Every thing is not about everything


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Fast-food Judgementalists, how pitiful!

On a bright summer day, X, Y and Z got together.

X: Did you hear how the women in that city were abused? Tsk tsk tsk.
Y: Yes, I heard. Animals! They should be hanged to death.
Z: Yeah, it was so disturbing I did not sleep well last night.

On a warm spring evening, P and Q had a chat.

P: That man cheated on his wife.
Q: What an asshole! He cannot even cook a meal on his own. He always sides with his mom, never supported his wife.
P: I want to slap him for what he did to that poor wife of his.

On a dusky autumn noon, Q & A met.

Q: Do you know how many misogynists live in my own building?
A: Yeah, I know. There was one man who had the audacity to ask the woman to pick up diapers for the baby.

On a cold winter night, X, Y and Z pondered.

X: A friend’s friend was asking advice about her in-law issues.
Y: What issues?
X: Her in-laws beat her everyday, her husband is always at work and hardly supports her.
Z: Ask her to get out of the house immediately, file a police report and then file for a divorce.
X: Oh yeah, in 3 years of marriage she has not had the courage to do that. But when I say it now, she will.
Z: We need to empower women!
Y: Yes, we should do that.
X: Hey, there’s Dabaang on TV now, you wanna watch it?

Definitions!

If you are too quick to wrongly box people in categories without enough evidence then you perhaps are used to instant “fast-food” type judgements and there is a chance you may be a mental. Congratulations, you are a fast-food judgementalist.

As long as we are into definitions, here’s one

misogynist |məˈsäjənist|
noun
a man who hates women.
adjective
reflecting or inspired by a hatred of women: a misogynist attitude.

Now, coming back to the new-information-facebook-twitter age. Whatever happened to the good old conversation style? What we wouldn’t dream of doing or saying to someone on their face, we are reckless enough to write in our public journals nowadays? What is our excuse other than the fact that we can?

I have been a follower of IHM blog and have mostly respected the content, the injustices and atrocities discussed in the blog. Well, not all the time. Like, now. I find myself having to voice against a majority very well knowing that my comments may not be absorbed the way it is intended.

Here’s a funny example.
Case 1: There was a post or comment on how women are being stared at and how that makes women uncomfortable. A man responded with a “What’s the big deal, can’t you ignore it?”. Clearly, a wrong response. Not malicious, but one that stems from ignorance and lack of experience. The women’s perspective here: As men you haven’t experienced these things, you haven’t been stared at the way we have, you have no clue. So shut up and leave it to us women.

Case 2: I am stating in my comment how women are better suited than men in understanding things like staring, grabbing, rape etc and have the potential to do a better job in educating their own kids/daughters. You would think that this response is greatly appreciated. Sadly, no. The women’s perspective here: How dare you say that only women can talk about these issues? What about the sensitive men in my life? My brother, husband, father? Do you have any idea how much they can lecture about these issues?

There is an easier way to deal with this. Just state that it is an all-women’s venting club that welcomes no man’s opinion that even marginally disagrees with the women’s perspectives. If not, please tell me you see a huge gap, the size of a Grand canyon here.  For the sake of goodness, what is your stance? Either men are ignorant and inexperienced, hence incapable of empathizing with sensitive women’s issues or they are not. Which is it?

I am going to be traveling in loops for a while, so stay with me. Facebook!

Do I believe everything that I see on FB? Is it good to have that social interaction? How many people in my friend list are really my friends? How many people can I count on during an emergency? I had been pondering these questions first before being super active on FB, experimenting a little with my posts, moving on to being inactive and finally deactivating my account. All part of my personal experiments because I am trying to figure out what works best for me.  I may reactivate my account or I may not. But I came across a man, Ronny Edry, who used this tool ridden with gossip and meaningless chatter towards making a change. (If you’re too hooked on to my post and don’t want to go away from this page even to google him, I understand. Here’s his TED talk.)

When such possibilities exist, why do we choose instead to randomly attack someone? There is no evidence from this post and especially the follow-up post that this person is a woman-hater. If anything, the mention of his conversation with his wife clarifies his intention.

No dialogue? No back and forths? No questions? Just quick judgement and name-calling? Don’t we want to understand a fellow blogger better? Or for the sake of women’s issues, don’t we want men to better understand how women really feel? Or do we just want to attack aimlessly at all men because of some men?

“But men in FB are finding this funny and ridiculing women, What about men that are trying to restrict women?”, you ask.
I say, “Go find them and talk sense. Better laugh at them for their ignorance. Don’t thrash randomly”

I can’t decide which is sadder. The post being considered funny or the fact that the post in fact depicts the sad plight of society today or the fact that no one acknowledges the reality.

If you will indulge for a minute here, is it safe to assume that there is a huge number of working couples in Bangalore? Is it safe to assume that a huge number of those working couples are parents? Is it safe to assume that a huge number of these parents leave their kid at daycare? Yes, yes and yes.

