Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Caught in between...

I've wanted to write this for a very long time now.. but haven't cause i start feeling overwhelmed whenever i start on this issue and my fingers don't seem to move fast enough for me to write all i need to.

Hmmm. Where do i start.. i guess that i will start from something that happened on my trip to japan.. since i'm still very much in a state of hangover with japan..

Well, like all you people know, i stayed alone in japan and had to do quite a lot of cooking.. since vegetarian food is not very easily available there... Cooking and me.. well how i say this.. i can cook food that's good enough for me to eat.. since i rarely cook at home i don't really know how good or bad my cooking is. And truth to say, i can't say i'm much bothered about my cooking expertise (or lack thereof). I kind of see it as something that i need to know and don't necessarily need to be good at.. cos i'm a working woman.. See where i'm coming from now.. ;-) ??

Well in Japan, i was constantly expected to bring super lunches to office, just because i was a woman. I was supposed to drum up excellent sambhar and rasam, and a curry or a kootu each day.. ! And this when i was going home only by midnight or later each day (or should i say night) and had to come to work the next day at 9 30 AM!!! When is say, 'i was expected' i don't mean that my colleagues expected me to cook food for them and bring it.. (Sheesh, i'd have had quite a few things to say to them and none of them pretty, if they had!!!!) It's just that since i was a 'woman' they quite expected that i would be able to cook each day as well as work late nights at office.. !!! Now i don't know about you, but this constant living upto the superwoman image depresses me. Everytime i see some ad on a tv that shows this perfect woman who manages to have a brilliant career, look beautiful, have a perfect husband and two great kids, take care of her aging in-laws (forget the fact that her parents may be aged and even more in need of her), and run the best household to top it all... i can't help thinking.. is it only me who can't live up to be this paragon of perfection??? I just realized i can't remember exactly which ad shows this kind of an image but think back to all those wishes and cards we got on Women's day.. all those cards that say they salute a woman who plays so many roles, that of a mother, a wife, a dutiful daughter-in-law etc etc.. Do many women actually play all these roles with ease???

And yet it's these very same men who don't hold open a door for me or draw a chair for me.. or make any attempt to accompany me home when i have to go home really late at night. At all of those times, i'm the independant working woman, bold and confident to make my own way home and to do all my things on my own. Not a single finger is lifted on my behalf. And yet these same men treat other women (mostly, women from their own familes) in the best of ways possible. They treat their women like they were the most gentle and delicate souls on earth and meant to be protected and cared for at every step of their ways.

I don't know if the point i'm trying to make here is understandable. In fact, it's hardly a single point - it's too many. Am i wrong in expecting men to be chivalrous? Especially when i won't be the stereotype of my gender, what right do i have to expect men to be stereotypes of their gender?? Do i belong with the wives of the male colleauges i met in Japan - those who stayed at home contentedly and managed their households for their husbands? Do i belong to those brave women who burned bra's and took out rallies so women could vote, get an education, inherit wealth and in sum, be respected as human beings??? Do i belong to those career women who can leave a new born baby and go abroad cos that Onsite chance is never goin to come again??? Or am i supposed to manage all these roles and still do wonderfully well - jus because i'm a woman??????????


Ravindran Ganapathi said...

Those who started the game made the rules. In the beginning the male/female roles have been gatherer/nourisher. So there is enormous amount of collective consciousness exists. But change in collective consciousness requires understanding and time.

No longer the game are played the same (atleast not everywhere). There is no definite labelling exists as of now. Answers are many as the number of persons are !!!
It should always be individual's choice.

I would not vote for a static labelling. what u believe in at that time matters most !!!

muse said...

u're rite.... there is no definite label today. but my problem is in fact this.. !! with no definite label, there is so much more expected out of you!!!! hence the superwoman expectations!!!!

Caffeinism said...

Well "superwoman" image is hard to live up to...You know what I will say about that. But men treating their wives as dainty darlings and never bothering to even ask about you when u are going back late at night, has become shockingly true and I see more and more of it everywhere. This indifference is reflected in all simple accepts of life. It has happened to me so many times and every time it does not fail to give me a jolt. It’s almost like all their beliefs and views about this issue are different with respect to different women.
Can we attribute this to their lack of caring/concern towards women and even others who will not make a difference in their lives in a big way? You see they have an image to live up to and meet certain expectations at home where as at work they can easily shed that fa├žade and can resort to “You are the one who talks of equality all the time” stand.
At work we women have invaded their space and somewhere deep down they still can’t accept it. Hence they become carefully uncaring (it is called professionalism) but also ingrained in them is the idea of the “woman-the cook” and what comes out because of this dual perceptions is what we all get to see.
** Note** This is the longest comment ever made and can actually rival a post….ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

That post had lot of feeling .. so my advice donot get married for some time .Otherwise ur hubby is going into lot trouble.
Well that is on the ligther side.
Not all men are same. Rather we can attribute to the way people are brougth up .Check the freedom given based on gender.
Any one who expected good from u are morons , they will treat there wife also same way . Because they donot prepare there own food . had they know the trouble of preparing food they would have learnt to respect .

take care