Friday, September 24, 2010

Change of Status

Today's women have created a niche for themselves in the work places of  business world; and have proved time and again, to possess the ability to shape their own lives, to create a world of their own dreams balancing  family and career with great aplomb. The fall of the joint family and rise of the nuclear one has led to the breakdown of the traditional role women used to play in society. She has begun to speak her mind with regards to her rights; and has demanded a role of an equal partner in the business of family management alongside her husband.

India has a complex social set up where ancient traditional religion-sanctioned practices have given men powers that are almost unsurmountable. Indian women have accomplished a lot but have yet to find a foot hold to work towards overhauling the male dominated society. She may have to find a way to incorporate some of the traditional diktats into her modern role requirements.

In an interviewChanging the male mindset is a key aspect to women’s liberation. Men also need to be ‘liberated’ from the shackles of patriarchy,” acknowledges Harish Sadani. To do this, he founded Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) in 1993, one of only a handful of organisations in India that are trying to change men’s patriarchal, chauvinistic and often violent attitudes. He says, "Patriarchy, apart from disadvantaging women, brings with it a set of behavioural norms and responsibilities that hinders men from expressing their fears, problems and vulnerabilities.Men often become violent, aggressive and uncaring due to patriarchal modes of socialisation. Images of masculinity are linked with being strong and violent and to notions that men with ‘power’ are ‘real men’. ‘Opening up’ in men is much more difficult and complex than with women. Men often do not have any experience, confidence, or even vocabulary to describe their innermost feelings related to sexuality and other related issues  It takes guts to renounce obvious patriarchal privileges and step down from a dominant position in order to win moral self-respect. Men are seen as part of the problem, but unless they are seen as part of the solution and the process of transformation no significant change in the status of women will occur. Changing the male mindset is key to women’s liberation. Men too need to be ‘liberated’ from the shackles of patriarchy. It calls for a paradigm shift in viewing the ‘women’s issue’ as a ‘gender issue’ (equally, a ‘men’s issue’) by all concerned." Source

Evidence is, the urban Indian male hasn’t really changed. He is cocooned as he has always been in a sort of prolonged infantilism – a hatchery protected by doting mothers, fathers, sisters, girlfriends, and society itself. As Mukul Kesavan, author of the The Ugliness Of The Indian Male And Other Propositions says, “The Indian male’s bullet-proof unselfconsciousness comes from a sense of entitlement that’s hard-wired into every male child in an Indian household.” Source

The Indian woman has miles to go before she sleeps, before she earns the right to eat before her husband does and also sleep before her husband does if she is tired. Mindsets need to change, of men, women, and of the society. Religious and political forces will work against the change; but we bloggers have a moral obligation to keep this topic alive, and be the instrument of change.

The Indian Man
Why Indian Men Are Still Boys
woman Pictures, Images and Photos
Set control to 100, Volume to 1,
Blur to max when not in use,
Honorary member of Follow the Leader,
Trained to obey an inflexible ‘heel’.
Hand, fingers, feet and toes,
Always on alert to fetch, feed or flush,
Orders to be fulfilled while the dot is hot,
No tips ever paid or ‘keep the change’.
Lock, undo, delete or backspace,
Hack into the mind, heart and soul,
Erase dreammode with any button,
Till all bytes are free for reprogramming.
Her title typed in a big bold font,
Acknowledgment only in-between lines,
Muted in invisible scrawny print,
Wooed by man is woo-man. 

Sulk and fight fierce for the status quo,
Or you could learn to gently fly with me.
Change’s here whether you like it or not,
Time has washed away chains and fear,
Sniff the air that blows from out there,
A silent revolt lines every fair breath.
Hold hands and do trust our intend,
For fairness shines through years of hurt,
No shadow of vengeance or monopoly,
Since the future of Earth and her children,
Rests on the shoulders of compromise.
Isn’t it time, to break free and fly,
To fair lands kinder, to the better-half?
Where we do promise to impartially share,
A platform and altar of equal footing,
Come hold hands and gently fly with me.

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© Nalini Hebbar/openmind/2009-all rights reserved
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Dr. Pratibha Singh said...