In this huge number of working parents that leave the kid at day care, is it reasonable to assume we can find at least one couple that is too busy with work that they have no time for their child? My answer would be not just one, many. But let’s just mark the answer as yes. In this huge number of working, day-care dependent parents with at least one uncaring set of parents, would you say the ratio of moms picking up the kids to dads is more than one (as in more moms pick the kids up than dads)? My guess would be yes.

What then exactly is the problem with the story? That it accuses moms of picking up the kids instead of dads? Hello, crazy people. That is the reality. More moms pick their kids up from day care for various reasons: they miss their kid, they may be paid less and flexible at work, they may be paid more and still choose to pick the kid, the dad is more busy etc etc. There may be days where dads fill in when needed but this is the reality.

“That woman fell down on the ground.”
“How dare you say the woman fell? What about the man standing next to her?”

Yes, this is as ridiculous as accusing gravity.

Jokes circulate everywhere. Blog posts are written everyday. People are ridiculed every hour – men, women, children. Wars are fought every minute. Blood sheds happen every second. Smart thing here is to choose your battles. Don’t hang on to every word of everything. Every thing is not about everything.

There was a popular joke that was going around once:

The patient’s family gathered to hear what the specialists had to say. “Things don’t look good. The only chance is a brain transplant. This is an experimental procedure. It might work, but the bad news is that brains are very expensive, and you will have to pay the costs yourselves.” “Well, how much does a brain cost?” asked the relatives. “For a male brain, $500,000. For a female brain, $200,000.” Some of the younger male relatives tried to look shocked, but the men nodded in understanding, and a few actually smirked. Then the patient’s daughter asked, “Why the difference in price between male brains and female brains?” “A standard pricing practice,” said the head of the team. “Women’s brains have to be marked down because they are used.”

If you were able to laugh at that joke, it is unwarranted on your part to spew hatred on the blogger randomly. You could very well be a misandrist. If you were not able to laugh at that joke, even unintentionally, something is wrong with you. I pity you? What more can I say?

If you have made it this far in this mysterious land of misogyny and misandry, may be you wouldn’t mind traveling further to find out what awaits in your destiny. Mortal soul, travel on, but tread carefully for there are so many hateful conclusions, hasty implications and foggy brain activity ahead that will make you wish for a genderless land of the future (Clearly, I’ve been watching too many episodes of Merlin).

What follows is a judgement. I am judging certain people based on the values and beliefs I have formed over the course of past one year. I am calling them out. I am saying what they are doing is messed up. I am saying I have very little respect for such people. It is my personal judgement. You are free to apply that to your own life and wonder or ignore.

I am discounting for this discussion the parents that are in a first world country where there are some of the best day care facilities. I am also not passing judgements on the following categories:

  1. If you are a mother that works along side the father or alone to make ends meet (I have the utmost respect for you, your courage and resilience) – Minimum wager, call center  employee, house maids etc for instance.
  2. If you are the grown up child of working parents of the previous generation (I have very little information to make a judgement here, so this subset is not included in my arguments).
  3. If you are a working woman with no kids (Your world does not coincide with mine, so I don’t have any judgements)
  4. If you are an extremely skilled woman that is changing the lives around you, making life better for the society, saving people etc (Again, I have the utmost respect for you and hey, can I get an interview?) – Social activists, teachers, physicians etc.
  5. If you have a great support system for your kid while you are away at work (As long as the kids learn the essentials, who am I to judge?)

Just so we are clear on this, in #4, I am not talking about any social worker or random activist or all teachers. I am talking about the likes of Sunitha, Wangari and Jane. I am also not talking about IT jobs. Jobs that thrive on sub-par practices and mind numbing policies only to serve the corporate greed of an overseas company. THAT is not changing lives, in case you didn’t know. I have been on that side and I am not fooled by “This is the most fulfilling job” speech even for a microsecond. Either you are an ignoramus in denial or you don’t want to admit it. Or perhaps you are just greedy.

There is nothing more funnier to me than being called a misogynist by bloggers that are discussing pumping breast milk and how even fathers can feed the child just to drive the point that dads can also do what moms do. DUH! You invent a machine and give instructions to take milk out of the fridge, heat it and feed the baby, that’s possible. Anything’s possible. But that’s not the question. What is needed here? What is required? Mom’s sick and away at the hospital or the family cannot survive unless the mom works – valid cases. Otherwise, why on earth would you go buy yourself organic milk, instead promote frozen milk for the baby?

Dads should help out in chores. Dads should play with their kids. Dads should teach their kids. Dads should treat moms well. Raising kids is the parents’ responsibility. Not just mom’s or dad’s but both. A woman’s life doesn’t end when she gets married or has kids. A woman has all the right to chase her dream as much as a man does. It is the woman’s choice to work or stay at home after having kids. It is also a woman’s choice whether to have any kids at all.  

Agreed. No debate here.

[Hint: Anytime you have the urge to say “What about men?” or “What about dads?”, please add the word dad or men to the relevant sentence next to the words moms or women. That’s what I intended.]

