Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Save the Indian (male) child

This isn't exactly a feminist tirade, but this is written by a woman, and it is written in annoyance.

You raise your girls to be sweet, strong, and independent. (Wise parents teach their children to listen to opinions and discard or heed accordingly. The other ones just teach their kids to bullshit everything that everyone says. Still others bring up girls to be on guard and forget that spine so that everyone thinks well of them. I am not sure which is worse, but I detest people shoving their opinions down other people's throats in a show of liberation, so I'll lean towards the former. But only slightly.)

As the gender construct of being a 'female' is pushed even further, you teach your daughter complicated activities – driving, perhaps, sending them off away from home, wearing a sari (those freaking pleats!), cooking and de-veining prawns for added advantage.

At the end of that, you have a person who genuinely dislikes blending into anything, doesn't like being taken for granted, upholds the notion of having a personality, finds other people’s egos onerous, has her opinions and is sometimes, irritatingly dogmatic about them, and is not pleasant. People who know their minds and speak them aren’t always that.


Now, where are the men to handle these women? Where do the parents teach their sons that their wives are people in their own right, that they may have very sharp differences about important things, and they won’t always be nice and soft-spoken? Why are the sons not taught to see and understand the extra mile a woman has to go through while getting married? After all, leaving behind one’s family, friends, almost an entire lifetime spent in a particular mould – can’t be easy. It is human to resent it once in a while. It is human to wonder if it is being worth it. Why aren’t men taught to be mature enough to confront that?

I’m not even talking about the working-woman syndrome. From what I’ve seen around me, men are definitely much more willing to help around the house than before. And they genuinely seem to be happy if their wives earn more than them. So that’s nice.

But…

Why do they not understand the million little things a woman gives up during the marriage? (No, I don’t know the sacrifices a man makes – and please, fewer evening-outs with friends is not a SACRIFICE.) Not having a support system in a new place is a sacrifice. The pressure of finding a job in a new place after a break is a sacrifice. Relinquishing all comfort of familiarity in the trust of someone else is a sacrifice.

I think it is quite the norm now that when the girl goes to her husband’s house, her parents tell her that if anything goes wrong, she can chuck it all up and come back to them. But I don’t think the sons understand that yet. Somewhere down the line, it has not quite sunk in that the exit option for girls is strong as well.

Why don’t the men understand that for a woman who has been earning her bread, it is difficult to ask her husband for money until she gets a job? (And getting a good job is difficult and takes time.) If a woman hasn’t asked her parents for extra cash to get along, then going to her husband won’t be a blithe transition. It’s not the ego.

Why is it difficult to appreciate that not all women take to the fact that her husband’s friends will be her friends?’ (Personally, I detest that mindset. Hell. I will make friends with the pigeons if I have to, and not just simply tag along like a stupid accessory to all dos. Rubbish nonsense, I tell you.)

Why is it difficult to get it in the head that when you develop a sense of self, you will have these questions? You will have these doubts. And what is expected of the man is some intelligent sensitivity. A little silence when he actually walks a mile in his partner’s shoes and sees things from her point of view.

While we have been focusing on our girl-children, we have neglected our boys. They just aren’t ready to handle who they’ll be with.

One day, Anumita and I were discussing how much fun it is to have baby girls. Cute frocks and little bows and pink drapes in the nursery, her cute passport photograph on her graduation day, smart pants for her first job, etc. etc.

And Chandrika, ever our voice of reason told us, that today it is just as important to have a son and bring him up well – the kind of man we would want our daughters to marry.

She said it.

54 comments:

Thanu said...

such a great post. When parents teach their gals to be independent, they need to teach their sons to accept independant girls.

Nandya said...

i agree ...:)

strong, stubborn, pig headed...and we men are out of sorts on how to handle them....:)))

Jayesh said...

Well you can check a similar thread on http://booletpoint.blogspot.com/2006/09/era-of-fragile-reasoning.html

The Indian male is going through a learning curve that is time consuming to say the least.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Came here from desipundit. Beautiful post. Some things have changed, as you said. Men are becoming more pro-active in partaking daily chores, for eg. Even then, I see other women praise such a guy to the skies. When he's not really doing anything extraordinary- he's just doing his share!

Anyway, that was a tangential rant. Very well written this post was.

Caffeinism said...

