A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

You DON’T have to appreciate her!

Posted by Pepper on January 29, 2012

Have you seen this doing the rounds on the internet? I received it as a forward a long time ago. After sometime, I saw it on Facebook. Both the times, I tried hard not to react violently. I see the intent is good. But the underlying message that this piece conveys is dangerous. I have pasted the article in parts. You can read my frustration in between the lines. See the FB page here.

 Tomorrow you may get a working woman, but you should marry her with these facts as well…

Here is a girl, who is as much educated as you are ;
Who is earning almost as much as you do ;

One, who has dreams and aspirations just as
you have because she is as human as you are ;

One, who has never entered the kitchen in her life just like you or your
Sister haven’t, as she was busy in studies and competing in a system
that gives no special concession to girls for their culinary achievements.

One, who has lived and loved her parents & brothers & sisters, almost as much as you do for 20-25 years of her life ;

Having dreams, aspirations, having a career, competing in a ruthless system, these are attributes found in most humans. It’s a given. Agreeing to marry a girl who is just like you is no favour. I do not understand the “You should marry her with these facts as well..” part.

One, who has bravely agreed to leave behind all that, her home, people who love her, to adopt your home, your family, your ways and even your family ,name

Please! Stop already. Do not expect a girl to leave behind her home and the people who love her. Why does marrying you translate to her giving up the people who are a part of her life? Are you giving up on your parents and family just because you married her? She should adopt your home and family, but you shouldn’t adopt hers? She is expected to change her name, but you get to keep yours? Why?

One, who is somehow expected to be a master-chef from day #1, while you sleep oblivious to her predicament in her new circumstances, environment and that kitchen

Don’t! Don’t expect her to be a master-chef. Are you one? And if you sleep while she struggles in the kitchen to prepare a meal that will please you and your family, you are nothing but cruel. Get up! Cook with her. There is nothing that she can do and you can’t. If you both have to be present for a 9 am meeting in your respective offices, why do you think you have a right to sleep through the morning chores and she doesn’t? Does the Y chromosome come with a special privilege than I am not aware of?

One, who is expected to make the tea, first thing in the morning and cook food at the end of the day, even if she is as tired as you are, maybe more,

God. Why, why, why? Why do you expect her to hand you your tea and your meals at the end of a long day? Especially if you know she could be more tired than you are? So you, as a man, have all right to get back from work and throw yourself on the couch, while she takes her tired self to the kitchen to prepare you a meal?

and yet never ever expected to complain ;

Oh, I forgot. We’re talking about super humans.

to be a servant, a cook, a mother,a wife, even if she doesn’t want to ; and is learning just like you are as to what you want from her ; and is clumsy and sloppy at times and knows that you won’t like it if she is too demanding, or if she learns faster than you.

Wait. Now you expect her to have no demands, but you also expect her to ensure she never defeats you? She has to make sure she can’t learn as fast or faster than you? What else?

One, who has her own set of friends, and that includes boys and even men at her workplace too, those, who she knows from school days and yet is willing to put all that on the back-burners to avoid your irrational jealousy, unnecessary competition and your inherent insecurities.

She isn’t willing to put all that on the back burner. She has only conditioned her mind to believe she has no choice. You expect her to give up her family. If that is not enough, you expect her to give up her friends too? Oh, I forgot. How is it your fault if you are so irrationally jealous, so unnecessarily competitive and so inherently insecure?

Yes, she can drink and dance just as well as you can, but won’t, simply
Because you won’t like it, even though you say otherwise.

So even if her husband tells her she can drink and dance, she is supposed to know that you won’t like it? She is supposed to read a “No” when she hears a “Yes”? How come I didn’t know that. This is not only insulting to women, this is also very insulting to the men who mean what they say.

One, who can be late from work once in a while when deadlines, just like yours, are to be met ;

One, who is doing her level best and wants to make this most important relationship in her entire life a grand success, if you just help her some
and trust her.

Excuse me. By helping her and trusting her, you are not being noble. You are doing your duty. It is expected of you.

