Thursday, June 26, 2008

Of etiquette and stupid advice

I came across, not one, but three posts, all ranting about a Mumbai Mirror article by a professional counsellor and psychologist, Uttam Dave. All three are perfectly justified in their ranting. I am equally outraged by all the stupid, sexist and absolutely one-sided advice that Dave is spouting, in a newspaper no less. But, when I first read Chandni's post, I was dismissive of the article as the rants of an old man who was yet to get out of the 13th Century. I am assuming he is old, but if he is younger, then I am even more scandalised at the attitude. I have nothing to add to what Chandni, Nita and SC have to say.

But then, what outraged me more than the article was this site, that Nita pointed me to. This "finishing school" trains women in "etiquette" and "home management". Now, wait a sec. I do understand that getting married means taking on a lot of responsibility, most of the time, of the kind we are not used to as we live with parents who do the job. But, does that not apply to men too? A lot of men have no idea about home management, budgeting, entertaining guests or organising parties either. And, just why is this kind of work considered the exclusive domain of the wife? If marriage is a partnership, both partners must learn how to manage a home. If there is a finishing school that teaches women how to cook, clean, change sheets and go grocery shopping, men must learn them all too. After all, men must contribute, at least partially, to housework right?

As Nita says, the woman (more often than not a girl in her early 20s) leaves familiar surroundings, parents, friends, her home city and even her country to go and settle down with a family that is so reluctant to accept her. What she needs, is not stupid advice telling her to "adjust", but a reassurance from husband and in-laws that all will be well. The article, while sounding sexist and one-sided, also portrays all in-laws as cruel and insensitive. To their credit, many modern families go the extra mile to make the transition easier. It's time we stop giving such sexist advice and understand that it takes two to tango.

4 comments:

Nita said...

I know what you mean. One looks at it in a rational manner, the article is so ridiculous that it's laughable. But at the same time it presses buttons! I couldn't bear to read it! And yeah, that school is sexist alright.

Ms Cris said...

Looks like we have a long way to go to reach there!
Even in US, I think home ec classes are for girls. But am not sure about this - I'm just saying this from reading a lot of Archie comics!

And in my school, which was a girls-only, we had to compulsarily do needle-work, whether we wanted it or not. I dont know if I have a point here but I do not like needlework! Not fair I had to sit with those wools and needles for ages and make a mess out of it when boys and girls from other schools went to play basketball!

LandBeyond7Zs said...

Well, women learn about etiquette and home making, because they are serious and thoughtful about their homes. Men on the other hand stumble on to this family thing without much serious considerations. For men the relationship is often driven by some serious aspects(wink, wink) from their world.

But dont go negative with this thought. After getting married, you can make men do all those things, if you use your womenly qualities. I would imagine that would be what the home making curriculam cover, if the school is smart enough. Men(as one myself) are much easy, compared to the tough cookie women. The sooner you figure that out, the easier your relationship would be and the more difficult it gets for your partner. I wish, I had married a dumb girl(sarcasm, is there such a thing)!! Not really, I am happy with my smart cookie, even though I do have to cook my food.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Passing comment to @Ms Cris

I studied in a Kendriya Vidyalaya and as part of SUPW we had needlework,candle making,chalk making,house wiring,iron box repair,hanger making and I dunno what all...
I am sure, I would have never learnt to mend a button but for this :D