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Disclaimer: The following article is a passionate expression of ideas about a specific yet very important situation, and the subject targeted is a specific group of the population and does NOT represent the population as a whole. Read at your own discretion and only if you have the broad-mindedness to bear it.
So let’s address the issue of equality. I think some men are still pissy over having to acknowledge women’s rights, acting as if it was something they bestowed begrudgingly on women. Ask the opinion of any man, yes even my usually open-minded social science teacher who has years of education, understanding and observed our community at length. A lot of them hold the opinion that women have it easy and its poor men who are suffering, you know working EIGHT HOURS FIVE DAYS A WEEK, compared to the free, limitless hours of women’s responsibility and duty that men impose on them, no matter the women’s circumstances.
And the jerks even go to such frickin’ lengths as to justify the women’s role in the house by comparing (read insulting) her to the rest of the women in mohallas, never minding the fact how well those other women are maintained by their husbands, the number of maids they have at their disposal, their ease and willingness at being a housewife (having received no education in most cases, happily prepared for marriage their entire lives that that becomes their entire being, their entire life, and identity).
But what if the woman who was brought up independent, educated, cared for by her parents? What if the woman who dreamt big and whose parents supported those dreams? What do you do when you see such a woman striving for her career? If you are well educated, refined, understanding and support her- kudos to you. I wish there were more of your species like you.
But sadly there aren’t, and what really happens is that these small-minded men with their twisted concepts of masculinity trample on such women. They can’t see her grow. They can’t see her progress in life, they can’t let her study, have a job, build a business, make her own money. They’ll be the shackles in her feet. They start putting her down in several small ways, a snide remark, a hateful comment, labeling her, degrading her.
The only job most men feel remotely comfortable with their wives having it is teaching, that too because she leaves around the same time they do, spends whole day among kids, in a very female-dominated work sphere, returns home with the kids hours before husband is due to return and cooks, cleans, manages children and their homework plus her own work-related stuff.
The husband arrives at six or seven, OBVIOUSLY BONE TIRED, a cup of hot tea must be ready before he reaches the couch and proceeds to be a couch potato for the next two or so hours. He is not to be disturbed at all, everyone “shhhhh”, daddy’s having his mind relaxed by watching those TV shows where it’s everyone’s favorite thing to cut each other off and yell at the top of their voices repeating the same frickin’ sentence in the same frickin’ order.
Daddy doesn’t care where the kids are, he only sees them at dinner, talks to them if by some miracle he doesn’t happen to be watching a news show or sports match, otherwise, it’s deathly quiet at the dinner table as well. Daddy sleeps the whole weekend, wakes up only to take care of his official business. No outing, no time for kids. Then they take pride in their successful, brilliant kids with stellar report cards. I wonder if the kids of separated couples are really that much worse off.
Now consider this: The wife’s sick, unable to cook those scrumptious buffet meals she magically whips up every single day. The husband comes home and is greeted with leftovers. His response: “What the hell do you do the entire day? Ghar beth ke soti rehti ho?” Yeah right. As if your kids are cactus that grow up with no tending, the house that used to be a trash can when you were a bachelor is now magically shining. Nope. A wife does nothing. She waves her wand once, POOF everything is magically done, then leans back on the couch, feet up, flicking through channels (Hint: That’s your forte, Mister Husband. She can never rival you).
And of course, men MUST have their night out. Be it once a week or every day they gotta have it otherwise you know their blood sugar is going drop and they are going to have serious health consequences. Their social life is extremely important. Whereas, the woman’s social circle is only as large as the number of kids she has. A visit to her parents is a treat, to be indulged in three to four hours every Saturday or Sunday if the time exceeds that Mister Husband starts calling her.
She must return to her ‘duties’. It’s a scandal if she even tries to go somewhere else, an evening out by herself to relax. Nope, she’s a woman and her place is by the hearth (or the stove in our modern times, although the mentality is still prehistoric) but the man must have his night out with the rest of the equally useless dudes.
