The patriarchal society has limited the role of women in households that fall under age-old entrenched gender norms and an atmosphere where men make money and are able to establish themselves, at the top in power structure. Men take it for granted that household chores must be shared, they work outside the home, and should be least expected to work inside homes. Taking its cue from the UN, the report points out that Women do 2.5 times more unpaid care work than men. And on the other hand, Indian women do 10 times more.
We hear the men, complaining or lamenting about the situation multiple times a day, but the idea to share household chores, never once strikes into their minds. However, in the wake of lockdown, as we begin to live our lives as if the tape got re-winded to the 90’s my life is simulated to resemble my mother’s. The constant pressure of being a good daughter fills my head with anxiety. While my brother, remains unbothered, texting on the phone, in a corner. As the males in the house deny help, it shows their authority and that they have an option to simply do so.
The dirty dishes in the sink have started to resemble my gloomy future, and the sole purpose of their miserable existence seems to illustrate my inability to work for my ambitions while being pulled back to choose a life that involves; prioritising the dishes. I try to live up to the ideals of womanhood, but constantly fail. We have two generations of men living, both sharing the same patriarchal mind set, which I now believe gets passed on in terms of heredity.
People around the world are claiming, that due to lockdown, Mother Nature is healing but how about the mother the ever giving, when will she heal? Even the pandemic fails at her feet, it cannot be the reason for her take a break and heal. As Euripides said, “of all creatures that can feel and think, we women are the worst treated things alive.”
Women have sat indoors all these millions of years that created the personal experience as a measure through which to construct an idea about human society. The politics of power was created this way, inside the home and outside it. One thing that feminist studies points out is that, the subordination of women is the oldest form of subjugation. It goes all the way back to pre-literate terms when women literally were the property of men. It’s assumed, built-in and even dogmatic, dogma about it. So it appears natural on the surface to human society and culture in general. It justifies the systematic structures of oppression and inequality within society and attributing it all to being ‘natural’.
The identity of women in an Indian society gets interlinked with how well she manages the house, she is judged on the parameter for being a ‘good-housewife.’ Strictly defined and restrictive expectations in relation to gender roles limit their choice and freedom which forms the basis of discrimination. It creates an unequal relationship between genders and women are not able to escape until the boundaries are loosened up, their individual projections remains at stake along with the deadly virus coming in the way.