Fact: There are vile men in this world that neglect their duties as much as there are vile women that do.
Opinion: Just because there is a vile man, it is not right when the woman says “I am going to be vile. Why, he gets to be that way, why can’t I?” Grow up, will you? The reverse applies too in case you are waiting to pounce. When my son does something wrong in any situation I make it an exercise for him and me to find out what he did wrong to contribute to that wrongness even when there are other people that might have done wrong. It is important for me that he first figures out what he did wrong before finding the overall wrongness. The same applies to issues in society as well. As a woman, because I know my gender better, I am harder on women in general and myself. It is very important to list out what women are doing wrong in this society before entering the boxing ring against men.

Fact: Having a baby changes women. Men – may be, may be not.
Opinion: Stop bullshitting about how things don’t have to change. Physical changes, mental changes, emotional changes – they’re all part of pregnancy and the aftermath. Postpartum depression as well. Workplace is an avenue to socialize with little to no effort. Company of others, being away from the baby eases that pain. With more effort for a socially adept woman, the same is possible at home. But you are not working because of that. You are most likely working because the society has been telling you that you are worthless unless you work. That SAHMs are inferior to men that work. You have given in to that belief and want to prove that you are in fact worthy.

Fact: Kids’ don’t need a doctorate mom to grow up with values, they need a kind and compassionate mom and their time.
Opinion: I am not asking you to burn your certificates here. I am not asking you to quit your job right away. I am saying even the illiterate mom can be the best mom in the world. Kindness is what matters. If you have the time to be foolish with your kids, play about, goof around and enjoy while working outside, you are the luckiest mom in the world. Go for it. But reality is that women are stuck in square jobs at the expense of their kids and believe that is what is needed for them to be empowered.

I am not here to try and convert all working moms to SAHMs. I don’t have an agenda. I’m trying to bust myths, spot ramblers just so the focus is maintained and point out the delusions (successfully or not, I don’t know).

Here are a few examples:

  1. I am very fulfilled working in an IT job.
  2. I want my kid to learn through me that it is possible to chase your dreams.
  3. What about gay couples? Are you saying they cannot be good parents?
  4. Sowmya clearly thinks “blah bla bla bla bloo…”
  5. What happens to SAHMs when they are divorced or widowed?
  6. What about the man? Why the discrimination and focus only on women? Why is the kid  choosing to forget only the mom’s face?

So much more…

IT job is anything but fulfilling. It is where creativity dies a painful death. It sure is a way to make money though. If you are really chasing your childhood dream of say, becoming a great teacher or building a business and doing it successfully, hats off. If not, IT job is NOT a dream. Sorry, but it’s true.
Gay couples, seriously? What is wrong with you? Is that even a point of discussion here? I  feel like a politician that gets sucked into these droning issues. What is the relevance here?
If you know clearly how I think, wow, do I have a clone out there? But wait, this clone is spewing nonsense, nothing close to what I’m suggesting. So clearly, you DON’T know how I think. You clearly think that you know clearly what I think :). As in zilch.
Divorced women, widows etc. I didn’t know we were discussing them here. But I will indulge myself here. Again taking this IT example (Clearly, I have something against IT, don’t I?;-)), here I was thinking that both mom and dad are after money. Sheep-mentality of buying a house, owning the latest car, new gadgets etc while leaving the kid at daycare. How wrong of me? The mom and dad are in fact thinking about divorce in future and the man dying (metaphorically which he already might be, given that he works for an IT company. Clearly, I have something against IT, don’t I?;-))
This question is seriously hilarious. “What about the kid forgetting the dad’s face?”
Hello again crazy people! In case you didn’t notice, the dad is lousy. The dad doesn’t pick up the mom’s call. The dad sends an SMS message. He hasn’t seen his kid for two days either, may be even longer. The dad is not picking up the kid, the mom is. Isn’t it obvious that the kid will not remember the dad’s face? You need an announcement in a golden platter with trumpets and drums reinstating that?

Oh by the way, given that the writer of the post says the mom is there to pick up the kid, why aren’t all the fast-food judgementalists taking it as a good thing about the mom? The mom is there to pick up the kid (granted it’s after 2 days), the dad isn’t. So isn’t the mom better than the dad? Isn’t the mom more responsible than the dad? Reverse the situation where mom is busy in a meeting, dad is there to pick up the kid and the kid cannot remember dad’s face. The issue still stands. This is a lousy family with priorities messed up. My statements are still valid.

Oh wait, I’m sure you can still find fault there saying “How dare you suggest that women are all ignoring husband’s calls, neglecting the kid and working instead? Are you saying working women cannot be good moms?” It is possible many commenters would do that as well. You can find fault with anything if you want to. It’s a great time-pass, you know. Self-fulfilling prophecies!

