Monthly Archives: June 2016

Men-Please Stand Up

I am a firm believer that everyone needs to stand up for themselves. My previous article I mentioned that nobody has the power to empower you. It needs to come from within. However, we as hu…

Source: Men-Please Stand Up

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Men-Please Stand Up

 

I am a firm believer that everyone needs to stand up for themselves. My previous article I mentioned that nobody has the power to empower you. It needs to come from within. However, we as humans have a choice to stand up for what is right. It is a choice sometimes we conveniently ignore.; because it doesn’t concern us or ignore because we assume fighting for it will create more trouble. I have met many men who agree that society is not fair to women but don’t speak up when situation demands.

Let’s for once exercise this choice. Let’s try without worrying about the outcome. I am calling out to all feminist men (Yes Feminism is an ideology and it is not an all women domain)

I am calling out, so that you speak up and stand up for your mother, sister, wife, friend or any women you know. Unfortunately, in a patriarchal society men voice is heard more than women voice. There are many ways you can contribute,

 

1)Speak by asking your parents to have the same rule for your sister/wife, as it is for you. Whether it is the deadline to come home at night or going out of town alone with friends.

2)Take initiative to help in the household chores. I have seen many home where the girls are taught all household chores and is expected to help, but not the boy. Tell them, you can help too and you to want to learn.

3)Always encourage your sister/wife career. Make it as important to your parents as your career is. Fight with them when they want to marry off your sister against her wishes.

4)When you are getting married, tell them you would contribute equally towards the expenses. In some community only wedding expense has to be borne by the bride’s family and no dowry is involved. Still, it takes 2 people to marry then why only one should bear the expense.

5)Do not agree to be part of any custom which might be offensive to the bride’s family. (There are quite a few in every community).

6)If you contribute in the household expense, ask your sister/wife to contribute too. You can decide the ratio, but make it a point to do so. Your behaviour implies equality in true sense, please remember.

7)Let your wife decide, if she wishes to change her name or not. If she does not, support her when she is questioned about her choice.

8)Speak up, when someone gives you blessing of having a baby boy or tells you that you need a boy to carry your family name forward. Cut them there and let your views be known.

9)Whenever in a discussion, a character of the women is assaulted due to her independent modern thoughts, please stop them there. Do not keep quiet.

Please make an effort. Even if you are able to change the view of one person, it will help in the long run.

 

Daughter-In-Law != Maid

Supreme court of India said,” Daughter-in-law should be treated as a family member and not housemaid” splashed across the newspapers.

Reading the news,

  • Women and hopefully few men too were happy to see the statement. Something they wanted to scream and say to their parents/in-laws was now out in open. They must have folded the paper with this news at top so that it could be read by their parents or in laws.
  • People identified with the concern Supreme Court expressed. The news was religiously shared on social media for the public who uses social media sites as their news source.
  • As for me, the news at first amused me, than disturbed me and then I felt ashamed.

The highest court of India had to guide millions of Indians on the way to behave with their daughter in law. Do we need to tell people, is it not obvious!!

As obvious as the values we received in our moral science class,

  1. YOU should respect your elders
  2. YOU should never cheat
  3. YOU should help people in need
  4. YOU should never make derogatory remarks about someone.

Or as obvious as the lessons a girl is bestowed with when she is about to marry,

  • YOU should always stand beside your husband and help him grow
  • YOU should treat his parents as your own
  • YOU should accept the new family whole heartedly.

Sadly, the reported facts of India tell a different story and hence the aforementioned statement from the court. If read by the intended audience it would deter them to badly treat their daughter-in-law’s, hopefully!!

For the future generation, I think we need to also include the following in the moral sciences lectures:

  • Treat your daughter-in law with dignity
  • She is not a maid
  • She is a living & breathing human being.

Hopefully, in the future generation the facts and figures would be different.

 

Own up Girl

I am what some may call as “Feminist”. Well I chose to call myself, someone who would not like to bog down just because I was born female. I have crossed thirty and I have realized that nobody can empower you. If somebody else has given you the power, then that somebody can snatch the power away too. Empowerment needs to come from within. One needs to feel capable enough to decide for oneself, have the courage to choose what one likes and not get dictated by norms and rules.