Mam its great to see that you are working on such a subject which was neglected from years.We have been talking about women's right and forgot to consider men's perspective and due to this their a communication drift have been created which can be filled with great efforts of both the gender.Working for both the races simultaneously is needed because ''gaadi ek pahiye se nahi chalti''.
I must say that its a complete post of great vision.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Agree with Pratibha. Being a man is also not easy. when things are changing with women, men have reasons to worry, as their fathers didnot face the same issues.

good post, even I was thinking of writing about it.


Ramesh Sood said...

Yes, a good write on the view from your perspective.. well done.. it does trickle some profound thoughts in mind..equlity.. hasn't it started already happening..You know Nalini some how I have always believed in an ancient saying," Nature does not hurry.. yet every thing is accomplished.."

Well, you told me about putting Music.. I am reluctant because it would be for those who visit my page... they may be having different tastes or already cherishing their favourite tunes..which can get disturbed..:)

Ratnadeep said...

Well, rights can only be provided with the duties done...
You should think about the duties of a woman in the family, then and only then she is eligible for duties.

Nalini Hebbar said...

@Ratnadeep...even a criminal has rights! A duty of a woman in the family is not to cook while the man drinks coffee behind a newspaper! His duty is to see to it that he too does his equal share of household chores.
BTW Who sets the 'eligibility for rights'?

flawsophy said...

"A duty of a woman in the family is not to cook while the man drinks coffee behind a newspaper! "

It's indeed disturbing most people mistake comfort for equality and freedom !!!

Men and Women are fundamentally different and their roles in a marriage need to be complimentary not 50-50. There is no question about how the kids TURN OUT when the woman wants to just sip coffee when she pleases just like DAD. A mother's love and control has been proved healthy to parents sharing everything 50-50.

Saying THUS, I am not asking men to do as they please and be as unreasonable and screw things up !!!

Nalini Hebbar said...

@ Flawsophy...from your comment it is obvious that you are unmarried and also come from a strong patriarchal background...but times have changed and marriage (with the opposite sex) will surely teach men how to be equal...women are changing, and men need to change to enjoy a wholesome wedded life.

As far as the children are concerned, a father who shares the chores, conveys the much needed signal that he respects their mother, and the work she does.

The parents also lay a foundation for a better adjusted wedded life for their children coz the wives of the future will demand equality.

flawsophy said...

You got that one absolutely right. I am unmarried and have a hell a lot to learn about women :)

But, I admit the fact that I was unable to express my view correctly. I do not come from "strong patriarchal background" as can be seen from my comment. If you look through my blog, you can find that I spend a lot of time blasting men for the havoc they wreaked on the planet in the name of male ego.

My only worry with the phrase
"liberation of woman" is that girls, i feel, are missing the script when they insist on literal 50-50 sharing. There are few things a women must do and I feel kids feel the warmth as long as women keep doing it. Men will ruin the whole thing. It's the wonderful trend with women getting to work today, but it's worth thinking for the sake of professional ambitions, something more vital like the care for the next generation is being diluted or not - that is the "Pitru Runam" (debt to parents) which has to be paid by taking care of the next generation.

I am sorry if I sounded rude. I have enormous respect for womenkind, motherhood and the thankless sacrifice they made for generations so that men could find different ways to compete and kill each other :P

Nalini Hebbar said...

You say that the 50-50 sharing is taken too literally by girls…
Do you know that actually women find the daily grind in the kitchen very taxing because
• it is monotonous and requires the same tasks being done day after day 24x7
• it is something no one else wants to do which makes it seem as if it is forced on you
• it is not rocket science that men can’t learn to do…most paid cooks are men
• it is a thankless job, this being the worst attribute of the job
• it is a job that anybody can do and doesn’t need the sacrifice of a woman’s dreams and aspirations.
In fact a family which does work together is stronger together and is not like a ship that has lost its sails every time the woman of the house is ill.
It is the duty of every woman to prepare each member of her family to be independent and learn to be self-sufficient. That, and not the service she renders everyday cooking and cleaning like a self-less person she is stereotyped and imprinted to be, is what will count in the survival and wellbeing of her family.
I think we are what we are due to enforcing certain behavioral patterns on our men and women. Those patters were set in a different era and they continue because it is advantageous to the owner of the lips that sip the coffee behind the newspaper every morn while the weaker sex does multitasking of all the hard muscular labour at home. How about men taking over the work? It’s quite easy…it only takes about 25 hrs a day!
The caring, serving and the looking after of children can be left to the women. Then the kids can get more of their mother’s love and attention….just joking!...Women, I am sure understand that it’s not as easily done as is made out…and so, I bet, women will be ready for a 50-50 sharing.
The change of women’s status from the Vedic times (free and equal) to the post-Vedic time(dependent and powerless) was drastic after Manusmrithi was adapted by the inhabitants of India. We are going back to the Vedic times again…and that can’t be bad.