When I say “The problem here is not just the mom, not just the dad. It is the attitude. Once you have a baby you need to give up certain things, even if it is for a short while”, you reply  (and I’m paraphrasing) “What the hell? How can you ask me to not work, give up my career for 15, 16 years?”

Where did 15, 16 come from? Definitely, not me. I am not responsible for your short-sightedness or ghosts that rattle in your mind. In fact you are lying when you deny having to give up. All parents give up so many things the moment they become a parent, this is the universal truth. Arguing that is plain idiotic.

It is not my responsibility that you choose to project one of my statements and form your own conclusions and worse of all, assume that is what I said. Curb the insecurities, lower your defenses and try to analyze what I am really saying and whether it applies to you or not.

Here’s the deal:

Does your kid greet even the watchman in your building the same way as she greets her teacher? Boy or girl, is your kid taught to pitch in with the housework? Is your kid taught to thank the person that is helping out? Is your kid compassionate? Can your kid respect both genders in the family equally? Are you trying these things among your busy schedule be it at home or work? If the answer is yes, then my response shouldn’t bother you. If not, it is my intention to judge you.

A kid that laughs at another’s misery or hits other kids to get his way is NOT taught well. It is not the kids’ fault. It is the responsibility of the parents. This is similar to you throwing garbage everywhere when I strive hard to create a clean surrounding. You are polluting my environment.

Given that situation and the fact that you are working for an IT company (or substitute any similar job) when you can very well do without it but choose to chase money out of greed, I am openly judging you and saying your priorities are messed up. One commenter asked “What is wrong with women working just for the sake of money?” Everything. Especially when you have enough of it. That’s precisely what’s wrong with the world now.

As a woman and a mom, I can better relate to you and I am going to tell you woman-to-woman, honestly, to quit that job and take care of your kid and teach him/her good values if you are not passionate about what you are doing (Most IT people are not. Clearly, I have something against IT, don’t I? ;-)). I am not going to tell your husband to do that. That is your job, you figure out what needs to be done. I don’t care which one of you quits the job to spend time with the kid. I only care about how kids are growing up in this fast-food judgementalist society, preferably as the non fast-food generation.

I see more working women around me that have no time for things that matter than the ones that do. If there is a cloud where things are better, good for you. From where I stand I am not able to see the cloud.

P.S: Even if you do not agree with everything I’ve written, do yourself a favor and ask the blogger a simple question, “Hey, do you hate women? I’m just wondering.”
Not just this blogger but any article you find in future and anytime you have this urge to jump at someone’s throat instead of being curious about what/why things went wrong, what could be the intention of the person etc. It would save everyone so much time and energy. 

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20 thoughts on “Every thing is not about everything

  1. You have a right to a opinion, and so do others, but i wonder why you think an IT job is not creative. It’s one of the most creative jobs i can think of. of course if you were sitting in a cube and mind numbingly coding to someone else’s random spec sure. But i don’t think one can generalize and say IT is boring. Just like i cant generalize and say working in a shop is boring.
    Different stokes for diff folks. and i read the article you mentioned in IHM’s blog and all i felt after that, was where in the world is the Dad, why is the mom picking up a child after 2 straight days with no sleep. did the dad die???
    and having kids is a choice and i think everyone who wants one should have one irrespective of if they work in IT or not. yes you should care for a child if you have one again who’s to say what caring means, diff levels for diff parents, how i choose to care for my child may not be the way someone else does and we always find the other person lacking.
    and i lastly i certainly dont think working or not working in any field has anything to do with empowering women or raising kids or any of that. It’s just a choice , plain and simple. I dont think mom make better nurturers or dads make better earners.. We all have diff opinions 🙂

    — just an mom of 2 great kids , with Full on IT career , making tons of money and proud of it. 🙂

    • Mythili,
      I know that others have an equal right to opinion just like I do. A lot of people do not understand it is a two way street though. “There are abusive SAHMs” is a judgement. I am hardly offended by it. “If you write about moms picking up kids from day care, you are a misogynist.” I am not offended by this judgement, just disheartened. Everyone is judging everyone. So why the uproar when it is my personal opinion?

      I am not calling IT boring, I am saying IT companies are where creativity dies a slow painful death. I can keep myself amused, entertained and occupied the whole day in an IT company. But that doesn’t equal creativity.

      I appreciate good technology. I have first hand information on what sweat, blood and tears it takes for a stand-alone developer to create an unequivocal, uncompromisable high quality product. That is not what Indian IT companies are doing. They are minions working for a corporation, big or small. They are churning out mediocre software under a crazy deadline compromising on quality and proud of being a third rate professional. Servicing is different from creating. High quality service stands out from a mediocre one. Two kinds of people that I know exist in big software companies: Coders that have practiced suppressive thinking in order to survive or a managerial level manipulator that gets ahead at the expense of other people’s misery. There may or may not be other types but they are small fishes among giant sharks, mostly ineffective.

      There are Indian IT companies that create. But I guess they are mostly small level independent developers and do not fall under the big IT company banner.

