Marathi actor Sonali Kulkarni recently called women lazy for wishing for a husband who has a good income and house, while they themselves have no career ambitions and goals. Her statement on calling out toxic feminism got mixed reactions from people on the internet.
The actor pointed out how many women demand their husbands to earn better while they themselves are financially dependent. She emphasised encouraging women to become financially capable and support their husbands with household expenses. She also pointed out the pressure on men to take responsibility for the house and expenses at a young age while women are not obligated to such responsibilities. She reportedly said that men should not be the only ones responsible for paying bills and that’s what true gender equality is. While some people online found it encouraging that she called out the toxic feminism while others slammed her for putting down women like that.
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Sonali Kulkarni Calls Women Lazy
The points that the actor put forward are not completely wrong or right. It is true that society puts immense pressure on men to earn for the family while women are expected to stay at home and look after the house. But we should not forget that these are two different ways that patriarchy affects men and women in society, it does not allow one to be independent and the other it forces to be responsible. The conditioning of society and the toxic notions are what create this difference in roles. Kulkarni doesn’t get to blame women entirely. You can call women lazy, but one needs to tell Kulkarni, who made women lazy. Society! Patriarchy! Social Conditioning!
Society has always told women that they need to look beautiful and find a good-earning man to lead a happy life. Even when they want to work, they are not always allowed to do so, often it is their husbands who want them not to work which is bound to increase their financial responsibilities. Women are treated badly because they are earning. Female employment still lacks acceptance from several sections of society. In a modern world with increasing expenses, it becomes necessary for men and women to share the workload, whether it is the household chores or earning money. So calling women lazy for a thing like a career which often is not their own choice is wrong. India is progressing towards a country of working women but we should not forget that restrictions still exist.
Let’s think this way, like men, if women were constantly asked – What are your future plans? What career do you want? What will be the income source for life? Will you be able to provide for your family? Don’t you think, having a job or a strong financial situation would have been on their mind? No! Society won’t do that, they will keep women busy helping their mothers, attending weddings, and buying clothes and make-up. Now tell me, wouldn’t they be lazy? Laziness is not deniable, that is just the effect of the society-induced cause.
It would have been commendable if Kulkarni would have pointed out how little to no contribution men have in raising children and looking after the family. Society calls them responsible if they are not emotionally available for their family and working long shifts even if it means having bad mental health and their wives forgetting their own life while managing the family. Not to forget, homemaker is a challenging job in itself that goes unpaid, calling women who don’t work lazy is demeaning homemakers who do unpaid labour just because they weren’t educated enough to work or not allowed to work or simply didn’t choose to work after marriage. Also, Kulkarni carved a privileged life for herself, is it the case for all women? Household chores are not less than full-time work, and a lazy person won’t be able to do them. So can we say women are not lazy, just they don’t fit your definition of pro-activeness?
Sharing financial and family responsibilities among couples is the need of the hour. If a man feels like the financial load is too much, he should have an honest and healthy conversation with his wife. The wife will definitely try to figure a way out because that’s how healthy relationships work. The same goes for men taking responsibility for household chores. Communication matters when it comes to issues like this. People should understand that women are raised to be homemakers while men are raised to be breadwinners which is problematic and toxic but it is an issue with society, not with men or women in general.
Though Kulkarni’s points were right, they can be called incomplete and her generalisation of women seemed wrong to many people. She presented one point of view while omitting other perspectives and conditions of working women in India. Not to forget, there are many women in India working hard and earning for their families, providing financial as well as emotional support. It is important to understand that equality is not about men and women calling each other out, it is about supporting each other and sharing responsibilities because it is a fight against patriarchy and not each other.