Twisted Interpretations of a Campaign

What happens when a Women-friendly campaign comes up?

Well, there is a lot of mess. Some misinterpret the campaign, some read in between the lines and twist it grotesquely, some look at the positive side, some try to quash it some accept it as it is and some don’t care at all.

Ariel introduced its #ShareTheLoad campaign and interestingly, I came across some mind-blowing interpretations from some places. While the campaign was introduced to spread awareness about the high stress levels in working women today due to their job and the work at home, people have dissected every other aspect of the campaign except this one. That is when I realised that people’s mindset is twisted to an extreme point where they are unable to see things as they are. Here are some things that got me thinking:

1. The campaign is anti-men and it shames men– Since the campaign talks about men helping women and since it doesn’t talk about women sharing men’s load, it is anti-men.

I was totally wonder-struck seeing the reasoning here. If a campaign talks about A doing B a favour and if it doesn’t talk about B doing A a favour, it can’t be considered anti-A unless it explicitly states that B shouldn’t return the favour.

I think people take it this way because, some find the campaign accusatory. They think the campaign blames men and they think it makes it mandatory for them to help their wives. Many have taken it as an insult to the gender. How could an outsider shame them by asking them to share the laundry, was their question.

On the contrary, the intention is merely to spread awareness. Over-thinking is unnecessary.

2. Women will find an excuse not to work due to this campaign – Women who have the tendency to find excuses to not work, do they need the help of a campaign? I am not biased. I know women who’ll go to any extent to shun work. They don’t need this campaign for support.

While, there are the other women who have been doing the work. I doubt that they’ll suddenly stop working seeing this campaign. Whether they think that it is a woman’s job, whether they are employed or unemployed, if they have been doing it, they’ll continue doing it. The campaign is so that men help. Not so that women stop doing the work. There is a difference and a rational woman knows it. For all I know, almost all are simply seeing the campaign and forgetting it.

Besides, it’s just a campaign. Not a Law.

3. Women don’t contribute financially, then why should men share the chores? – A very relevant question. It is implied. If both are working, both contribute financially as well as towards the functioning of the household. If one doesn’t contribute financially, he/she must do it some other way.

These days, in matrimonial ads, there is demand for employed women. This implies that the family is also counting on her income. When that is the case, in majority of such cases, the woman will be contributing financially (exceptions always exist). So, the situation widely exists in the current scenario where women contribute too. But in all those cases, are the house chores shared? The answer is no and this is what the campaign is aimed at.

4. Nowadays there are maids. Then why should men share the chores?

If there are maids for every job, leave alone sharing, the work itself doesn’t exist. The entire topic gets invalidated. So obviously, it talks about the case where the women do the chores.

5. Let the men decide for themselves

The underlying assumption while fighting against this campaign is that it is mandatory. They assume the campaigners are deciding how rest of the world should live.

Ariel or anyone supporting the campaign haven’t ‘made the decisions’ for anyone. It promotes the idea of sharing the work. And yes! Ultimately, it is left to the discretion of the husband and wife. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t spread an awareness right?

*****

Earlier, all the women were housewives and so, they took care of the chores at home. The division of responsibility was clear. Our parents and we all grew up watching things happen in this manner. Father earning, Mother doing the chores at home. It seemed perfect and well defined.

Then came our generation where women are career oriented too. Some of them, both men and women, have the thought embedded in their genes that house chores are a woman’s job. They normally do it after work and while many men help them, many don’t. They can’t be blamed because for them, wife doing the work just seems normal. This video will give an idea:

What the campaign actually is –  A summary

It is aimed at couples who are both employed and are contributing to the household financially. In such cases, women get super-stressed doing both job and household chores. Here, if men lend a helping hand and share the load, ultimately you are the ones who’ll have more time together.

As people argue, no one can decide your life. No one can order men to share the work. (Do keep in mind that no one can tell a working woman that house chores are hers either.) So, each of you could do as you please. For those who understand that too much stress could be unhealthy for your wife, I suggest that they share the load. This isn’t me deciding your life for you.

Those who prefer a stay at home wife, you don’t really have to bother about this campaign. There are women who aren’t career oriented and love being a housewife. I respect this choice too.

Where you want to spread awareness about something, for instance women sharing financial responsibilities, start a campaign to spread awareness rather than trying to quash another. Because, if you quash this problem, even your problem will go unanswered. We need to wake up and listen to understand rather than listening to argue.

PS – I know many men who understand the essence of the campaign. I know many who help their wives and mothers in house chores. I am aware of the problems that are caused due to women too. This write up is definitely keeping in mind that every coin has two sides to it.

I’m joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.

Images That Scream at You

I came across this post by Scoopwhoop. Some of them were so hard-hitting that I had to share it here.