      When people are in 20s with no responsibility and no kids they are free to do what they want. The same qualifies as irresponsibility and disregard for society if it is happening beyond 30s with kids in the picture. Money, not passion is the deciding factor in India. Obviously everyone is there to make a quick buck and consequentially no one cares.

      “Buying vegetables that are laden with pesticides is harmful for your kids. Grow organic vegetables. That way you teach your kids self sustenance and eat healthy” – if someone
      were to say that to me, just because I am not growing my own vegetables, it would be stupid of me to get defensive and say “I am pissed off that you are judging me for using store bought vegetables”.
      No one grows up dreaming of slogging away in TCS or Infosys. Substitute any equivalent company/profession and the fact still remains.

      Care for your child however you see fit, that’s each parents’ choice. But there are certain rules. These are not my personal opinion, they are just the way things should be. For instance empathy, compassion, kindness, convictions, morals, tolerance, sharing, passion etc. These are not for debate. These qualities, all kids must have. Adults too. But do they? I see IT couples (or any other couple that is after money and not true love for what they do) give in to mediocre practices at work. They have no time for their kids end of the day and week ends go away so quickly. This is the reality I see around me every day. Exceptions are very rare.

      I’m sorry to bring up another commenter’s statement but it seems relevant here. She said “I have empathy, compassion because my working mom and dad taught me”. No, you don’t have empathy, sorry to burst your bubble. If you did, you wouldn’t be hating a random blogger and labelling him a misogynist. So there goes the argument.
      If you decide to censure someone, it is your responsibility to either make sure you are doing everything right or at least trying in your life. If not, be ok with people censuring you. It’s only fair.

      Which brings me to the P.S, my postscript in the article. That’s my response for all your other statements. Go ahead and read it again. Ask questions. To yourself first, then others.

      • Soumya,

        I agree you ave a right to opinion, but I also don’t agree that working in IT means death to creativity, maybe for you. A lot of people get a lt of diff things out of working, creativity is inherent in everything we do, we can all make a diff. And I don’t agree that people shouldn’t run after money, they should run after whatever gives them happiness. To me children are a part of life, nor my entire life. And actually IMO teens need parens around rather than babies. Teens in fact do better with a parent around, so it’s more imp to be around in your 40 than 30.
        I think people had a problem with you judging whole groups 🙂
        1. You came across as saying women in IT are not good moms.
        2. You don’t think people should go after money.
        Not sure if you meant to or not.

        Fair enough, that’s your opinion, and I respect you for it.
        However I think women should always work, never sit at home, financial independence s a must for both men and women. It’s more imp than marriage, kids or anything else. Even if the husbands earn millions the wife should have a career and income and life .

        A d I love IT. Love the creativity, love the money, I think the money helps a lot in exposing my kids to the world, after all I want to show them the , world and its wonders not sit at home with mommy and love. Ad I certainly am not going to stop my rise in career just because I’m a woman and I gave birth to kids. It’s not or the other, we an have it all.

      • Creativity is inherent in everything we do. True. But IT companies do not exist to promote it and if money is the first priority no one bothers about creativity or passion. How many people create their own product if they are so creative and talented? How many just-out-of-college graduates with all the time in the world venture in to independence? Oh no, no time for that. They are not _that_ creative or talented. Unfortunately what people think gives them happiness is money and that’s what they run after.

        Being a SAHM or a working mom, kids are not an individual’s entire life. The definition of SAHM does not have to be “housewives that gossip all day with neighbors and do nothing but cook, clean and serve”. That assumption is may be why all the women over at IHM are fuming. They are probably thinking “How dare you suggest I sit at home and do nothing and rot when I have all these qualifications?”. But that’s not at all what I am suggesting.

        Babies, toddlers, kindergartners, pre-teens, teens all need an adult helping them figure things out and guiding them towards the right choices.

        
1. You came across as saying women in IT are not good moms.
        
2. You don’t think people should go after money.


        #1 I did not say.
        #2 I did but not about surviving, providing for kids etc, only about greed that blinds to the extent they lose focus and purpose in life (as in leaving the kid for two days at a day care, as exaggerated as it is).

        I appreciate you wanting to show your kids the world.

        Kids don’t have to be restricted to home. Love and world travel are not exclusive.

        P.S: Nice blog you have, loved the latest on bad advice.

  2. I agree that calling the original author a misogynist was really uncalled for. But the reason why so many people found that post upsetting is because it reinforces the stereotype that working women cannot be good parents. Which is repeated ad nauseum as if it is a fact. Meanwhile working men are almost never judged to be bad parents just because they are working.

    “Either men are ignorant and inexperienced, hence incapable of empathizing with sensitive women’s issues or they are not. Which is it?” The answer is SOME men and SOME women are capable of putting themself in the other person’s shoes and empathizing, and some are not. So it is perfectly possible that a father can teach his children that it is wrong, for example, to grope a woman even if he has never been groped himself. The ability to empathize is not determined by gender.