I agree! Bringing up sons so that they can cope with the woman of today is very important...I guess for this the mothers will first need to develop a little spine and set the example...

Anonymous said...

hmm.......I am sure 'the other one' is also going through similar thoughts.

Why dont they...
Why cant they understand that...

funny!

shub said...

:) true true true!!
and what about the loss of independence?!

Anonymous said...

Wow - it seemed as if I was reading my own thoughts. What amuses me is how the Indian male (I don't know any other) uses the "learning curve" excuse for anything and everything: a. How long are Indian women supposed to wait for the Indian male to catch up? (that leads to another provocative question - does it mean that the Indian male is accepting that Indian females are ahead of him now?) b. why is it that the Indian married woman rarely is given the benefit of the "learning curve" at her in-laws' / husband's home? c. Indian male(s) are conquering the world of business rapidly since the liberalisation of the economy - but they need the "learning curve" to understand their spouses????

abhinav said...

Such angst. The answer maybe stated in one line, " Do to others as others may do to you". Not very original, na. But it solves almost every conflict.

A few specific points to pick, the whole concept of woman leaving her home/cocoon to go to some alien home which is surrounded by some temporay and permanent monsters of in laws, husband's friends etc is increasingly irrelevant. It is fairly unusual that the guy's chaddi friends with whom he used used to booze at no-so-polite places at all times of the day is living right next to his house. His parents also probably live in some sleepy town, as is amply clear from fact that parents of all coders and investment bankers dont live in the four metros.

So relinquishing comfort of familiarity is only a sacrifice for women. Living with a stranger who has opinions and is not pleasant is apparently super smooth for the guys.

Leziblogger said...

Good thought, Mukta.I do beg to differ on some counts. I think an argument isn't complete without the other side of the story.

This is a never-ending argument, though and no doubt a woman has to sacrifice lot more than a man does!However, some day, I might like to present the man's side of the story!

cheers!

Anonymous said...

talking as a lifetime chauvinist- how would one know what a girl thinks till she spells it out (and she never will spell it out). And hints, mood swings & loaded statements seldom, if ever, help.

talking as a friend - sometimes people just take someone they love for granted, you just need to hit em in the head for attention. Thats not a bad thing, it's life.

And Mukta, trust me boys night out is a eventually spent looking at the watch ever so often, exchanging hunted looks and rushing out of the door at 10 PM. Married guys love to be on a leash me thinks :)

(might I add that bachelorhood ROCKS!)

-da 2nd mistake

Anonymous said...

excellent post. But might I add that the young indian male is pampered by his mum? I have seen sons get away with blood murder (even girls too but I dont want to digress)

You raise your daughter to be strong and independent and yet you dote excessively on the son. And he ends up being a wimp unable to handle too much change. (in a LOT of cases)

Worse, once another strong independent woman enters his life and tells him she cant handle all his tantrums, he is caught and in a fix.

Phoenix said...

Really nice post..first time here but I'm really impressed...very well put most points

ram said...

Men who expect their women to be dependent on them learn such funny things from the example set by their parents. Or else why should a guy who values independence himself expect his wife to be dependent. So parents just have to set the right example and not teach the guy such funny stuff. If you have to teach him to be correct then you had done something wrong before that.

Faultless Wanderer said...

Surely, u r talking about what used to happen during the time of dinosaurs

DewdropDream said...

Bazng on Mukta!!! simply lucidly brilliant!!! this was lurking at the back of my mind.. but i wasn't able to put it across as succinctly as you did.... thanks a lot. And i do agree entirely, Indian males need to start learning how to handle the new age Indian women...

ranjit said...

And when on earth will girls realise that 90 % of the time they end up becoming another compartment in the life of the guy they marry ??? What about adding some value to his life instead of worrying about mundane things like 'new unfamiliar set up' , 'new job' etc.etc.. Come on ,its life.Nothing is for ever except change.
Both parties in a marriage are entering a new phase of their life.The bottomline is to add value to each other and not to start cribing with the usual female raga 'I am sacrificing so much ,wht have you done for me?'.It just sounds soo childish and naive to me.Life is not a give and take business buddy

umang said...

I don't think any sane male has a problem with independent females, it becomes a problem if independence leads to false , fragile and useless ego.. it's high time that we realise that this whole independence thing is not such a big deal..

Sharique said...