One, who just wants one thing from you, as you are the only one she knows in your entire house – your unstinted support, your sensitivities and most importantly – your understanding, or love, if you may call it.

She wants your love and support. But you can’t offer her that if you continue to have such sexist expectations from her.

But not many guys understand this……

Please appreciate “HER”

Dammit! You don’t have to appreciate her. Instead, get rid of the expectations you have been burying her under. If you don’t understand that,  let me put it in words that you will. Treat her the way you would treat another man.  Saying you “appreciate her” just rubs salt into my wounds. Look at the image that has been put up with this article? Does it resemble a healthy, happy being? Or are you saying a woman’s life is full of strife and she has no way out? You create such horrendous conditions for women. You give her no choice. And then you say you “appreciate her” for living like that? The anger makes me cry.

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41 Responses to “You DON’T have to appreciate her!”

  1. I think whoever wrote this meant to actually be kind to the poor thing that is an Indian married woman! Such thinking should be a warning for women about to get married. It seems here that the only only way a man can be fair to them is if he believes he is being magnanimous. Do those who say these things, really believe that it is normal for one partner in a team to have to behave like a slave?

    • Pepper said

      It definitely should be seen as a warning for women about to get married. What I think is really sad is that these things are said, not only by men, but a lot of women too.

  2. R's Mom said

    loved loved loved what you wrote..

    okie..let me start by being honest that when I got this on email, I was like wow! someone cares eh? and then I read it again and thought..why should you be grateful…and then the thoughts turned exactly to the way you wrote !!!

    Its definitely called rubbing the wound with salts eh?

    • Pepper said

      Yes when I read this email some years ago, I thought it was good that somebody cares too. Only later did I think of the message it is giving to the society. 😦

  3. Rambler said

    makes me wonder, whose voice does this represent ?, her?, one of the “her”s, him?, or collection of him or her?.

    Equality has been expressed in a lot better way, and feminism should [I think it has] pass the state of demanding equality, to a state where equality is taken granted [I mean this in a good way].

  4. Sigh! The thoughts I have been having from the last couple of posts from IHM has left me with NO hope. I just want to run off somewhere to the hills and never come back on this side!

  5. Archana said

    Angst! I have seen this too. And , I love your take on it. I have a similar one on the “Dont do abortions” picture! Just read the comments below this pic – should say, the world has a long way to go.

  6. Too bugged to bother said

    It perhaps is one of those days when I have a very dismal view of the world, but as much as I hate this forward, the attitude it represents is far more common than you think! Having grown up in a household that believed other- wise, hasn’t helped one bit! So when my dad asks an aunt for that yummy fish curry recipe, she dismisses him and goes over to share the recipe with my mum (who couldn’t care less). It causes my uncle- who- has- never- helped- with- any- household- chores, raise an eyebrow. It causes close family to dismiss my dad (because he refuses to get his daughter married off into families that don’t quite operate the way we do). We are constantly told that we have an unrealistic expectation of the world and its men (I sometimes wonder if they are right – I was in a long- time relationship where everything was hunky- dory till I started voicing my opinions on equal rights. And it coincided with my having a great- run at the workplace while he wasn’t and I started to earn more. The relationship went downhill and kaput!)

    I want to add more but today is one of those days when I am tired of the world and its men and especially their mothers (yes – starting from my aunt who thinks her son is the beginning and end of the world to that old lady who thinks nothing of calling up our home and giving me advice on how I should quit my job after marriage since working women are the cause of all divorces and that I should marry her son because he ‘doesn’t talk to girls’!!!!). But its also on days like this that I am humbled by my neighbour in a small town whose two sons were taught to cook an entire meal by the time they finished school and who were taught to sweep/ swab/ clean their house and treat their female cousins and friends as equals. A day when I thank my grandparents who taught their sons to always take their plates to the sink and serve themselves food and clear- up the dining table, when done. And with that, I’ll stop ranting (cos I can really go on, with this one! )

    • Pepper said

      I do realise how common this attitude is 😦 I so know what you mean. My dad works in the kitchen very regularly. Instead of appreciating and acknowledging that, people choose to criticize my mom. They think he is “forced to do it” because of her uncaring ways. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? Sometimes I wonder if I have unrealistic expectations too.