    No one is saying it is not the reality that women carry the bulk of the burden of childcare…they are simply questioning why this is so. Except for childbirth and breastfeeding, there is no other aspect of parenting that is biologically impossible of being done by men…so why is childcare seen as a woman’s job? When men and women have the same mental capabilities, why is a wife’s career seen as secondary to a husband’s? The post doesn’t explicitly state these assumptions, but they are implied and it is those incorrect assumptions which are being
    argued against.

    Random points:
    – Different people find fulfilment in different things, and if someone finds joy in their job who are you to judge it not worthy of respect compared to raising a child?
    – SAHM’s are not inferior OR superior to working moms, it is just a personal preference and I disgree with anyone who thinks otherwise.
    – I agree that excessive greed is not good but wanting money is not a bad thing! Ideally we’d all survive on love and kindness, but to pay bills, save for retirement/rainy day, in case of an accident etc. money is necessary.

    Sorry this turned into an essay! I think I agree with some of your points. But it comes across like you think women are inherently better at childcare, and expect that if an opportunity presents itself a working mom should jump at the chance to become a SAHM, regardless of what her job means to her (use of talents, joy, money, security etc.). Which is simply not fair, especially given that you don’t seem to have these expectations for working dads…that working dads have no time for the things that matter…

    • “Working men are almost never judged to be bad parents” – So, write an article about how working men are bad parents and educate. Circulate that in FB. All the women from IHM blog will blindly upvote and like the post. Do not penalize a stranger for that.

      “So many people find that post upsetting is because it reinforces the stereotype that working women cannot be good parents” – You are wrong. That post is merely giving a snapshot of one lousy IT family in a lousy scoiety. Family not women. Reinforcing may have happened in Facebook. Go burn Facebook, not the author.

      I have noticed that almost always these “some men” that are supposedly sensitive are the commenters’ own family members and any man showing a little bit of ignorance is evil. No man can fully understand the women’s issues unless a woman close to him enlightens, much like the way women need the help of men in understanding men’s issues. Men have issues too, unfortunately 🙂

      “The ability to empathize is not determined by gender” – You’re right. It is determined by whether someone is open to listening.

      “When men and women have the same mental capabilities, why is a wife’s career seen as secondary to a husband’s? The post doesn’t explicitly state these assumptions, but they are implied and it is those incorrect assumptions which are being argued against.” – The mom is picking up the kid in the post. What made you conclude that the author of the post is saying wife’s career is secondary? That the wife’s career is secondary IS the reality. Let’s fight that. The way it is being fought now in India is by women taking up jobs to make it seem like things are equal. But it is still NOT equal. Women end up doing the housework anyway. How is that helping women?

      I am not claiming superiority just because I have an opinion on IT couples and messed up priorities. If someone sane and rational points out to me when I’m wrong, I will consider it and change myself if needed. (Opinions change and they should, that’s the sign of growth. Two years back I hated India, a year ago I liked India, now I might be neutral, tomorrow it might be something else). I am not saying survive on love and kindness, be poor and hungry to help others.

      Judging is evolutionary. We judge and pick and choose in order to go forward. I have every right to judge. Just like you or anyone else. What I am not doing is forcing my opinion. I am merely stating it. That it seems to affect some people and poke on their insecurities is not my fault.

      There is no such thing as excessive greed. Just greed. That’s exactly what I consider wrong with India (at least the cities, the way I see it). I never suggested “give up retirement money, live on the sidewalks etc”. I am against the I-have-to-own-the-latest-car-latest-gadget culture. I am against the I-have-to-buy-the-biggest-house-even -though-I-will-not-have-time-to-live-in-it mentality. I am against the culture of valuing money-making more than shaping a child’s future. It doesn’t have to be women, but someone has to bring up kids. If the perils of today have any hope of perishing, it is through the next generation. It is too important to be passed up for the sake of money.

      “it comes across like you think women are inherently better at childcare, and expect that if an opportunity presents itself a working mom should jump at the chance to become a SAHM, regardless of what her job means to her (use of talents, joy, money, security etc.)” – Women are better suited in certain situations is what I’m saying. That does not imply women must only stick to childcare. That also does not imply men should not do childcare.
      I suggest you write your thoughts on working dads, dos and dont’s in your blog. I will be happy to publish it in mine as well. It will be my pleasure analyzing that and providing my views. Let’s handle one thing at a time.

      Essays, discussions, criticisms are always welcome. Thanks for visiting.

      • My point was not that working men (or women) are bad parents. It depends on the individual, working or not. The problem is that while women have gained the right to education and careers, men have not picked up their share of housework and childcare. And society in general does not expect them to!

        Within that snapshot of an IT family, a working mother’s neglect of the child is mockingly pointed out, while no mention is made of the working father. The father is conspicious by his absence. Obviously you have interpreted it as nothing more than fiction, but I have personally heard similar judgements made about kids put in creches or daycares, and it is ALWAYS the mother being judged (poor children, why did she have kids at all?, she should not be so career-minded, he earns enough money etc.). So what I would like to see is acknowledgement that men are equally responsible for childcare, and judgement on BOTH parents for neglecting their child to the extent that the kid doesn’t recognize them.

