"Professional" + "Home-Makers" - The Irony Of Our Society


By

Tanya S Gaurav
Doctoral Researcher
Banasthali Vidyapith
Rajasthan
 


Let's not dig old graves! Let's talk of today, today's scenario, today's viewpoint, and today's generation and so on!!! What happened few years back or a hundred years back or even more it's obsolete and can be done away with. For e.g. Kids were married off! Why, what, when, how that doesn't matter, it's another story! It happened and the society and the people worked to get rid of it! Work in progress!!!!

Coming to the so called modern/contemporary India. The India where boys and their families want 'so called' modern girls to complete and extend their families, girls who can work, drive, speak well, conduct themselves well and can be considered at par with their male counterparts. In urban India, finding such a girl is no task. Girls these days are also open to explore diverse mind sets and cultures. To speak of marriage in India, culture, caste, creed always taken precedence over anything else.  Apparently, it is easier for a girl to blend into a set-up of the kind she saw while growing-up. It is easier for her to adhere to rituals and family norms. But, the transition that has come in our society today has drifted people away from this concept (to an extent). Youngsters today want to form matrimonial alliances on the basis of lifestyle. There is a picture each individual paints of the life he/she wants to live and in today's world every individual has the capacity to live/fulfill his/her own dreams/aspirations irrespective of his/her gender. Having said that, two individuals who come together by choice have more in common as individuals. One has to always bear in mind though, as individuals one has to cope up with individual differences and preferences. The process of adapting to each other doesn't become any easier. One needs time and space to accept one another as an integral part of one's life.

Before going further, it is important to understand that the current generation is seeing maximum change and transformation in the society. Whether this change is good or bad, whether its here to stay, is another story. But the fact is there is a change, a drastic change. At some places it is said and explicit but in most it is unsaid and implicit. The latter causes more unrest! Youngsters of today (15-35 years of age) are open to this change. But the generation prior to them, may or may not be. They, rather most of them, led chunk of their lives adhering to a certain code of the society and that too happily. Their acceptance of the same was in-built. They never seemed to question their elders too much about rituals, social norms, gendered roles etc unlike today's generation. To suddenly expect them to change and adapt to current times social transformation is like having an unrealistic expectations. Depending on their degree of education, exposure and personal outlook, they can and are free to make their choices. Broadly, their choices can be classified in four categories. First, they feel it's important to change with the changing times. Second, they accept the changes but don't want to apply them to their own lives. Third, they encourage their younger generation to keep up with the changing trends in the society. Fourth, they resist these changes, criticize them and do not want themselves or their children to change with time. In either case, it can be understood that the older generation's acceptance to change is bonus and the younger generation's is mandatory and inevitable. Forcing the younger generation to not change would distort their mind-set and make them a misfit in today's society.

Coming to the category which encourages the younger generation to move on. (I would like to emphasize that moving on has never meant to demean the basic values and ethics that gives any society its identity. Only the external manifestation changes with different generations.) Now, when two individuals tie a knot based on intellectual and lifestyle compatibility and everyone (family and society) 'claims' to accept this, it is seldom easier said than done.

Working girls are good as long as there are people to tell them about. Once the excitement and newness settles down, and then arises the need of an "Indian wife/daughter-in-law". With all due respect, my purpose is not to be cynical here. It is difficult for in-laws and in some cases the boy to understand why is it difficult for a girl to balance work and home or why is it so important for a girl to work when her husband is already doing so well or why must a girl work instead of planning a family or why should a girl outsource home chores in order to work or why should a girl come home late from work or why can't she make it for a family or social function and the list is endless.

Knowingly unknowingly consciously sub-consciously whether one likes it or not- every married girl is tried to fit into an 'Indian wife/daughter-in-law' slot. Now when these issues are brought out day in and day out an average girl tries to balance everything. One needs to understand, that an average girl is also brought up seeing the traditional roles of a woman at home and so it is easy for her to see what is expected out of her. So, leading a routine everyday life becomes a war between what she was doing and wanted to continue doing and what she is expected to do. In such a scenario, it becomes difficult to segregate and one gets stuck between 'intellectual and lifestyle compatibility' and 'traditional expectations'. In cases where two generations live together, matters become even more challenging. In an attempt to address and bridge the generation gap, one foot is in the traditional school of thought and one in the so called 'modern/contemporary school of thought'. This leads to a system failure and becomes a cause of constant conflict and bickering between the two individuals who came together by choice and mutual fondness causing unhappiness and undue stress.

There are loads of e-mails, tweets and messages regarding the performance of a house-wife. One cannot deny that it is infact more critical and demanding than any career out there. It keeps a woman on her toes 24/7 with no physical reward, acknowledgement or appreciation but has the capacity to give a lot of fulfillment. There are women who are happy being home-makers and happily provide a cozy cushion to all who come stressed from the outer world. They have their ways, means and strategies to manage their homes and themselves. They know how to unwind and distress. It is a different 'Job Analysis' in itself with its respective Job Description and Job Specification. But, like it happens in all organizations, JD and JS have to be in sync with the Organization Objectives. In this case also, each family and social set up has to be clear of its functioning objectives and take subsequent decisions in sync with it!

Issues come up when girls are expected to be 'Professional'+'Housewives'. How is it possible to carry out two job roles so diverse and so demanding at the same time? Needless to say, performance will be compromised upon on both ends which will eventually cause dissatisfaction and de-motivation. One wants to be a happy home maker but is expected to work because of the changing trends of the society 'or' one wants to be a professional but is expected to give her best at home owing to the traditional trends of the society in either case there will be a breakdown of an individual and the set up she belongs to. In some cases the collapse would be physical but in most the breakdown would be emotional and nervous.

'Clarity of purpose' and 'Communication' are the two tools which can help maintain the balance of roles in our society. One needs to be honest to oneself regarding what one wants in life. Never the less, too much individualism can distort the social fabric. It's important for 'I' and 'we' to co-exist for a healthy future of mankind. Sticking to the basic values and ethics, each generation must be guided and allowed to make their own beliefs. Only this can lead to human and social progress. Right from the stage of basic education, to career-making to choosing spouses to professional aspirations to everything else in life these two tools can help every single individual carve his/her way to a fulfilling and happy life.

I would like to emphasize that this article is my personal viewpoint. No where do I intend to demean any particular gender or social set-up. This article has been written in an attempt to understand the importance of clarity and communication for everyone, everywhere and in every way because that's the only way to a healthy progressive society.
 


Tanya S Gaurav
Doctoral Researcher
Banasthali Vidyapith
Rajasthan
 

Source: E-mail March 11, 2015

          

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