Women and their supportive men

I remember watching a TV program recently in which the young woman said her husband is very supportive of her career. 'He says as long as the house and kids are taken care of, he has no problem with my working'. I know Indian men are typically less liberated but even so, I'm appalled that someone would in this day and age consider that statement as supportive.

But I know someone who works in advertising, is very senior, runs a multi-crore business and supervises hundreds of employees. Yet in her house, she is forbidden from hiring a cook and wakes up at five every day to cook food for the family, and never stays overnight when she travels because she has to cook for the next day.

Some of my friends who have made traded careers for being stay-at-home moms find that suddenly their equation with their husband, which used to be that of an equal, has suddenly changed to junior/ silent partner and that the whole relationship revolves around what is convenient for the husband, rather than for both. It's as if the minute their paycheck stopped, their importance in the equation fell. It's strange too, because many of these couples are at an economic level where the additional income really didn't matter in the first place, so I wonder what caused the seismic shift. Was it the loss of one of their identities - or of a designation? Is stay-at-home mom less glamorous than Vice president, Unilever India? Was the equal status in the relationship primarily based on the fact that both had followed the same path when it came to studies - graduation + MBA? So that when one of them went off the parallel track, it became a lower status track? I don't have any definitive answers to any of these questions and it just makes me sad and mad thinking about it.

I've taken several breaks from work for one reason and another. I took a one year break when Chubbocks was being expected and then a newborn. Last year I decided I had had enought of a crappy workplace and just quit and have been at home since July, though the plan of moving back to a fulltime job is there. A took a break from a corporate set-up and spent several months last year trying to become a corporate film maker. At none of these stages did either of us think the other had become of any less value to the relationship, or that the other person's opinion counted for less on any decisions. I've had to make several work trips and be away from home for many days, and on none of those occasions did A ever make me feel like he was doing me a favour by taking care of the kids and the house. He took over for me the way I take over for him when he's travelling or busy ( and he did it with more grace than I do!). The way scores of wives take over when their husbands travel yet somehow when it's the other way around everyone thinks it's a big deal and that the husband was either a hero or a patsy.

Why do we need to apply these very different standards to men and women? Isn't it about time we took equality for granted? The first decade of the 21st Century is over...dinosaurs are sooo extinct.


Rasmi said…
Sometimes not very obviously apparent but very subtle..like..You are at home so ensuring clothes being washed, ironed etc is your look out.... How come you are at home but still dont see the grime on the gas stove???

Aaaah men, ascribe some of it atleast to 'sun rises out of their posterior' style upbringing
Aryan said…
ahh....how men can be like this?

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