        You are right that often work does not offer good work-life balance. Office hours are also designed around the no longer true assumption that someone is home taking care of the house and kids. I feel this is something that will gradually improve over time though, the way worker’s rights have improved over time (re:child labour, bonded labour). I also see what you’re saying about consumerism but what seems like a frivolous ‘greedy’ expense to you (e.g. vacations) might not be to someone else right?

        I do not believe that men and women are so different that they cannot understand each other’s issues without it being carefully explained. All it takes is some abstract thinking and imagining yourself in another person’s shoes!

        Maybe where our thoughts differ is in what exactly constitutes shaping a child’s future. To me it is not round-the-clock parental presence, but the quality of time spent with the child. By both parents. I have no problem with creches or daycare or school – parent and child being together 24/7 is good for neither the parent nor the child.

        “Women are better suited in certain situations is what I’m saying.” What situations might those be?

      • “So what I would like to see is acknowledgement that men are equally responsible for childcare, and judgement on BOTH parents for neglecting their child to the extent that the kid doesn’t recognize them.”

        bbdlite, what exactly are women looking for when they say acknowledgement? Why do women need someone else’s acknowledgement if their own life is all hunky dory, be it a working mom or SAHM?

        If a working mom is pissed off that her husband is not picking up the slack in terms of childcare, household chores etc it is up to her to convince her husband. If he is convincible, that it is, even though the society has encouraged his actions, or inactions for that matter. It is not fair to accuse every other man walking on the street of injustice or worse, misogyny.

        I was disheartened at first that a bunch of women think a random blogger is a misogynist. Now, I am appalled that these same women are calling me a misogynist just because they hear something that is different from what they are used to and worst of all, accusing me of judging them when they are doing the same thing.

        Let’s consider the possibility that a working father believes, for instance, that his wife has to cook and serve for him, without caring an ounce that his wife also works and returns home tired. Let’s say on top of it, he is not spending time with his child.

        It may be true that he is behaving that way because the society reinforces that belief. But it is up to the wife to confront him, talk sense and give ultimatums if needed until they agree on what’s fair. It may be true that the in-laws or any other culprits fuel this kind of attitude. It is still up to the wife to confront him, talk sense and give ultimatums if needed. It may be true that movies reinforce such discriminations. It is still up to the wife to confront him, talk sense and give ultimatums if needed.

        I am intentionally being repetitive to drive the point that change is in the hands of women, at least in their own homes. What happens in reality is women don’t actively work towards change, either because of helplessness, lack of support, fear of society and implications, insecurity about the future etc.

        Why are the feminists that spring on a random post not collaborating and working towards such solutions? How exactly does it affect your universe when one man (who also happens to have a family of his own) says something about some random woman Mrs. B?

        You are either in denial or the only enlightened woman that can “abstractly think” and “imagine” gender issues. If you can list at least 5 major issues faced by men in society, what difficulties they face, without consulting anyone, on your own, I salute you. But I highly doubt that.

        Quality better than quantity, true. All SAH parents are not with the kid 24×7, that is your assumption. SAH parents can also avail the facilities of part-time care, classes etc. Did that ever occur to you?

        Women are better suited in certain situations:
        Consider cases where children have a disability. The parents either live in a third world where there are no caring centers and/or one parent has to be with the child for medical reasons. The mother is better suited in this case. In fact that is the reality. Theoretically, any person can be with the kid, but who is better suited (as in what makes more sense considering all factors) is the question.

  3. Sowmya,
    Your tone in your comment at IHM’s blog and your post here reek of this thought that kids with working moms cannot be well adjusted. Who is to decide what is a good reason for a mom to work? What is a good reason to you is not a good reason for me. As a woman, making tons of money is more important to me than a super satisfying job that pays me crap. It is with this extra income that I can probably afford great life experiences for my kids. My mother was always a working woman and let me tell you this – I do not remember who raised me for those first few years. Once I started school at 3, it didn’t matter anyway. I had a safe environment to grow up in and that is all mattered. All I can think of is how grateful I am to mom for showing me that you can raise a great family while securing their financial future.

    As a matter of fact, I’ve found daycare kids to be very well adjusted because they’re used to interacting and sharing with kids of their own age and are used to following a structure from a young age as opposed to mollycoddled kids who can easily manipulate mommy with a puppy face- don’t tell me you’re totally immune to that, I am sure all of us have been on both sides of the fence. Is your anecdotal evidence more valid than mine? There’s no way to say and that’s why it’s crucial to no judge anyone for their choices. The only thing IHM validly points out is that while the work life balance is rather shoddy, it’s not fair to place the onus on the mom alone, as the article does. I do agree with you when you say that people are way too absorbed with careers and don’t have time for the smaller things in life..