dr.antony said...

We are not going change the world in the near future.If you think that Indian men are not modern enough,I would give them the credit for the surviving families and the life we have.What are we trying to prove here? If men do the house hold chores,every thing is going to be fine? I don't think so.The values we keep make us different from the western society. Having lived in other parts of the world,I know the way families live there.They are looking at us with respect and wonder, about how we keep our family and traditions.Just because men wash clothes and cook,the world is not going to change.We have more important problems to deal with.

flawsophy said...

@ Nalini garu: Ha Ha … if you are thinking our generation is objecting to this list, you are gravely mistaken … I totally think young couples have a better house-hold chore chemistry … On a lighter note, middle-aged women want that now from their husbands !!!

my criticism of your view is that you completely missed out these changes in modern marriages while making the case. I guess you are missing my point again … what I mean is the troubling trend of women having an identity crisis and saying to men

"I want to be like you. Earn like you and come back and sip coffee like you".

and my reaction to it is …
"Great !! More men ? Haven't men done enough ? Do we need more of this ambition and selfishness in the world?"

What women are asking today is not a right to have their share of work reduced but their right to be lazy and sentimentally patriarchal about the family. A family needs the feminine energies, the yin !!!. More men today have no qualms doing household chores. What's wrong with females remaining as females? There is nothing inferior about it. What's this obsession to adopt this male-ego out of insecurity and false notion of equality. Equality doesn't exist in nature.

This physical sharing is a trivial problem. The meaning, the context, the expectations and demands have changed so much in contemporary marriages, that most of us today take whatever you said as a prerequisite. We have no problem.

flawsophy said...

By the way, I never meant all women today are like that ...

Nalini Hebbar said...

@ The Dr....Thank you for your comments...With your comment I can now be happy enough to relax a bit...stirring a few minds is the purpose of any post. I am sure I have planted a few seeds of thought in your mind regarding established least now you know how some women think.
Sharing house work will not solve the problem...but surely it will help the multitasking woman that she is loved and cherished.

Nalini Hebbar said...

@ Flawsophy...a blow to the solar plexus, the middle-age bit!...LOL...just kidding...can you believe it, middle age is when you really enjoy life, as a person, as a mother, as a wife and as a couple! Remember me when you reach there and let me know if I am still there to contact!
The 60's children...they changed India and equality all started then. The youth of the late 70's and the early 80's were the torch bears of change.
Can you believe this...on the lawns of the Miranda House, we girls were taught to defend ourselves and literally taught to produce a scream that could be heard! These are the parents of the girls of today...daring, and armed with a self confidence their parents instilled in them.
I wouldn't agree that women are lazy...when push comes to shove a woman will stand up and shoulder responsibility that a man can't even dream of. Boys with sisters who refuse to work if the boy doesn't, usually raise this issue.

As far as I am concerned my husband helps me with everything...he chops the onions and I make the chicken...he sweeps and I mop(when necessary)...I cook and he tends to the washing machine!...Not only at home but we share a business sons lay the table and have to help with everything in the house which stands on the pillars of equality...I didn't want this to get personal but since you wondered about it...I set your doubts to rest.
A woman will always be a woman even if she wears pants...and a man will remain a man even if he believes in equality...he will be more a man in the eyes of a woman!

Ankita said...

hii nalini

very nice blog and very relevant post

i agree, all the rules are for ladies only... i agree very much with ur views :)

keep writing

and yaa nice blog music :)

Rajendra Raikwar said...