1. Seat Belt Prejudice – This is something I have always wondered. People emphasize on wearing the front seat belts, but not the ones in the back. As a child I used to think  that the passengers in the back wouldn’t get hurt. But I grew up to hear many incidents where all the four passengers died due to accident. What caused this kind of importance to the front passengers alone?

Why do people in the front seats panic seeing the cops and fasten their seat-belts while the ones behind are never bothered?

This image sends the message loud and clear

This in fact, sends the wrong message to the young generation. They get too used to the idea that seat belts aren’t necessary for the passengers at the back.

My Solution: Only if the cops check, do people fasten their seat belt. Why not check the seat belts of the ones behind too? For those who know how dangerous this is, ensure that everyone in the car knows it too.

2. Domestic Violence – I don’t have to explain this one. Domestic violence is very much prevalent in India. I believe most of it has to do with the latent male chauvinistic attitude that prevails in the ‘traditions’ of the country. I wouldn’t blame the men alone. Women are equally responsible when they advocate the theory of ‘ideal women’ from their rule books. The conclusion goes thus, “She gets her fair share from him because of so and so reasons.” The so and so reasons will be going against their ‘Ideal woman’ rule book.

He sure does

If she doesn’t listen to you or if she talks back, give her ek thappad!

On a happier note, I have come across couples who do not fall under this category. Men who never answer with violence. My neighbour is an example and I must admit that they make a lovely couple. And that gives me a lot of hope for a better India. 🙂

My Solution: Begin with the next generation. We can only do so much by ads, campaigns, articles, news and preaching. The change should begin from within. Children are easier to convince. Parents and teachers are their world and influence. By showing the right path in schools, a huge portion of our country gets the idea. While, taking classes in rural areas about how women aren’t drum rolls would cover another portion.

3. Usage of Paper – I worked in a well known Company for a while and all the time, I noticed the excessive use of paper – for documenting, for toilets, for washrooms etc. Daily, a huge amount of paper is used up or rather wasted by people. I myself had to take cartloads of print. Before long, my 3 draws were filled with the printouts. During one of the security audits, I was told that I had to shred the unnecessary documents and that was when I began to think.

All those papers were single sided because the work demanded it. I had to shred them all. I don’t know if they would be reused. But I personally was destroying trees. All of us were. Thinking about the umpteen branches all over the world, I couldn’t fathom the amount of papers that would be shredded.

My solution: Why not do the work on computers now that everything has been computerised? I agree some jobs still requires usage of paper. But most of it does not. In the Board’s report, along with the report on technology and energy consumption, they should also account for usage of paper and similar resources.

4. Censoring in Media – I remember a streetplay that was staged by my friends during the CA students’ cultural event in Kochi. They had brought back The Ramayana to the age of media. They had a well thought of series of events alternating between the scenes in Ramayana and how the media covered the story. To sum it up, the entire story as we know it, was boomeranged at Ram by a politically influential Ravana.

We as the citizens don’t need bits and pieces. We don’t want mutilated stories. We don’t want tampered rumours. We want the truth. If the truth is half hidden, it looks more grotesque than untruth.

Pretty much like this;

Had this been an image of strangers, 50% would believe in one thing and a 50% would believe something else. The media has the power to influence the 50% to believe their version of the story.

My solution: Shun masala! Shun any unnecessary story that the media feeds you. Realize that you are just a puppet in their hands. Don’t be one. Maria Sharapova not knowing Sachin Tendulkar is not of any meaning to you. Why should that be on the front page while the rapes are on the 3rd page bottom right?
Don’t swallow what they shove down your throat. Don’t let them twist the facts. Don’t let them avert your attention. Don’t accept anything without skepticism.

5. Texting while driving – Life is not a novel that ends with conclusions. Rather, it ends abruptly, in the middle of a sentence. But it is way too precious to end like this.

That was loud enough I believe. You know the solution.

6. Animal Abuse –

I know a family that has a dog. The man is barely sober. Whenever he is high on liquor, he goes to the dog that greets him with so much of love, and hits the poor thing. He takes the dog’s tiny head in his fist and grates him against the ground like a vegetable against the grater. What do I say?

The worst thing that happened to the Earth was Human beings.

My Solution : Spread awareness against animal abuse. Ask children not to pelt stones at them. There are multiple animal shelters cropping up. Get the number from google, call them up if you find stray animals. For the ones in Kochi, kindly check the site of The KARMMA Here. I have personally witnessed a couple of their activities. You can either contribute by lending your hand or some funds. Their office is opposite Oberon Mall, Kochi.

The article I mentioned initially talks about 40 different issues of which I have enumerated only six. A change cannot happen overnight. But it would happen overtime. The best way to begin is by creating awareness in the younger generation. Let them be free thinkers. Do not bind them with our notions. Let us not make them think like us.

Note – The images have been taken from an article on scoopwhoop.com, that initially appeared on digitalsynopsis.com.