What the Gender!

Written By

Vinisha Gupta

Gender stereotyping Loading

Rohit, can you please make some soup for both of us?” I shouted from the living room. “Sure”, he replied. My newly hired house help, Sabita, who was arranging the washed utensils, looked at me with an aghast expression on her face. I could not understand the reason for that look though. I just calmed the little pocket bomb in me and forgot about what just happened.

The next afternoon, when Sabita and I were alone in the kitchen, she said, “Didi, can I ask you something, if you won’t get angry?

Without thinking, I said “Of course! Shoot!“.

She said, “Not only do you call your husband by his name, but you also ask him to cook!?. Don’t you think that’s absurd? You are a married woman. You should respect your husband!”.

I smiled and said, “Though you are a bit new to ask such questions, nevertheless, I’ll answer it for you. If I call him by his name, by no means am I disrespecting him. And, if he helps me with the cooking and household chores, it doesn’t make him any less of a man. We are equal partners, of same age, equally educated and working for an equal no of hours. So, tell me what makes him superior to me?”

We left it at that and she apologised for having asked me the question. I made a cup of tea to ease the situation between us.

At dinner later that day, I told Rohit about my conversation with Sabita. He found it rather hilarious. “It’s not really funny“, I said. “She is either very traditional or not highly educated to have such opinions. However, I have faced eerie scans by people we know when I call you by your name, or if you do something that was expected to be done by me. These people would probably be more educated than our maid. People openly question the sort of a wife I am since I call you by your name. I have always ignored these comments. But truly, I fail to understand, is it still such a taboo in our society when a wife calls out to her husband by his name in the presence of others?”

As I continue to mull on the topic, I find it amusing that in today’s world when both partners are walking shoulder to shoulder, such a population still exists with such a narrow thought process. Sabita is one of those women earning more than her husband. Money, in that segment of society, is the one that defines respect. Yet, she places her husband above herself and it is mandated that she shouldn’t be calling him with deference. I thought this thought process would probably be inherited by her kids too. I mean we, the women of today have to break this stereotypical thinking, be it Sabita or me, for that matter. We can’t blindly do things that do not make any sense any more. We have to pass on a better and an equal society to the future generations, not the one filled with rules based on gender discrimination. Sometimes, I can’t believe my ears when I overhear thoughts or conversation about the husband/son/son in law being treated differently as compared to the wife/daughter/daughter in law. But yes, the discrimination still does very much exists. Frankly, I have never heard a ‘ji’ following the daughter in law’s name. However, I have seen households where the son in law has the name followed by a “ji”. How unfair is that!.

As the world becomes rounder and more connected, people travel across the world and experience different cultures and on an average, more people are educated. Opening up our hearts and minds to science and different ways of life should ideally encourage us to question practices that are made to either demean a person, or have no logical basis. Hopefully, the world will be able to convince people who still feel a man is more important than a woman’s – after all, one can’t exist without another!

Let’s preach, teach and spread equality – at least in the little world around us.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vinisha, 30 aspires to leave a mark on this world (of course, a positive one) before turning into ashes. She is an avid reader and a blogger. Her husband is her biggest motivation who always encourages her to keep smiling .Writing is a form of meditation to her and she loves to write a lot about women in form of short stories, poetry or just a small write up. Her love for penguins has grown over the past few years which has added a new dream in her wish list to see the penguins live one day.

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