Straight Talk: Where Men form a Part of WoMen
Posted by Katie Nathan
Women have been at the receiving end literally. Talk about cacti milk or cradle system, the first thing that comes to our mind is girl children. I came across a situation where a lady and her family were sobbing uncontrollably in a maternity home. Thinking they might have lost the child, I inquired the Doctor and her answer was shocking. They were mourning the birth of a girl child. For a moment I was dumbfounded and later wondered how in the world are they here in flesh and blood if not for a woman. So the story of the girl child begins in this kind of environment.
Subsequently, if the family has boy and girl children, the girl learns to obey the brother and do the household chores for him without a whimper. Doing out of affection is one thing but being forced to do it is another thing. The mentality to obey and accept things thrust on women begins at such an earlier age and parents without any forethought add the responsibility of taking care of younger children in the household on them. I know a family of 3 children, where the eldest girl is always busy running behind the other two and specifically the boy because she has to know how to take care of her children tomorrow. What happens to her childhood? When she looks back at a later stage of life, it will be nothing but responsibilities and lost dreams. The irony in the whole topic is such things are initiated more by the mother and other women in the household than men. It is herd mentality here, simply put, it leans on ‘I have done it and you too learn to do it’.
This is the situation in the literate and illiterate society in India. If women do not demand their rights, they are not going to get it. When a girl reaches puberty, she is made to learn all household work including cooking, washing, cleaning and mopping when the boy is allowed to go out and have fun. No questions are asked on his activities but even the bare minimum is not offered to a daughter. In one such incident in an acquaintance home, my friend, the mother, was asking the girl to learn washing clothes by hand. Her daughter, working in a reputed company, got offended and retorted back saying that she will marry someone who can afford a washing machine and also knows how to do all household work. It is very difficult for anyone to imagine the hurl of abuses the girl got from her parents that day. All my arguments went in vain and I heartily wished the girl stands by her stance and gets a life where she is adored and respected.
In olden days, women were asked to take care of home but the intentions were different. Work outside home demanded physical labor and hard efforts and so of mutual consent women decided to keep men off the stress and tension of taking care of a home and allowed them to be breadwinners. Women manage mental and emotional elements better than men. Whatever was the earning, women were shrewd enough to save and ensure the family was taken care of well. This fact was recognized by men too and women were respected and given the keys of the house and overall management. As time elapsed, communication lapse triggered misguide and the purpose behind the whole understanding was beaten. Women became unpaid servants with least respect or regard. This prompted the women to educate their girls to compete with men at work and today women hold high positions and have penetrated every industry considered to be man’s domain demanding respect taking us back to Square A again.
Situation seems to have improved in the urban society with limitations but yet we have a lot of ground to cover. This infographic says it all –
Agree or not, parents are role models for their children. Fights and abuses happen in front of children but show of love and affection happens only inside four walls. Children learn from it. There is nothing wrong in a husband showing that he cares for his wife in front of the children. He can exhibit it by sharing her workload, be it washing or cooking or anything that keeps the home healthy and vibrant. Children learn from this too!
To break the vicious circle of brainwashing that has gone into the mindset of girls and boys, there needs to be a sea change in the attitude of men and women. Parents should instill the feeling of equality among the children, be it girl or boy, and naturally the next generation will see a change and better living environment for women.