During these COVID times, each one of us has gone through certain points of realisations. While everyone is encountering changes and problems in some or the other way, at the end of the day we console ourselves by believing that we all are in the same place, and this also shall pass!
Which is partially true in terms of that we all are at home and worried about our near future.
The men of the house are only worried about the work and how to manage the finances, while SHE is managing the house, taking care of the family, cooking meals, ensuring the safety of all, is always available for free hugs and give emotional support and is also taking care about her own work if she is working.
We have been reading stories and taking part in discussions that how this pandemic has changed the gender roles and how we have witnessed people advocating for equality towards work. But the question that we need to confront is why do we need a major health crisis or any social issue, or a big media story to happen to make us realise the real meaning of feminism and equality?
I would like to quote Rumi here, “Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots”.
Is there any book which defines gender roles? Or anything that lists down the work and duties of each under the He and she column?
We are looking for fruits and buds of change on the branches, unknown of the fact that the roots are not being watered and are so weak.
I recently read an article about how school going boys in Spain are taught household chores in classes to stop gender inequality. After reading it I shared it on my timeline with the caption-
“I wish this was and should be part of knowledge from the very first day of school in India, learning each day step by step. The way of living in our societies and communities will be so different (just imagine)”.
If we incorporate the lessons of gender equality and how one can be the catalyst for change, the fruits of change will be the sweetest!
We want waves of change in our lives from 0–100, which is practically impossible, it is important to understand that feminism should be present as something which is common sense and not something we need to learn from our books.
Why not teach our children that anyone can read science and cookbooks and the same bow can be used as a hair clip and a bow tie too! Let men wear makeup and women be taxi drivers. And let the clothes we wear be genderless!
The words, sentences or phrases that define the roles of the two genders in our community need to be teared off from our self created dictionaries, instead, we need to pay heed to the root cause and focus on eradicating the toxicity of patriarchal and misogynist behaviour that poisons the generations ahead.
The boyfriends of today take part in feminist parades and discussions, but deep down are unhappy of their partners’ success, their intellect and their choices of leading their life in their own way! “She” should be presentable, modern, educated and should also be a homemaker (this should be in our genes) so that they can brag among their friends and family about how much good they have done to deserve her!
But when it comes to supporting her and to be the wind under her wings, the men/boys are nowhere to be seen in the room.
The famous actress Neena Gupta said in one of her interviews sharing her life story as a single mother and talking about her daughter’s divorce, “ the girls of today are getting divorced because they are earning now and they don’t take any shit from the man”.
Yes, that’s true! We have the right to move out of a relationship if we are not comfortable in any sense, why only men have the right to be vocal about divorces and separation? And that too without giving any sorts of explanations. While the woman has to stay and “adjust”?
The movie ‘Thappad’ by Anubhav Sinha starring Tapsee Pannu in the lead role shatters the many shackles of Patriarchy where she decides to end the marriage when her husband slaps her in a party out of rage!
Still, she is questioned and given suggestions by her family and friends to adjust as this is what we the women of India have been doing since years and it was just a slap after all, but she stands strong on her decision to step out and chooses her self respect over her responsibilities.
There are many other strong dialogues and documentaries that showcase women in strong lead roles that bring a positive change in our society. A short film by Nandita Das on domestic violence during lockdown is a must-watch.
Another series of dialogue from the web series Made in heaven streaming on Amazon Prime is my favourite.
Another one from the movie ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ by Zoya Akhtar where Priyanka Chopra’s husband while having a discussion says I have allowed my wife to work after marriage, in return to which Farhan Akhtar( Priyanka’s friend in the movie) replies, “why does she has to take your permission after all?
If we say that we are not misogynist, patriarchal, classist and racist. It will be a lie. We all are, it’s just that the percentages vary. Our quest in life should be to reduce these percentages and then eliminate them from the roots.
In the end, I would like to refer to this quote by Jane Goodall.
I hope the youth of today will understand how important it is to understand the real meaning of feminism and inbuilt that in our daily life and moments.