As I met various women in my life, I understood that inferiority is deeply entrenched in them. And funnily they do not even realize it. The new Ariel Ad where the father apologizes to his daughter is the perfect example.

Women have been taught that it is their duty to look after all the household chores. Even if you are rich enough to hire a maid, you need to coordinate with the maid. It is like delegating the work you do not like or find time to your subordinate but you are the only one responsible for the output of the subordinate. My husband is super cool, but even he told me that I will not look after kitchen, it is your area. I told him, no its not. I have never done any ration filling or coordinating with maids before. I have led my life exactly the way he has. Thankfully he understood and now we share the responsibility.

I knew this relative of mine, who will not let her husband or brother do any household work. Mind it she is educated and is a working woman. How much ever dead tired she is, she says-“Why are you doing. I am there. I’ll do it.”  She gives me cold looks when I do not interfere when my husband is doing the household chores. She has been taught that men are not supposed to do this work. They are meant for office work.

Then there are women, who will share messages like how hard a women life is. She has to play different roles (sister/wife/daughter) to perfection (which means do all the stereotype jobs assigned) and manage office and yet maintain patience. Really, I think even the guys have to do the same, if that is the case.

Then there are other category who praise when their husband help them once in a while with some domestic chores. Or if they find somebody else’s husband/brother doing it. I think we should really stop doing this. Does anybody appreciate when women go out and earn? Then why such a big deal, when a man does household work. We should stop treating it as a luxury but demand it as a necessity.

The worst of all is the portrayal of women in our movies and tv serials. A girl who manages household chores and office both without any assistance from the man is an ideal woman. A woman who refuses to do so is the vamp. Other day I saw the song( udi udi from Saathiya) and I saw Rani Mukherjee doing all the household chores while Vivek Oberoi was simply watching her. I am sure while filming they dint even realize the message they are giving, because it is an accepted fact.

Also, women give up their lifestyle to adjust to the new family they are marrying into. My friend married a Jain and gave up Onion/Garlic etc etc. Another friend’s sister and one of my husband cousins gave up non vegetarian food as they married vegetarian men. Why? I am a vegetarian, I never asked my husband to give up. Why are you supposed to do that? Sadly, it is an accepted fact that a girl will have to do away with her lifestyle. Girls are expected to give up their jobs/career to move with their husband. And for them it is not a big deal. This is the norm, a girl always have to give preference to husbands career.

And then the ever eternal giving up your surname. I have been questioned multiple times by my office colleagues, friends, and family. Few of them have even send out invitations by adding my husband’s surname with my name. It is just assumed that a girl would simply take the name. Many of them have told me at least put your husband surname in the last. I have an identity that I created .It won’t change just because I married someone. If I have entered his family ,than even he has become a part of my family. Will he take my surname?

And most of the marriage customs are completely unfair. Our Pandit explained that during marriage groom is the form of Vishnu, hence the bride’s father is supposed to wash his feet. Really ? If groom is Vishnu, then the bride is Goddess Laxmi, then why the groom’s father does not worship her. And in the dowry marriage she indeed is the Laxmi. In some tradition a girl is supposed to display her skills (knitting/food etc ).Why the boys don’t display their skills? And then there are the blessings-“May your husband live long and you die before your husband” and “May you be blessed with boy”

Irritatingly, how much ever a girl succeeds professionally, she is always measured by how well she cooks or how artistic she is or how good she is at domestic chores. I have constantly been asked -Oh you know how to apply mehendi, rangoli etc etc. Or oh now she has learnt cooking, isn’t that good in few years she will learn everything. And most of these comments are by women.

Then are the free advice’s of taking your career slow; none other than by the working women. How difficult it is to manage both. Women should be the one who should slow down. Why should she be the one, because a child needs mother the most. And father has to work, he can’t stay at home. What will the world say? I rarely heard someone saying, that ask your husband to help you with the child that way you both can flourish in your career.

I know of very few cases where all of this does not hold true. Some would say that is because the husbands/fathers/brothers are supportive. I would say, it is because she never considered herself inferior to the male counterpart. Since she never moulded her thoughts and ideas as per what the society deemed correct.

A woman will be truly empowered, when she will be free to build her personality the way she desires. When a women will not be judged on predefined parameters. And when finally, she realizes that no one but she has the power to write her destiny.

The post got published here