Bartan Dhone waale jokes!
One thing I observed in messages during the Coronavirus outbreak is that Middle and Upper-Class Indians are struggling with how to cook, clean the house, and especially with doing the dishes (jhaadu-pochha-bartan). More than complaints, everyone made fun of it. There are so many angles to this. First - the perception that It is a demeaning job; success in life in India means you don't do household chores once you can meet the necessities of life. If not maid, then it is only women who are supposed to do these things for the family. How can men do it? Are they even supposed to do it? Some people had to do "for the first time in their life!"... and "poor husbands" were almost always part of the joke! This perception is so deeply embedded in our mindset that we don't even find it offensive. It is normal. Someone posted a video of his son (almost adult) doing vacuum, and the caption was something like - my son has grown up today. No,... and he is not doing something that he shouldn't have already been doing at least with his stuff!
What we Indians make our kids be someday? They become what they see at home. One example - I think if men do household things, women start to feel guilty as if they are supposed to do it, and they are doing something wrong if men in the house have to do anything! I have seen men eating oranges only when their wives peel it and remove all that white stuff and hand it over to them. Women feel proud as if this is what they were destined to do; that's how we set examples. What do you think their next generation will learn? Both sons and daughters. If you expect your sons and daughters to be in a certain way, do it that way yourself. Maybe it is not that simple. I am glad that I am in my little silo away from all these.
On women's day, a friend sent a message highlighting some points, and this was my reply -
(shouldn't we give days off to women working as maids? or let them go so that they can get a better life) Equality will never come from leaving privileges that we have that's not going to help the unprivileged. Helping them would be to empower them as well to get more of what we have. Treat them as if they are professionals doing a job. The only way it will improve is if they get to work in more houses and more pay. We had a plumber another day, and he told me that her one daughter went to Columbia to study economics. Another daughter is a physicist at Yale! (I love America for few things; such stories are one of them.) The economies that keep their poor off-work never improve. They should get paid more and more, and eventually their next-gen will get a white-collar job. Maids in the US are rarety, and even if there are some, they drive to go for their work. It will change... It is changing. It is always a slow process.
(even if the wife is working husband is not supposed to anything at home) There are husbands (unfortunately as exceptions) who do all housework, go in the kitchen, cook, do dishes, and clean/arrange the house.. . As and when needed, both partners help each other, much more than just kitchen work. It's not that rare, even on the days when the wife doesn't go to work and on weekends. I don't know if it's that rare, but it is very much the case. Some people are proud of that. Some feel ashamed. That's the difference.
(Women make less money for the same job and why household work is not considered as a work) I have seen women making more money, but stereotype from childhood seems a bigger problem. And it's a huge problem.. fewer women graduate in tech than man and more in liberal arts.. I think the problem starts there. Pink vs Blue, princess vs fighter etc. Housework should be considered a full-time job I don't see that's happening shortly. That's how it is—sad fact. Economic empowerment is easiest way in my view.
(item songs depict women in a wrong way) Not just item songs but almost all Bollywood songs stereotype women.. the good old classic ones too... That's another sad part. If you listen carefully, nearly all songs in Bollywood stereotype women .. itna subtle ki ham dhyan bhi nahi dete Kai baar ki ye to normal hai. Puja karungi Teri, Dil mein rahungi Teri types gaane bhi. If you listen to what males are supposed to do and what females in songs-- that sucks!
But things will change, we can do by setting an example. I want my kids to see at home, and that's what I want them to learn. And not just teach how it should be and don't do it myself. We can't change the world, but we can do what we should do if we cannot, then what right do we have to say anything to anyone.
This is a never-ending topic for discussion!