Of Labels and Branding..

Started to write a comment on IHM’s latest post, when it turned into this post I just love to rant about the labels that get assigned to all of us – not just women. Our society has so many of those ‘labels’ and expectations that IHM talks about in her post.

When I was young, I used to be under a lot of pressure from my mother to behave like a ‘lady’. Thankfully, my dad was wonderful – he just let me be. So I never learnt to cook(there is a big question mark on that even now) until much, much later, but that never really mattered. The only thing that my dad demanded of me was excellance in whatever I did and this is what I would want for my daughter as well. However, all around me, I used to see instances of girls being taught to cook, sew and knit – so that they do not face problems later – when they were married! Of course, even if you are a top performer at school, you need to learn how to be a ‘good girl’ too. And the rules were all different for boys – they ‘need’ to concentrate on studies – why should they be distracted by any household activity? After all, they would finally get a ready made maid in the form of a ‘bride’??????

Even today, it absolutely gets my goat, when I hear women ask men to eat ‘garam garam rotis‘, and what about us women? Well we will just eat after they have – so that they get to eat it hot!!! At our place, we always try to eat together – but I come across this all the time. One time, we had a get together with my husband’s colleagues, all of whose wives were stay-at-home mums and I used to be working at that time. The women decided that the men should eat first because ‘ they must be tired after all their hard work’!!! Hello??? I am working too – and I was pregnant too at that time! Nobody even bothered – because as a women – I probably don’t count! While, I am not saying that I wanted special treatment – why do we women try to treat men as extra-special!!!
And most importantly ‘Why do they deride their own work, their own contribution? Isn’t what they do hard work????’
All through that dinner, my poor husband did not know what to do – he knew that I was close to blowing up 🙂 And these were all educated, well aware women, who did not think twice before re-inforcing such traditions. What will their daughters and sons learn? More and more as I see all this, I am convinced that women are women’s worst enemies!

The most regressive family dramas on Indian Television has been the brain child of a woman – Ekta Kapoor!

One of our maids, did not feed her daughter for the first 2 weeks after her birth – because she wanted a boy!

Don’t women play and equal and powerful role in dowry deaths and female foeticides?

And have you been to parties where the men, sit in one room, and the women in another? Why? Why can’t we all socialise?

There used to be a senior of mine at school. Her family were also friends of mine. Now, this girl was brilliant, she was great at studies, she topped nearly every exam she took, but her father made her marry a guy who was far less educated, didnot even have a job that could take care of a family, not her equal in any way – just because he was worried that if she gets too old, it would be difficult to get her ‘married’. Last I heard, she stays with her in-laws, and he works somewhere else. They can’t live together , because he does not have a good enough job, to be able to support her and their child! Is this worth it? Could she, not have had, a chance of a better, more fulfilling life, if it had not been for her father’s narrowminded views? And how, could a girl like her go along with it?

The other day, I read somewhere that women who love their husbands do the ‘Karva Chauth Puja‘! And this was a woman’s words, mind you! I do not do fasts, of any kind! – does that mean that I love my husband any less? Here, again, I think, we have Ekta Kapoor to blame, who has glamourised every single regressive tradition!

And the labelling is not just limited to women. I know of parents who get upset if their little boy shows more interest in dolls than in cars. I had always believed that the toys we give the children make the difference to what the child takes to. Unfortunately, my daughter made me eat my words. I had always tried to give her a balanced mix of toys, until she got a little toy baby for her first birthday. The label said it was for children aged 3+ , so I was putting it away for later, when my daughter grabbed it and has never given it up since. She takes better care of her ‘baby’ than I suspect, I do of her 🙂 Guess, that’s her personality, and if that’s what she is like, then that’s what she should be ! I will not make her change one way or the other – she should be allowed to be ‘her’ – whatever that may be!

I’ve been ranting, but this is something that always got me going.. Also, on a last note – I just read that Russell Crowe knits!!! Now thats what we need 🙂 As somebody said, ‘When a men do something its an art and when women do the same, it gets relegated to a craft’