How did we get here

Not so long ago, when microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines didn’t exist, the women worked inside the house all the time. Washing laundry, ironing shirts, mending socks, turning collars, sewing on buttons, mothproofing woolens, polishing furniture, sweeping floors, cleaning windows, scrubbing sinks, tubs, toilets, and stoves, vacuuming rugs, nursing the sick, shopping for food, cooking meals, feeding relatives, arranging for religious festivities, attending to their children’s health, clothing, cleanliness, schooling, nutrition, conduct, birthdays, discipline, and morale — They were called the ‘homemakers’ and ‘nurturers’.

How does it look like

It’s something that’s impossible to recognize when one is growing up within the ecosystem; much as a fish swimming in a pond leached with chemical waste. It’s passed over as an article of faith, a value system, like religion. Unconsciously we acquire these prejudices without even realizing how toxic they could be. And these biases are packaged in shiny platitudes — the low divorce rates in India, loving joint family system, world fascination with colorful bangles, resplendent Indian saris… and so on. And there is supporting mythology to boot–going way back to Hindu epics of Ramayana/ Mahabharata, where the subjugated women is revered.

Here is a funny take on rewriting headlines to cure this objectification[1].

Blame Mummiji & Saas Bahu Serials

Before nailing full guilt for the ill on the brotherhood of men, it might bear insights to look at the role of women themselves in its perpetuity. They, after all, critically influence the girl, both as a mom, and then a mother-in-law.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Yet despite the tenacity of the old patterns, women are hacking out bigger space for themselves, both in private and public spheres. Many trends are converging together — growth in technology, urbanization, and education are significant contributors.

World War II wartime poster by J. Howard Miller

Post Script

Let’s close the loop on the question we started with — Does popular culture hold a mirror to society, or it’s the other way round?



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Ajay Goel

Ajay Goel

This is a place where I post essays and random musings.