Just couldn't resist posting a comment here. Well I agree with most of your arguments about men. Acknowledge this fact as well that most men do it without realising their mistake because afterall they are males :) Similarly there are certain idiosyncrasies about women as well. I don't generalise this but what i have seen of a woman is that at times she can be individualistic and callous towards the needs of a man (same as man can be in forcing his diktat after marriage). I don't think the responsibility rests on the parents but it all depends on how someone's personality shapes up. There are men who are understanding and wouldn't force anything down a woman's throat.....you see it depends upon the individual....you really can't inculcate a certain nature in someone.

Anonymous said...

Hedonism in name of feminism - that's what this thread is all about! Me, myself, my needs and my feelings should be catered to, the rest can wait. Hehehe...

Mukta said...

Hi Thanu,

My point exactly.

Hi Nandya,

:-) Well, all the best.

Hey Jayesh,
Thanks for the link. Will check it out sometime.

Hi ipanema girl,

'Even then, I see other women praise such a guy to the skies. When he's not really doing anything extraordinary- he's just doing his share!' Hmm. Interesting insight.

Hi caffeinism,
(I love that picture, by the way. It's very neat!) I agree. One teaches by example.

Hi Anonymous,
Well, I hope so..what with the unexamined life not being worth living, etc. etc.

Hi Shub,
After a long time, I see! :-)

Hi Anon,
:-) What can I say? Except that yes, I concur.

Hi Abhinav,
I totally agree with you..that you do unto others as they may do unto you. But see, it's not about having terrible in-laws, etc. etc. You can have the perfect in-laws and a wonderful set-up every which way and yet have these doubts, na. Maybe men have their own sets of doubts too. I am sure they do. I don't claim that it is easier for guys, but in my opinion, things change a lot less for guys than it does for girls. I recognize it's not anybody's 'fault' but one does expect a little understanding. What's the point of being a human if one is devoid of empathy, right?

Hi lezi,
There is a very strong counter-argument. The most prominent one being 'life isn't a give and take business'. Well, it's an argument most often cited by those who take more and give less. Okay, maybe I am being cynical now. But, a little compassion never hurt anyone.

Hello second mistake,

'(might I add that bachelorhood ROCKS!)' - Developing a taste for sour grapes, eh? hee hee hee!

Hi Anon,
I think you're right.

Hi Phoenix,
Your first time here? I thought you'd dropped by before. Maybe it was some other phoenix.Nice pic thought. Very tattoo-like.

Hi Ram,
Yes..it begins at home.

Hi Faultless wanderer,
I wish I did. :-) And seriously, surely you don't believe that it happened only at the time of dinosaurs?

Hi Dewdopdream,
Hey! I emailed you.

Hello Ranjit,
You provide the counter-argument leziblogger was seeking. :-) "What about adding some value to his life instead of worrying about mundane things like 'new unfamiliar set up' , 'new job' etc.etc.. " They aren't mundane things. Sure that is life. Taking some time to understand and help someone through a period of transition is life too. Just as it is life to probably dismiss it all s useless. I don't think 'C'est la vie' always sums up the story, na.

Hi Umang,
True. Independence wouldn't be a big deal if everyone had it. But other than that, sure, i see your point. Egos never help.

Hi Sharique,

You know, I was just thinking about this - whether you can actually teach something like this to a child or they will grow up according to their basic nature. But upbringing does matter to a great extent. Kids will learn what they see.

Hi anonymous,
:-) Nope. It's not hedonistic to ask difficult questions once in a while. (Or all the time, in fact.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mukta,

Your post is right on target. You have put across your thoughts brilliantly. It is what every girl who is independent, individualistic goes through. I just wish men were a little more helpful and adjusting.

silverine said...

Wow!! Well written. Thanu gave me your link.
Guys looks up to their Dads when it comes to such matters. Let the Dads show the way and a lot will fall in place.
Great post!!!

Dadoji said...

Women! *sigh*

Oh well, I can now see what Dr. John Gray was on about. :-P

Anuradha said...

Great Post Mukta, a good perspective about a commonly known issue, hopefully some parents would be influenced to prepare their sons.

Robyn McMaster said...

Mukta, I enjoy the way you thoughtfully develop both sides! Without having both sons and daughters raised to value the other, rather than seeing one as "lesser than" you provide a means to create what is needed in today's world. Thanks for this very thoughtful approach.

prope//er said...

