Thursday, June 26, 2008

You make him do so much work!

“How can you leave him alone at home and have a girl’s night out? He actually helps? You are very fortunate! You ask him do work around the house? Poor thing. He does the dishes? That’s sacrilegious! Why does he have to make tea when we are here? He wakes up at night to change the baby’s diaper? He has started helping such a lot; you are very lucky. Do you thank him enough?"

I have to say, while writing those aforementioned words, my heart was cringing and hands were scratching to smack the creators of such insipid allegations. Basically, what you read above is a gist of all the offensive, irksome, insulting, insensitive, sexist dialogues most women have to bear with when men in their lives help them around the house. Interestingly enough, this display of dismay and horror is done more by women and less by men. I guess, most men are apathetic towards “who’s doing what;” most women struggle to keep an emotional filter between their brain and their mouth. They are too quick to pass judgment based on their trite postulations, archaic mindset, and esoteric thoughts.

Initially, I thought these allegations and stereotypical attitudes are more reflective of our Asian society. I was wrong; it’s prevalent in the western world as well. A snippet of a conversation between my very close friend and her grandma shows how thoughtlessly un-evolved women can be towards their own gender.

My friend: Hi grandma! How are you?
Friend’s grandma: I am good. Where are you? I hear noise.
My friend: I am in midtown; just met up with a few friends for drinks after work.
Friend’s grandma: You are out with your friends, so where is your husband?
My friend: He’s at home. Watching TV or relaxing, I guess.
Friend’s grandma: How can you leave your man alone at home? What will he eat? How will he manage? If you continue doing this, he will leave you for another woman!

I am confused:

  1. Why do women rave about equality when it comes to their own good but assume a sexist role when it comes to other women?
  2. An acquaintance once said to me, “Its okay for him to wash the bathroom but not to do the dishes. He is elder to me and is the man of the house.” I didn’t know that house hold chores have gender roles attached to them. It’s acceptable for a man to buy grocery but to not make tea or chop vegetables?
  3. Its okay for a man to socialize after work but the woman should rush home to accomplish her wifely duties?
  4. When the man and woman come tired after a long day’s work, it’s adequate for the woman to solely serve the family and for the man to get served? Oh, the illusion that slavery is dead!
  5. The lady of the house is expected to be a multi-tasker -- juggle work, home, family, friends etc. while the man has the luxury to bask in pampering?

According to the most recent figures from from the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households, average wife does 31 hours of housework a week while the average husband does 14 — a ratio of slightly more than two to one. This ratio is applicable to couples where both the man and the woman work.

I am appalled as this whole issue is bigger than sexism, criticism, equality, favoritism, or multi-tasking; it’s about humanity or lack of it. Men get sympathy and accolades for their minutest efforts; women have to deal with the nonchalant, “It’s your duty to manage all or how can you make him do such a lot of work?” The unfair societal expectations from a woman are synonymous with undue compromise.

I believe there are no fixed recipes of what’s right and what’s wrong. Why comment when you don’t know the entire story? What works for one couple, doesn’t necessarily work for the other. In today’s times, with both the man and the woman working such stressful jobs how is it fair that the man has the flexibility to choose his amount and kind of contribution but a woman has to do it all?

More until next time.


Copyright © 06.26.2008

“I see when men love women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.” - Oscar Wilde


SB said...

Very well written, I need to send this over to AK.

Bijay said...

Oscar Wilde cud not hve visualised social structures of 21st century.Yr last para does make great sense.Issue can`t be viewed in isolated manner and only a rational division of rights and duties cud uphold social fabrics unless modern intent is to revert to stone age.