We as a country are in a state of a complete lockdown, and I have a concern. A lockdown means that the world, the community at large has pretty much come to a standstill. Schools, colleges, offices, malls, cinema halls, everything is shut and will probably remain like this for some time now. This means that no one can go anywhere and has to stay put at home. So what do they do? What are the options? Thankfully there are many options, especially considering the times we are in. Due to internet life isn’t that bad. People have access to a host of entertainment options like movies, shows, books, games, classes and whatnot. Additionally, this time can be utilized by people to be with their families, with themselves, invest in themselves. So a lot of time to think, reflect and learn.
But although the world is at a standstill, life at home isn’t. On the contrary, it is busier than ever before.
For one, all the family members are at home and all the time, which was a rarity before this lockdown. This implies that there is more work in the house in terms of cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, sourcing groceries, and mind you there is no help in terms of staff. And coupled with the stress, anxiety and fear of the times the situation is a challenge. So as a family, the times are difficult and unprecedented.
As I understand when the situation demands, the whole community, the entire family needs to rise to the occasion and take up the challenge. The entire family means the husband, the wife and the children. Everyone has to get used to this new way of living, of co-existing which could involve several things in terms of handling chores in the house, picking up skills which till now were not that important. It could range from making beds, cleaning bathrooms, dusting the house and learning how to cook, an endless list of things.
Also, this is a time where there is all the more reason for the mindsets to change, for tasks to get divided and work to get split between different family members. As they say, every challenge presents an opportunity. So this is an opportunity to pick up some skills around the house and make oneself useful.
Therefore in this scenario, when you get a message on What’s app urging everyone to thank the lady of the house, to clap for her what exactly are we trying to do. Forgive my over imagination, but by doing this are we not trying to reinforce the thought, the belief, the practice that the house and its running is the responsibility of the woman and no one else. Are we not advocating, promoting and applauding this view?
I understand that even in today’s day and age, in large sections of our society, the view that the house is the domain and therefore, the sole responsibility of the woman is widely prevalent. And because of that in today’s scenario, the homemakers are under tremendous pressure, having to take charge of every possible household chore with no break whatsoever. And what about the others in the house? Well, they are perhaps twiddling their thumbs, getting bored out of their minds with nothing to do. So what stops them from getting up and helping? The mindset, the laziness, what? The reason is not important, what is important and is the need of the hour is to motivate, guide, counsel people in the house to get up and help. It is not the time to send these (to my mind) regressive and outdated messages.
And then has anyone thought about those women who are working from home and also coping up with all the mayhem at home. Isn’t it like a double whammy for them? On the one hand, there is no respite from work pressures, and on the other hand, there is the added pressure at home. Is it a fair situation? Definitely not. At work, there is gender equality in terms of quantity and quality. So why not at home?
I am not saying that attitude is the same everywhere, but it is most prevalent and needs to be checked and curtailed. Therefore rather than urging people to clap for women and all their effort, this is the time to push, cajole, encourage people to practice what we love to preach. Teach gender equality. Do not clap for women, clap for those who are willing to break the stereotype and embrace a new way of life, of thinking.
When you do that you are actually applauding and empowering women, you are supporting them, helping them in their endeavour to break the shackles, to step out of their homes with a freer and positive mindset. That is what you need to do and not send these mindless messages.