Friday, February 26, 2016

Sharing is Caring, Right?

We call it the Indian Culture. Certainly it is a more complex concept than what we have made it out to be. I think each one of us has their own perception of it, some of us inflate with pride at the mention of Indian culture, and some are a little upset by its hold on the people's psyche.

Why is it necessary to mention Culture in a matter that will factor in only the family concerned? Because it is hard to be not influenced by the culture we live. We are continuously affected by it and some of the most obvious of our decisions are made for us by the culture we live in.

Take for instance laundry, simple enough? Who does it? The wife or the mother, right? (Keep away your humour for a moment, and your urge to say, "Well, the domestic help does it!") Despite the fact that gadgets have made our life more easier than ever, the idea that whatever little effort it takes to do that, always falls on the women of the household.

But at this point I would say my thoughts do not come out of rebel, my father was always a contributing father. He would cook often, and so does my brother now. The lessons of equality were a given when I was growing up. But what surprises awaited me as I went out in the world?

But it is necessary to speak up, to say you do not agree. In a world that believes a woman, should be seen and not heard, it is not as easy as it seems.

I am a homemaker by choice, I let go my job so that I could look after my ailing father-in-law and then to raise my daughter. I do not look at it as a sacrifice, neither do I judge women who choose to work. Because I know how difficult it is to choose either.

While working moms do get some respite, people cannot cut some slack for mothers who stay home. People assume they have a 24 hour stretch to work from. And God forbid you call it "unpaid job". Yes, it is true that working for your family is not a job you can detach from. But if it about attachments should they not show? What example are we setting for our children who assume that sacrifices are a woman's domain?

One way to change the world for better is to make people happy. While going all out on charity would be great, but why not start at home and make all of the people in our lives happy?

What brought me to discuss this is this initiative. “I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Judge-Me-Nots For That Valentine

So what is your label? Are you the Plain Jane, the hipster or the hottie? What do you think people think the moment they look at you? Given that cosmetics and fashion industry is a billion dollar industry, (definitely bigger than Cancer research, what does that say about our species?) we all know that good looks are a big deal.

People who are not actively working on their looks are painfully made aware of that! And it is definitely tougher for girls. And add to it these fashion label woes that put out stuff only few people can wear, and even fewer that you can buy!

In movies, tv shows or even books, there are male characters that are slobby or clumsy that  are still portrayed as lovable, such as Kramer, Charlie Chaplin and so many more. How many female characters can you think are portrayed that way? Not easy, right? If you are thinking about Big Bang Theory's Amy Fowler, even she had to go through some styling changes before Sheldon Cooper accepts her as a girlfriend.

There are countless stories on the concept of judging by appearances. So many movies have a twist where the girl's change in appearance changes her luck. Whether we like it or not good looks does bring with it some amount of benefits. You might hate the idea that people are entitled to so many privileges for something that they did not have to even earn. Perhaps that is why it is called genetic lottery!

Women are groomed, to find suitable cartoons ermm grooms.

Women are groomed to look and act in a particular way, knowing fully well that those are the factors considered most in the marriage above even being a good person and education. For how much can you tell about a person in the couple of meetings that take place before the marriage? Instead of laughing on all the wife jokes, shouldn't men try to get to know the person they are going to marry, to try to find a person whom they like for their nature and intelligence rather than looks that will definitely fade away?

But this tool of judging is flawed because it categorises us as one thing or the other. I know this about myself, how I look depends entirely on my mood. I go downstairs to fetch my daughter in pajamas and t-shirt but like to dress up when going out with my family or friends.

For many years before that I was a nerd and didn't care much about how I looked. I would walk around with my glasses and untrimmed eyebrows, I didn't like that it hurt so much to get those eyebrows done. Also I thought it was no one's business! But those were different times. No really! You might think it's a cliché to say that the past was simpler than the present. Possibly because we remember only the good things about the past and we only remember the complications of the present. While that is partly true, it cannot be denied that in this era of consumerism looks do define us more than it did in the past.

But if I ever did groom myself I would be taunted by some aunt or a neighbour who would say something like, "Who are you dressing up for? Why do unmarried girls spend so much time on looks?" It was almost a "Life Comes Full Circle" moment for me when this happened recently. The same person who used to pass remarks for my interest in appearance, said "Were you so busy that you didn't even have time to trim your eyebrows?"

There are numerous movements online that question this trend but it hardly seems to make a difference to people around us. All those beautiful things that we are taught in the books about beauty being skin deep and smile being the best accessory stay on the timeline of a social networks!

Believe it or not this shallow tool of judging is something of an evolutionary flaw which makes us think that by associating with a good looking person we are part of the privilege. So instead of feeling guilty let's blame it on our genes!

Although I have thought about these things in the past, what triggered me to express myself is this. “I’m breaking stereotypes based on appearance by sharing my experience for the #IAmCapable activity at BlogAdda in association with Nihar Naturals.”

a. 69% of men agree that their judgement of women is based on their looks.
b. 64% of women agree that the judgments passed on them have affected their ability to reach their true potential.
c. 70%of women agree that majority of judgments on women are from family members or friends rather than strangers.
d. 72% of women agree that working women face more judgments on their looks or their clothes than housewives.