Now, where are the men to handle these women? Where do the parents teach their sons that their wives are people in their own right, that they may have very sharp differences about important things, and they won’t always be nice and soft-spoken?

---> Disagreement does not necessarily mean not being "nice and softspoken." Disagreement doesn't have to happen with fire and lightening all around you either. The thought process is kinda disturbing. Too much koolaid milady?



Why are the sons not taught to see and understand the extra mile a woman has to go through while getting married? After all, leaving behind one’s family, friends, almost an entire lifetime spent in a particular mould – can’t be easy.

---> Wait a minute, AFAIK, this is not a new thing. Irrespective of culture and nationality, men and women have had to leave their families and friends to make a life for themselves since time in memoriam. Now when the man and woman get out there to make a life for themselves, it is once again the man's fault? I learn something new everyday. Even worse, it has become increasingly fashionable to target the desi in general.



Why do they not understand the million little things a woman gives up during the marriage? (No, I don’t know the sacrifices a man makes – and please, fewer evening-outs with friends is not a SACRIFICE.) Not having a support system in a new place is a sacrifice. The pressure of finding a job in a new place after a break is a sacrifice. Relinquishing all comfort of familiarity in the trust of someone else is a sacrifice.

---> Uhh... hello... did I hear that the couple was married and stuff? Isn't it understood that when people get married, they might move around based on how they want to earn their livelihood? What exactly is new here? Looks like I am missing something. So, in your utopian world, let's see... the woman would be married but would not have to give up anything thereby, still maintain all connections and would not have to move anywhere. Now the guy would have to figure out a way to earn a livelihood which can only come next to the comfort level of the woman involved in terms of proximity to all things familiar and cozy.


Why is it difficult to appreciate that not all women take to the fact that her husband’s friends will be her friends?’ (Personally, I detest that mindset. Hell. I will make friends with the pigeons if I have to, and not just simply tag along like a stupid accessory to all dos. Rubbish nonsense, I tell you.)

Why is it difficult to get it in the head that when you develop a sense of self, you will have these questions? You will have these doubts. And what is expected of the man is some intelligent sensitivity. A little silence when he actually walks a mile in his partner’s shoes and sees things from her point of view.

---> Very valid rants, and oh by the way, it works both ways.

While we have been focusing on our girl-children, we have neglected our boys. They just aren’t ready to handle who they’ll be with.

---> Very true, please raise a bunch of men whom your daughters will grow to hate citing meek, docile, and almost sycophant like personalities.

Mukta said...

hi prop...

i have no idea what you are talking about. maybe that's not such a bad thing. :-)

prope//er said...

mukta,

do I know you? and what are you referring to when you say, maybe that's not such a bad thing. :-)

Pardon the spelling mistake, it is lightning and not lightening.

Welcome to rant-o-rama, "old rants in new media."

(I can almost hear the scraping of the barrel)

later
//

Mukta said...

again...i don't see your point. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

*can hear the gnashing of the teeth* :-D

prope//er said...

again...i don't see your point. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

---> Yes, it it's indeed true for people who can dish it out but can't take it.

*can hear the gnashing of the teeth* :-D

---> Naaah, I wouldn't waste the enamel on my teeth on people who "cut and run."

over-and-out
//

Mukta said...

nice to see you dropping by ever so often to let me know that you wouldn't waste you r time, etc. etc. :-D

prope//er said...

Enamel of the tooth is not the same as time. I don't think I ever said it was a waste of time etc., (kinda jumped the gun didn't ya?)

either way, the point is lost on you. Is this how you backup your argument? For pete's sakes, gimme a decent comeback will ya?

Oh wait, I forgot the smiley.
:)

later
//

Mukta said...

why decent comeback? don't you think you should get what you deserve? he he! :-) (in CAPS)

prope//er said...

Your juvenile antics aside, the scarcity of sense in your logic and dry debate is cause for grave concern. I don't even want to comment on the value system you will end up imparting to your sons.

Oh well, procreation is a law of nature. It is not your fault. I shall plead the fith now.

Mukta said...

Hi propeller,

and with that comment, you cinched it for me. :-)

All the best with your kids.

prope//er said...

and with that comment, you cinched it for me. :-)

Not the best response but this is a standard one amongst the assorted kind. Anyway, you get all defensive and skirt the issue when confronted. There wasn't a single word relating to "Save the Indian (male) child" in your responses. For your kind information, smugness can only take you so far.