AND of course, let’s not forget religion. This picks and chooses between religion is the most infuriating thing. Yes, the Ummahat ul Momineen were graceful, shameful, supportive and quiet ladies, who probably stayed at home most of the times ( A misconception I believe. They accompanied them on wars, tended to the wounded and sick, but who bothers to see the whole picture these days?).
BUT before you start dishing out examples from their lives just hold on a moment and think the kind of husbands the Holy Prophet (SAW) and Sahaba (RA) were. Not domineering, commanding but gentle and caring. Haven’t you read how affectionate he was with Aisha (RA)? How he helped out with household chores and mended his own stuff himself? No, they only remember Islam when it’s to fool around with the idea of marrying four women when they can’t even provide for one, and when it comes to oppressing the successful career woman in a passive-aggressive way.
And it’s not just those particular men with that mentality in the role of husbands who are like that. It is just them everywhere. On the roads, when they see a female driver they puff up their chests like baboons and proceed to ridicule and tutor female drivers on their driving when most of the accidents that take place are bike accidents and as far as I know, women in our country rarely if ever, drive bikes. In the workplaces, men strut about as if they own the place and have more say and are better than the females and women workers are left feeling uncomfortable due to such attitudes (varies wildly).
These men make fun of a woman when she buys makeup and fusses over clothes, yet these same dudes are the ones dropping dead when a gorgeous woman passes by and wouldn’t pay attention to the plainly dressed girl, even though she may be really intelligent and successful. I have personally seen such guys who mock women for their attempts to look nice and yet ‘appreciate’ well-dressed women when they are among their mates. Or maybe appreciate is a bit too soft a word here?
Now, let me define what I term “Mechanic mentality” (a very prevalent phenomenon of our society): the idea (usually among young boys) that education is useless and it’s better to get earning at once; quitting school in grade 9th or 10th and helping Abba or getting hired by the mohalla’s mechanic shop where you get instant gratification of money while you spend your nights your way and all this time the girls of your cohort learn and get into universities and probably enter professional life.
Then comes the time comes when parents start looking for rishtas, and in a stupid haste, betroth them to what they deem a “suitable” homo sapien with the Y chromosome and ZERO consideration of their actual compatibility (so much to be said on that topic, but it’s a story for another day). Due to an abundance of mechanic mentality, the quotas for them are really high and those unlucky girls get tied to one of these guys and doomed to a life of gol rotis and misery in general, and voila you have the recipe for a generation disaster, works even better than a world war.
It comes down to this: Feminism. A concept still very much needed. Maybe the western countries have succeeded in accepting equal rights for women but in most eastern countries we still need it desperately. And what’s really exasperating is the fact that these anti-feminists have managed to drag the sanctity of the idea of femininity through so much dirt that now people are very cautious when using it.
Feminism is NOT being anti-men. That’s wrong and biased and very generalized because we do realize that part of the success of feminist movements comes from those strong, supportive and understanding men who stood by women during the various Feminist movements throughout history and still do so. Feminism is simply women demanding their lawful and very logical rights. And it’s a win-win situation for all if you think about it.
Women are the mothers, and their upbringing and mentality is the biggest factor in determining how the next generation will turn out to be. However, old habits (and mentality) die hard and we still have a long long way to go when even learned people like a learned professor cannot accept the idea of women being equals.So, nevermind the mechanic mentality of the rest of the population.
What’s needed right now is an education of women. Yes, you read it right, women. Because from what I have noticed is it’s also women who play a role in ensuring we’re still stuck in the same atrocious cycle ( hint: think of some of the mothers-in-law you may have observed). Some women are aware but the percentage is still less. They need to understand that these ideas of hegemony are actually detrimental to their own well-being, for instance, the way some women value their sons over their daughters.
When all the women have an understanding of their rights and how to achieve them, you can be sure they will teach their sons to respect women and to be supportive of them, and that will be way more effective than instead of only hammering these ideas in the men of our society. Educate women, keeping their backgrounds and beliefs in mind and tailoring their education as such, and we may one day have a world that’s as fulfilling and comfortable for women as it is for men.