      I feel as exhausted as you do. I am still trying to get over the lady who calls your home and tells you you should quit your job in order to sustain your marriage. I don’t know which era they belong to. But there is hope. Like you say in the last few lines, there is hope. And that is what keeps most of us going.

    • I loved your comment. I mean, just the good parts about your family and that one family in the village you spoke of. Just imagining it made my heart smile 🙂

      • Pepper said

        I loved her comment too 🙂

        • Too bugged to bother said

          :). Thank you ladies. The more I observe people, the more I realise it starts small. A friend of mine is married to a man who comes from a ‘men come first’ family. She has two sons. Most days, she serves the husband and the sons their meals and eats only after they are done. The boys (who are both less than 10 years of age) don’t even pick up their plates once they are done, because they see their mum picking up their father’s plate! Its sad, because these kids will grow up believing this is what their birthright is! And lest you think this is happening in some small insignificant town in an uneducated family, you couldn’t be more wrong!

          • Pepper said

            So true. It is a lot more unfortunate when educated people this way. What is the use of education then really? The sad truth is that the Indian education system does not teach you to think.

  7. Nitya said

    Why does everything have to about either glorifying women (like this mail which is all about showing “appreciation”) or about vilifying them?

    When will the world understand that a woman is just a normal human being who doesn’t NEED extremes.

    And I echo snippets&scribbles – the last two posts in IHM’s blog has left me feeling defeated. Sometimes the realization that we have a long way to go is not very easy to take 😐

    Needless to say, I am happy that I read blogs like yours. It makes this murderous rage I feel easier to deal with when I know I am not alone.

    • Pepper said

      It is strange, isn’t it? The very fact that we have now come to a stage where we are fighting for “women’s rights”. We’re all human beings at the end of the day. We should all have equal rights. We are now fighting for what is so obviously ours. It just shows to what extent and for how long women have been oppressed. Even the obvious feels so out of reach. It’s hard to deal with such a sucky reality.

  8. Eccentric said

    Um…I agree with almost everything that you’ve written but I am sure that the person who wrote the post really didnt think of it in the way the you do. Fact is, that majority of Indian women do go through things like these and people around them expect them to behave in the way that the post mentions.

    Yes, it is wrong. Like so many other things about Indian “culture” but it is true. And not many men understand or believe in your point of view. Change is required but I am quite positive that the post didnt mean any harm. Actually the way it is written, I dont think the person even thought of ( or was capable of thinking of) another point of view.

    Dont get me wrong. I do understand your angst. 🙂 A lot of such sh*t does the rounds on the internet.

    • Pepper said

      I didn’t get you wrong at all. I told you that 🙂
      I also said I didn’t doubt the intentions behind this article. That doesn’t change the fact that it is conveying the wrong message to the society. Yes, what this article portrays is reality for most women. That is what my problem is! By allowing this shit to circulate on the internet, I am allowing the wrong message to be passed on to more people. I am causing immeasurable harm to millions of women. So I cannot be passive about such things. The consequences are too grave. I don’t want to term it as ‘shit’ and move on. I will do everything within my power to prevent this message from disseminating further. I consider that to be my duty 🙂

  9. AND, on top of it, this article seems so “pro-women” on the surface. It seems as if the writer is actually sympathizing with the women and telling others to be considerate, which on the surface will be lapped up by so many women who are conditioned to marry and stay married. BUT, once you peel the top layer of supposed kind-ness towards women, there is hypocrisy abundant. Just by saying “she is expected …. ” you are making sure women who do not do the “expected” are not worthy of this kindess you plan to bestow upon us. It is always more conditional for women, I feel. Its either you be a good DIL and then you will be respected. Either you behave like this and your MIL will love you. Either you cook well or your husband will stray.
    arrrgghh!!!
    I had read this article on fb posted by some guy (of course!!) and I commented saying it is high time fb puts a new “dislike” button. But the sad part is, so many other guys and girls were liking the article and commenting on it saying its so true blah blah blah.
    Sometimes, everything seems so hopeless. 😦 Sometimes I really feel the world should end in 2012 and life should start afresh. There is just so much cruelty and bias in this world.

