robots and airplanes!
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At that point of time, I was completely unaware of the gender politics that lay hidden behind this custom of offering gifts and often nagged to my grandmother for the remote control cars. Because I was told, that it is not for girls, I had to snatch it away from my brother and hide it in a secret place in order to possess it!
Today, many people tease me and question my ideology: Why on Earth are you a feminist? If you talk about equality, why do you seek for privileges? Why do you seek for reservations? And so on and so forth! At times, I feel irritated to answer them back! In a patriarchal society, where the definition of equality itself seems to be biased, how can we actually claim equality?
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One would rarely find a son, replacing his mother in Kitchen unless there is an emergency situation in the house! Even if he is a worthless, lazy lad (being a complete failure in his professional life), he would never help his mother with the cleaning or laundry while women, on the other hand, are seen to do all their household tasks with utter perfection even if they are working in the same job profile as her husband!
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Why? It is probably because, he might have never thought that his mother too, deserves gender equality! Researchers suggest that 80% of Indian women are subjected to unpaid labor (mainly the housewives) because they have been devoting their entire time to household tasks.
Because of the innovative kitchen appliances, that are amply available everywhere at cheap rates, these days many men take an interest in cooking (even though it might be for a special occasion or on weekends); I have never seen my father helping my mother in Kitchen, even for a single day in these 24 years. Moreover, when it comes to washing or cleaning, they tend to reject it right away. Here I am narrating my personal experience pertaining to this:
Only a few months ago, I had an unplanned vacation to Orissa with my friends. It was during the midsummer; so we spent several hours playing and bathing on the shore. When I was returning to the hotel, I could feel that my body weight being doubled as my clothes were soaked with tons of sand! A few hours later, as we assembled together for going to the dining place for lunch, I saw my friend, drying the sand soaked pant in the Sun, without washing it! It was simply because, he would not take the pain of washing his pant, rather he would prefer to carry it home in a plastic bag until his mother did the laundry job for him.
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It might have taken a few minutes, to wash the sand soaked clothes before drying in the Sun and that’s exactly what we all did. But, I am absolutely clueless, whether it hurts their male ego or simply because they are lazy, that they stock the clothes for women!
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Today women are no longer restricted to only household activities. With the prices going up consistently, it is practically impossible to run a family properly, unless both the members of the family are working. Unfortunately, this has not improved the position of women in Indian society, rather it has doubled the work pressure.
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Women are expected to bear the perfect balance between work and life while men tend to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
There can be no default roles for men and women; there have never been so. It is, needless to say, that the patriarchal society has imposed such unseen rules: that woman must be an expert in household activities, and an ideal man should only earn.
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In order to create a healthy and impartial society for our next generation, it is ideally recommended to divide all forms of responsibilities (be it financial or household) between the two pillars of the society: men and women!