Dear Men, Feminism Needs To Come To Our Homes & Kitchens Too
Ask any woke man today, whether or not he believes in equality and he will nod his head in agreement enthusiastically. Ask the same man if he would then opt for a partner who won’t clean up after him, do the dishes and fold his laundry, and that head shake would stop midway. This is a problem that many feminist women face today.
The belief in equality among most men is subjective to their convenience. They believe that women deserve equal rights, pay parity and a safe society. But when the question of giving up male privilege within the walls of their homes arises, most backtrack on their word.
- The belief in equality among most men is subjective to their convenience.
- They do believe genuinely that women deserve equal rights, pay parity and a safe society.
- However, on the question of giving up male privilege within the walls of their homes, most backtrack on their words.
- Especially in Indian society, where privilege not only means relief from household duties, but also a higher status, men find it hard to practice their feminist beliefs.
Men do believe that women deserve equal rights, pay parity and a safe society. However, on the question of giving up male privilege within the walls of their homes, most backtrack on their word.
According to a study published earlier this year in American Sociological Review, participating men and women between ages 18 to 32 had egalitarian attitudes about gender roles, across education and income levels. But when faced with a lack of family-friendly policies, most fell back on traditional roles. Which means that with matrimony and parenthood, it becomes difficult for most men to continue practising equality in their households. They tend to fall into old habits, which eventually means that women are stuck with the role of being homemakers, whether or not they are employed.
And in Indian society, where privilege not only means relief from household duties, but also a higher status, men find it hard to practice their feminist beliefs post marriage. For many men, it is okay if a wife works after marriage, or having a baby, but then she must come home and perform the majority of household chores by herself. She must at least obey him in front of his peers and parents and respect him. She must let him retain his superior position, bestowed on him by our patriarchal set-up, among the two of them, be it to pamper his ego or out of social pressure.
With matrimony and parenthood, it becomes difficult for most men to continue practising equality in their households.
Women bear children and are “naturally” better caregivers. Thus, they must embrace motherhood and matrimony and put their ambitions on the back seat. The social pressure of sticking to the roles assigned to them also plays a big role. Many men simply get fed up of nagging relatives and parents, or goading from friends. They fall back in traditional roles just to escape the annoyance. Another common excuse is that women are physically weaker than men, so it would be tougher for them to survive or struggle in the outside world. Hence, they should rather take care of duties inside the house and let them tackle the outside world.
Men often forget that the society we live was designed to favour them. If women have it difficult outside of homes, then it is because their surroundings are hostile towards them. The roadblock to ushering in feminism in our homes is men’s resistance to giving up their upbringing. To unlearn what all they’ve been taught since childhood and challenge patriarchy by putting their male ego aside. So what we’ve ended up with is a crop of seasonal feminists. Who are comfortable endorsing feminism because that is what their modern sensitized surroundings tells them is right.
We’ve ended up with a crop of men who are seasonal feminists.
Women need to take a firm stand today and refuse to adjust when male partners fall back into old habits. No one ever said that tackling patriarchy and striving for gender equality was going to be easy. Ironically, the biggest battles we fight aren’t in offices or buses or schools, but in our very own homes. That too with the person we love the most. However, we need to keep motivating men in our life to practice equality at home, and not to give in to the comfort of old habits. We will never be able to change the ways of our society if we keep resorting to old ways just to have an easy way out.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.