    • Pepper said

      * Standing applause *

      • hmphh!!! 2 words, in reply! ok, add 2 stars too 😛

        and applause for my fb reply? I wish I had said something nastier!

        • Pepper said

          Haha.. I wanted to say a lot more, but I thought that would lessen the impact of my applause.
          I said spoke up on FB. Not only I had guys to answer to, but a lot of girls thought I was being unreasonable too 😐 I don’t know what the best way to deal with this is. What would you have said on FB that would make people understand?

  10. popbiscuit said

    Dude..This is demeaning on so many different levels to women..so silly…I am trying not to get worked up over it though! Not worth it..Parts that especially got my goat though were the chef crap while the husband sleeps and leaving her friends and family! Ughhhhhh…

  11. locutus83 said

    Don’t despair. There is a small but steadily growing class of egalitarian, independent, secure and compassionate Indian men who treat women as normal human beings (and not as maids, goddesses or whores). Members of this group genuinely appreciate women to make them happy. They do not, however, take women for granted. They do not accept a grossly unfair work distribution as status quo. They do not follow age-old, deeply entrenched gender roles and expectations. They know how to look after themselves and are not dependent on anyone else. They have been trained well since childhood. They know how to cook, clean, wash and iron. They don’t just “chip-in”, they willingly, happily and dutifully share all tasks equally with women without making it seem like a major favour being granted. They know very well that this sharing enhances the bonding with their women (and to put it selfishly, if you look at it that way — happy, relaxed women equal great sex). They know that a woman’s family and friends are special, and that women need to periodically sync up/bond with their family/coterie. They don’t impose any rules or restrictions on women. They know that a free, independent woman is a happy woman, in the same way that a free, independent man is a happy man. In fact, these men don’t even think that they are behaving in a “nice” way if they are being like this — it just comes naturally to them. All in all, they have independent, enlightened minds, and large enough hearts. They treat women with the same love and respect they would need to feel happy.

    I can, without too much pride (there is nothing to feel that proud of, this should be normal :-)) say that I am a part of this small group. The numbers will grow.

  12. binpin said

    That is why I love you.coz you write words which are in my head:D. and I never lose an opportunity to drink and dance:P

  13. Ashwathy said

    Oh yea..I read this one before 🙄
    And ended up thinking where do they come up with this moralistic, PITYING description… 😡
    sort of like: “Please appreciate what I do, I beg you. I’d be very grateful if you did!” 😐

  14. Hi Pepper,
    A very well written post. I must first confess that when this came in FB, I hit “like” and shared it on my wall and many of my friends hit like and were like wow (girls inclusive). I had also included this in my comment to one of your posts. Until I read your reply to my comment, I really din’t think of this excerpt in the way you had mentioned. I am an educated, well-informed and an independent woman, who does not want men to appreciate her, but rather accept her as what she is and as their peer/equal. In fact at work when my co-workers and people who report to me use their gender as an excuse to wriggle out of work, I tell them when we earn as much or even more than men and when we are well equipped with all the mental capabilities, excusing oneself from work giving the reason that you are a woman is not actually a good taste. So why is that I liked the post and shared it? Is it because of the herd mentality? I don’t think so. I neither think it is the FB culture of liking anything that anybody posts on their walls. I guess as some of them mentioned here, it is because I just skimmed it and dint peel it back. And now I understand your worry. If people like me take it at its face value and “like it”, there is no telling what the entire world out there would get out of it. Definitely the wrong message. I appreciate the fact that you had peeled it line by line and extracted the essence or perhaps the non-sense out of it.

    Now I wouldn’t read anything on the go and like it. Thanks for posting this. It really have given me a different perspective or should i say perception?

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