Mukta said...

would unsolicited pschoanalysis take you farther?

and interestingly, why repeat something in the comments when it's been articulated in the post? After all, one can present an argument, not provide an understanding.

And true, smugness can take you only so far. We agree on something. :-)

Emm Gee said...

Mukta:

Interesting blog this.. but I am still looking for an answer to prop's comments. After about 10 back and forth comments, prop's valid questions haven't been answered yet.

Don't know if you care but it'd be interesting to see what your views are.

Mukta said...

Hi Emm,

See - perhaps if I could say what I said any differently, I would say it. But my stance remains the same. So, there's no point in countering condescension by repeating what I've already said. And I had responded to the first set of comments. I really have nothing more to add.

See, there are objective viewpoints and then there are personal opinions. This one is a personal opinion, based on what I have seen and observed. There are men with counter-viewpoints. They can articulate them as and when they feel like. If they do it here, I may choose to respond to that or not. Because, frankly, I have said what I had to say.

Emm Gee said...

Countering condescension... wow. I thought I had bumped into a mature person who can really communicate not dictate his/her viewpoints without an urge to listen to the other party.

Am not sure what medium these blogs would be categorized into, but it certainly feels like one way - my way or the highway kind of medium.

But as you said, its your road.. your show.. we were just onlookers and I stopped because I thought something about your show needed explanation. Guess I was wrong. :)

Mukta said...

:-)

something like that...

explanations will be ready when I work on my thesis.

asuph said...

Mukta,

This is a really well-written blog. I think it's very very relevant blog and I've already included it in my blog digest here

I was nodding through most of the blog, and I agree with a lot of what you're saying.

Off to read more.

-Amit

Ardra said...

Being a mother of two sons, I try to remember these aspects. Having said that, I hope and intend to remember these things myself when my sons get married...

Shiv said...

I guess this 2k7 we have lotsa blogs on this topic. Men and majority of indian men tend to think women are there at their service all the time!! But am not blaming all of them..I know many of my friends and relatives who treat women equally in all aspects..Hoping the new year and these posts bring about some revolution!!

Shiv said...

Came in thru a link in http://agelessbonding.blogspot.com/2007/01/eligible-but-unmarriable.html

Shiv said...

Have used ur link in my blog. Hope u dont mind!!

Anonymous said...

i totally don't agree. Seems this person has been either abused or is totally out of her mind. Wearing sari or drivn car is a complex task for you !!!!!!! from which place r u????

What do u mean by copin with women of today?? U mean like Mallika Sherawat woman???

Anonymous said...

i totally don't agree. Seems this person has been either abused or is totally out of her mind. Wearing sari or drivn car is a complex task for you !!!!!!! from which place r u????

What do u mean by copin with women of today?? U mean like Mallika Sherawat woman???

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that Indian woman are not walking the talk. Not advocating indian men's behaviour or position but nothing speaks louder than action. Indian women are still scared of social taboos. Indian society would be served far better by action rather than talk.

Anonymous said...

Ah! couldn't read your post any further the moment you said wearing saree and driving car is complex.

Such signs I normally seen in a woman who is of past but demands everything around her to be of Today. I really think its nothing wrong in finding driving a difficult skill - Just accept your feminine side and appreciate it. Don't start detesting instead.

Women liberalisation doesn't take you anywhere. Men and women need each other in harmony. Smartness is always in having the opposite sex on your side silently with all respect. Luckily God has given women such skills inherently.

New generations of Indian Men are taking it well. If people around you aren't ...Now is the time for you to change.. not others.

Secondly, men are men - all around the world. Appreciate their inherent qualities and they will appreciate yours.

silverine said...

Thanks to Thanu for the link...this is an awesome post!!!

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Four paragraphs of your argument are based on the assumption(and perhaps valid) that the woman moves in with the husband, and so the woman is alice in wonderland, while the man maintains status quo.

So perhaps what is needed is a more objective way of deciding who suffers, because if the men were to go to where the woman is, all the problems equally apply to the men. A logical way of deciding who gets to keep status quo can be the salary. It makes sense to say the higher wage earner is allowed to retain the status quo while the other tries to adjust. I think that's a reasonable basis that places the burden more objectively.

i-me-myself said...

Excellent - makes so much sense to the women - but the men never get it ..