What is the role of women (or anyone for that matter?)

I’ve been seeing this ad bashed around by women bloggers all through last week. In some ways I get why everyone’s annoyed but in many ways I don’t. Ads in general are exaggerated for marketing purposes. Including this one. I get pissed just as much as any other real woman, seeing all these ads of married women, especially moms with no dark circles, no eye bags whatsoever and not at all overweight. What about the irritatingly cheerful mom that happily welcomes her son after a day outside with mud all over the white shirt? Some detergent ad? I would be the mom with a battered hair style and a homeless look yelling at my kid for giving me more of the mundane work! That’s reality. But reality sucks!

Not that any research is needed, nevertheless it’s done and it shows that porn sells because there are ultra fit male-god and female-goddess body types in them. Honestly, who would want to look at blobs of flesh swaying around? And what is advertisement but legal, small scale porns? Sounds like pop corn, but I really believe ads are mini pornos. Especially in India. Entertainment and climax!

The ad doesn’t demand a woman to do all that, I don’t think. It says that we salute you for being all that. The lyrics isn’t that bad, in fact. A woman has many roles: In the family, in the society, at work. As a daughter, wife, mother, citizen, employee. All that. There are women who are great at managing the house, women that are excellent at their jobs, women that are amazing social workers. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same woman. But she is loved and respected for doing whatever she does so well.

We read quotes about how it is our sacred human responsibility to do the best we can, how we must become the change we want to see and how anything worth doing is worth doing 100%. It is true. Try to remember the last time you had a very competent professional fix something or provide some service. Recollect how that made you feel. A job well done gives immense pleasure not just to the one that did it but also for the one in the receiving end.

Now, it’s actually nice to see a woman not crib about the overtime her boss gives and happily do her job because that’s what having a job is all about, especially that of a news anchor. That doesn’t happen in reality. (Not with the news anchor job, not just with women, doesn’t happen even with men but that’s a completely different topic for another day). It’s nice to see women portrayed as being competent enough to finish what is taken up and for respecting work (family as well, in this case).

Practically however, it is extremely hard for a woman to maintain a career and a family at the same time. Be it in India or anywhere else. So may be women should choose between having a family vs having a career? Because clearly she cannot do both equally well. At least not in the early stages of molding the family. The time spent with kids is time away from career and vice versa unless somehow being with the kids is part of the career.

Did women of the olden days have it easy? Was it better for them because they didn’t know a wonderful world could exist for them outside their homes? The contentment of caring for the household, the satisfaction of chatting up with neighbors, coming up with frugal ways to run the household and much much more! This was enough for them and they did it very well!

I remember hearing stories about how my grandmother went in to labour and had to deliver her own baby and deal with the whole mess herself before she got any help hours later! This is something unimaginable for me (as it probably is for countless women today)! She used to sew clothes for the family too. She was good at gardening and if I remember it right, did eco friendly waste disposal right in her backyard! I’m sure she would do these today if she wasn’t in a cooped up city apartment!

May be I don’t read as many male bloggers’, but I don’t see much ruckus created over this ad which seems equally bad (and there are quite a few male bashing ads).

In the end, it’s all about what our roles are, both real and perceived. It’s also about where we fit in, the one or two things that we are great at, the things we could do without running out of passion. We don’t have to be everything. We cannot. But we can be great at the things we choose. Even if it is just one. Question is what will it be. The answer is not a boxed solution for everyone. It could be home management for someone. It could be politics for someone else. The hardest part, which is also the most fun is in discovering that role.

Holi welcomes spring and lots of colors, hopefully into our lives as well.

Speaking of holi, here’s something women not just in India but all over the world would love to do:

Women of Barsana not just hit their husbands but all men!!

Happy holi everyone and here’s to fun discoveries!!

One thought on “What is the role of women (or anyone for that matter?)

  1. Hey Sowmya.,

    Amazing write up, these were exactly my sentiments too but cldnt put it into words 🙂 amazing style of writing n you know how to keep your reader engaged !!! Keep the good work going !!

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