When patriarchy needs to walk out

If patriarchy had a specific beginning in history,

It can also have an end.

– Maria Miles

Smash patriarchy

Patriarchy is a system in a society, where the male gender hold the power and the females are excluded. Given a super power this word is in the top of my list of words to be removed from dictionary.

The term in itself might sound new to many but is an age old practice that’s been there in the families for long. A lot more women and a handful of men who understand that this needs to end have taken necessary steps to get this out. But the efforts are all still only a drop in the ocean. But nevertheless it cannot be ignored and such experiences can motivate more people to come forward to get rid of it permanently.

What made me write this article is a recent movie that me and the hubster sat down to watch during one of the weekends.

The Great Indian Kitchen” it is. The movie has been getting attention from all directions as in the sub titles made it easier that people from er languages also geared interest to watch it. Not to forget the fact that the movie got released in a much lesser known OTT platform, people even went to the extent of paying the membership just to watch this movie. Thank goodness the movie stirred up a lot of news and Amazon decided to stream it on their platforms , that it saved me from spending on a new OTT membership. Glad this happened else that would have been one more reason for me to brood.

The film is set in Kerala, where in a newly wed couple start getting to know each other. That’s what happens in arranged marriages. You don’t immediately let your husband take up kitchen duties or pitch in to help, because it’s a society governed by patriarchy.

A typical morning in the house, and as the scenes unfold the husband does not even drop his coffee mug in the sink and that is the duty of the wife. Should I mention as one of the duty? The mother in law makes elaborate preparations chopping vegetables, grinding, tossing vessels, cookers what not. What I thought was supposed to be a lunch preparation turned out to be the scene for breakfast.

Not to mention the chutneys being ground on mortar and pestle and dosas straight to the plate from tawas. To top it all the way in which the father and son eat literally got me sick as I was having my lunch.

The mother in law and daughter in law sit down on the same table which the daughter in law finds difficult to cope. It looks like the mother in law has no voice to speak against such practices or is gotten used to adjusting. The level of treatment the men expect goes to Himalayan heights when the father in law is given the toothbrush with paste in hand to go brush the teeth and slippers being delivered right at his feet when he steps out. Blood boiled that I had to turn it off to calm myself for a while before I resumed watching.

The mother in law leaves abroad to help her pregnant daughter leaving all the responsibilities and duties to take care of the immature children of the house( the father and son). What started off to be a little hectic gets worse in one or two days. The never ending chores in kitchen , house cleaning , washing clothes makes her tense. To add to the woes the kitchen sink starts to leak which is left unattended even after multiple reminders she does so that her husband calls up the plumber.

The husband who is a shabby eater in the house is a perfect gentleman with table manners at the restaurant. When commented he gets pissed and makes the woman apologize. Atrocities!

The poor thing when she decides to take up a job is being advised by the father in law to leave all the thought because that’s what the mother in law did. Makes me want to question, who are these people to give opinions if a girl should work or no? All the education and experience only to wash clothes by hand and pound chutneys in mortar is highly unacceptable. It is really saddening to see that women in yester generation continue to do all this for their husbands and son and also give unrealistic hopes that the daughter in law who comes in will continue to do the same.

Being a millennial parent, it is our duty to raise sons who will equally respect the female gender. Raise sons who will cook, clean and help the women in the family. Raise sons who will do their own chores which includes keeping their rooms, tables clean , help in putting away dishes to sink and give some rest to the ever working women in the family.

Do not glorify if men in the home do this or tell the woman she is lucky to have them do all this. Let’s normalize such behaviour from men.

It was said in olden days that” the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Whoever said that only meant tasty food not sumptuous spreads for every meal of the day that also includes room service to clear away mugs, plates and not to mention the leftover clean up after they ate.

Mentioning the clean up, I feel even diaper duties were far better after I saw the table in that movie.

The generation we now are supports equal parenting and gender equality. Let the men of the family take up kitchen duties during the period when the women menstruate, not citing purity as reasons as I also do not believe in it. This is just to make them capable of taking it up and not just relying upon women for food and everything.

Stop practicing that women should serve food to men and should serve themselves. Change that. Either sit together for a meal or have the men serve you once they finish. I don’t think that is going to reduce their worth or what so ever.

Raise your sons equivalent to your daughters. Do not practice gender based chores at home, it has to be shared equally. Only if this is done , your daughter in law would be happy that she is into a home that believes in modern way of thinking rather than surrendering to patriarchy.

Recently a picture that brought tears was a woman with an oxygen concentrator cooking in the kitchen captioned unconditional love= mother. This is the result of patriarchy. The person has no shame in portraying the suffering of the mother. The picture brought in a lot of negative traction. The women need to stand up against such practices.

It all comes down to making a change . Be the change to see more people joining you.

Men can make their own coffee or tea and can clean up. They can also look up simple recipes to cook, just saying.

If the daughter in law decides to make a change support them and don’t stand as a hindrance as push them into the same pit.

Do not raise sons with expectations that the wife will take care of everything for him just like how she does.

This post is part of #causeachatter for blogchatter.

Who is a feminist? #writebravely #celebratewritetribe

A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men. – Gloria Steinem

I happen to come across this the first time. This made me search about Gloria Steinem and my, my what brilliant quotes she came up with. Each has an inner meaning and an underlying truth. Most of it contains truth about being a feminist. So, I thought why not pick up few that would influence me to be a better woman. I will list them out in the order I liked them.

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.

This conveys the logic that the fish lives happily without the bicycle so in the same analogy a woman can also live well without a man.

A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.

Anyone who believes in equality of both sex and trusts that both have equal right and opportunities in all fields can be deemed to be a feminist.

“I believe that change comes from the bottom, not the top.”.

We cannot expect a change to happen from the top of the pyramid. Only when it starts from the bottom, it can be set right on the top.

‪”Self-esteem isn’t everything; it’s just that there’s nothing without it.”

This statement is self- explainable. If you see there is nothing more than self-respect, we have. But she also deems that it isn’t everything.

‪”So whatever you want to do, just do it…Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential.”

The above statement says that we can do all it takes just to accomplish what we want, so making a fool of our self is essential. Why don’t we go that extra mile to achieve our goal and why bother if the world thinks you are a fool.

‪”We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.”

We all think of teaching our kids, what we learnt from our ancestors, but we fail to realize that the reverse is also important. We have so much to learn from them compared to what we would want to let them know.

‪”Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”

We fail to understand that dreaming would help us plan, think out of box by imagining. This does give us a number of possibilities. But we generally don’t do it.

‪”If the shoe doesn’t fit, must we change the foot?”

Yes, that’s true. If it doesn’t fit, we should be looking for another shoe and not think about changing the foot. As this is normally put, when things don’t work by the plan, try changing the plan and not what we are trying to achieve.

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”

This is absolutely bang on. We also look for the right person who should match the qualities we are looking for. Instead we fail to notice if we in the first place are equally good.

“The art of life is not controlling what happens to us, but using what happens to us.”

This is a gem. We should try to learn from what life gives us, instead sitting all day to set things right for a perfect day. Every experience is a learning. We have no control upon an extent to what life is holding for us, but what actually happens can give us a valuable lesson and we can make use of it.

Every statement of Gloria does leave us thinking. I loved all of the above. I hope that would influence me to be a better person and I hope that you would benefit too.

I’m Writing Bravely for the Write Tribe Festival of Words – March 2019’.