#Personal Stories

Emotional Labour: What is the cost?

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All over the globe, construction work is a paid and secure job. Often it requires a rigorous degree and proper certification to be a part of. However, have you seen an unpaid construction worker struggling overtime? Well, it is not very tough. We just have to go to the mirror in our houses. There we can find an excellent display of tireless, overloaded Bob-The-Builder-Syndrome.

1.What is the Syndrome?

Since ancient division of labour, women were given the responsibility to cook, clean and cater for family members emotionally. This is where we are scammed out of our wits. Even Harshad Mehta 1992 cannot oust this scheme.

If we could go to the local superstore and say, “30 packs of unsweetened patience for the week Bhaiya, pack kardijiye. No, I am taking the regular unpaid therapist discount. Theek-Theek Laga Lo.” – Things would have been different. I would not be complaining. You would not be reading this. There would be absolutely no reason to write this piece. I could simply sip my coffee with stability powder and you could probably take a tolerance milkshake. Since we are not the Mumbai IPL Team, this cannot happen.  

2.What is the problem with this Syndrome?

But since our emotions are real, valid and almost guide our every action and intention, we have absolutely nowhere to go except help buy our therapist a new flat. Isn’t it strange? Every labor in the state has a price, except for emotional labor. There is no currency to determine the energy a mother puts in caring for a baby. Absolutely no dollar made to realise the work an average girlfriend does in putting up with a toxic relationship. Where do we find a nickel to discover the effort a daughter puts up with her conservative family? Is there a Yen or maybe a Euro to calculate the attempts a sister makes to ignore the special privileges of her brother and to love him despite that? 

Every relationship a woman undergoes in India expects her to build the blocks of the relationship and save it when the time comes. A woman who is dutiful and good-natured must sacrifice her own pleasure. Along with vegetables, she must chop her dreams. With spices, she must shred her self-esteem. After washing clothes, she must wash and rinse her individuality. She must put forward the greater needs of the family or the husband or the boyfriend or the father or even God. And the most challenging part of this logic is the irrational euphoria and boost of righteousness a woman gets after doing these tasks.

Throwing away one’s career for a drowning marriage, burning self-esteem to drag a toxic relationship, gulping mental health issues to have a family are just some of the many self-sabotaging things society makes us do to feel good about ourselves. 

3.How does this Syndrome affect us?

Our identity has become so dependent that without our relationships we do not have a name. If we are not someone’s daughter or mother or someone’s sister or wife, who are we? Why are we this eternal lake of compassion and sacrifice? The spine of the relationship?

In return except the unreasonable parallels of a woman with earth, nature, India, we do not even get equal pay. We do not need this symbolic glorification. It is only perfunctory and selfish so that we keep serving the society without thinking twice. No woman is interested in being Mother India. We are just interested in being humans, for once. Satan must never come to look for a soul in Indian women because he will have to leave empty-handed. Thanks to the soul-sucking jobs of caring for relationships not even treating us well half the time. This unbalanced see-saw of relationships and sacrifices is the reason why we have societally induced ourselves with Bob-The-Builder Syndrome- destroying ourselves to build relationships. How ironic is it, isn’t it? 

Views expressed are author’s own

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