In This Lockdown, While Women Are Not Only Battling The Extra Domestic Duties But Also Sexism Because The Men Don’t Help Around The House
These days, I have been confined to my bedroom which isn’t too bad a place. I keep the windows open throughout the day just so my room is well-lit and ventilated. We need fresh air and sunlight, don’t we? While a lot of us are using this time as a much-needed vacation, people who can work from home have no choice. We are pretty much working as much as we did in office. But I am okay with that because it keeps me sane. And it has been helping me – I am in a good mood these days. It’s cozy to work in my PJs with my cat curled up next to me.
The view outside my bedroom isn’t quite pleasant though. The moment I step out, I see my dad glued to the couch, either watching TV or some sort of motivational videos on YouTube, which I am pretty sure aren’t doing the job. My dad seems to have no motivation whatsoever to as much as lift a finger and do anything at all around the house.
In fact, I feel it’s remarkable how my dad can sleep through the day and yet sleep at night. Why am I writing about it now? Because during this lockdown, while our domestic helps are on leave, I feel the men think they are on a vacation with a full-time butler at their disposal. This is a time when the sexism in our very homes is becoming more evident than ever. Sexism from the hands of – let alone the world – but people who actually love you.
The worse thing is, most of these men who do nothing at home while their wives have to spearhead the domestic duties which have now doubled thanks to everyone being at home. The men think they must be served. Their mothers pampered them and spoon fed them. They made their sons believe that household chores aren’t their lookout and they should rather go out. These men have grown up watching their sisters being nagged to learn how to cook. On the other hand, if these sons as much as boil water, they are applauded as if they’ve won MasterChef.
My grandmother raised her children like that. The sons were never taught to do chores around the house while the daughters were told it’s a woman’s job. Her sons cannot survive without a woman for a day – their mom, wife, a cook. They are dependent on a woman to take care of the house. My naani used to be the same way with us cousins, years ago. She used to give me tasks like getting some ice-cream for my brother from the kitchen. And I being a rebellious soul, gave it back. I yelled at everyone for doing this. I asked her if his hands and legs don’t function. I scolded my brother for not speaking up and accepting such sexism. Thankfully, today things have changed on that front.
If you’re working from home, a woman is still expected to take on the domestic duties because physically she is at home. But it’s not just about that. Both my mom and dad aren’t working from home. Yet, it’s just my mom working at home.
In fact, several women do it themselves because men are so ill-equipped at it that they think it’s easier if they did it themselves. Plus, since the typical Indian father is so absent, most kids turn to their mothers for everything. It may sound cute to another person but what it does is overburden the mother and relieve the father of all responsibilities.
Recently, a video of a Punjab cop insisting women to make their husbands work at home went viral. Doesn’t it suck that this has to be told? What is their excuse if they have as much time as their wives? My dad and I have fought several times on this because lockdown or no lockdown, he doesn’t help my mom. In fact, I feel that helping is like expecting too much, most men feel entitled to do nothing and command everyone and everything at home. And like I said, this comes down to their upbringing.
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Men have to step up and there’s no more delaying that we can take. Women must take a stand and stop pampering their husbands and sons like they are royalty. Like charity, sexism starts from home. Men learn to feel entitled at home and then they go out and spread it like wildfire.