    • K,
      Have you may be paused just for a second and considered the possibility that perhaps what reeks is the (wrong) conclusions you (and perhaps other women in IHM blog) draw from my words?

      If for instance, you are an empathetic person and you’re teaching your kids compassion, your kids don’t give in to jealousy, you are working as well what exactly is it that is forcing you here to my blog and comment?

      Don’t take it the wrong way, any comment is good for my self esteem but what I’m not able to make sense is if a person is happy with the way their life is progressing, why bother with what others say?

      I don’t know if I should be flattered or feel bad that some women are treating me like I have a gavel in my hand and saying “I judge you, you are going to hell, I do not judge you, you are going to heaven”.

      Are you trying to convince me? Do you want me to say that making tons of money is good? I will not say that. Making tons of money at the expense of values is never good. People making tons of money are not helping the society with their money. They are helping themselves, in all wrong ways. The kids seem to be wrongly competitive, take pleasure in others’ misery and excel at blame games because that’s what the society is teaching them. Again, if your kids are not that way and you are not that way, why are you even bothered?

      Kids act up, misbehave, throw tantrums and do unspeakable things. Even if the society is to blame, it is up to the parents to shape them up as individuals. Not throw them back in the same society (day cares, schools etc) and expect miracles. What’s more laughable is that the parents blame the kids like it’s their fault (much like the manager in the article).

      I have no intention of commenting on your past or personal life. Please read the categories I specifically said I will not judge. I am not here to take one woman at a time and say who’s more right or wrong. I am afraid I don’t have the time or skill for it and hence hardly helpful.

      “…mollycoddled kids who can easily manipulate mommy with a puppy face- don’t tell me you’re totally immune to that, I am sure all of us have been on both sides of the fence. Is your anecdotal evidence more valid than mine? There’s no way to say and that’s why it’s crucial to no judge anyone for their choices.” – See, I am not taking offense here just because you have seen more manipulative kids raised by SAHMs. Your observation may be right. May be kids of the SAHMs you have seen are mollycoddled. As for me, it is not about giving in to puppy face, it is about when and why I give in. I might have given in to one bite of chocolate even though the rules are no chocolate on week days but I am the same person that will drill some sense into my kid when I see any sign of jealousy or ungratefulness. I know what I’m doing.

      Judging is part of the human make-up, K. We do it all day long everyday. That’s not wrong. Forcing opinions is wrong. Bias is wrong. I am certain I am not doing that. I will not treat an IT mom or dad I come across, shabbily just because I have this opinion about IT companies.
      I am not deluding myself into changing women one at a time. I am doing the least I can do, state my observations and opinions and hope some one makes sense of it, may be if I’m lucky inspired by it.

      • You know, I am pleasantly surprised at how civilly you talk about major issues of contention. I guess we’ll just agree to disagree about what we each value and hope that we can all raise a generation of respectful and responsible young adults 🙂

        You’ve got a great blog here…I hope to keep reading your take on such issues – whether I agree with you or not is immaterial.

      • “You’ve got a great blog here…I hope to keep reading your take on such issues – whether I agree with you or not is immaterial” – That means a lot. Thank you very much!

        It would be a sad day if I am surrounded by people that just agree with me.

        “hope that we can all raise a generation of respectful and responsible young adults” – Let’s toast to that!

  4. Sowmya,
    ( I think you know me, the newly crowned “misogynist” at IHM’s blog 🙂 )
    I think this blog of yours would have been a better follow up than the one I wrote. I even saw your response at IHM’s blog and how many women pounced even on you. It feels relieving after seeing all those nasty comments that there are at least a few women who think rationally and realistically instead of jumping into conclusions and asking “Why not men?” for anything and everything.

    Just like women fear going into strange places full of dangerous men in real life, I felt the same at IHM’s blog. Full of vengeful women waiting to spew venom on any of the male species! I hope I wont stumble into that dangerous place again 🙂

    • Pavan,
      
IHM’s blog post mentioned that your article was shared by a FB friend. I guess you had my benefit of doubt just for that reason when I clicked on the link 🙂

      I’m finding this extremely funny. Some women are calling me a misogynist, one says I am too conditioned. Funniest is one woman asking me to live in Afghanistan, like that’s supposed to offend me 🙂

      “Just like women fear going into strange places full of dangerous men in real life, I felt the same at IHM’s blog” – Someone has to pay for all the atrocities done to women throughout history, right 😉

  5. Excellent post! your well balanced approach of looking at things is really commendable and I agree with all of your views , I can’t see any reason why anyone should feel offended or uncomfortable with your thoughts.

    But I won’t blame them, our modern society has conditioned us to often condemn any out of the box thinking. Its start early in schools , where kids natural learning ability, creativity, imagination, curiosity are shunned for rote learning; and kids hating school is considered as normal behavior. Just look at the sad faces of little toddlers going to school, thinking of excuses to save themselves from hell.

    “We are educating people out of their creativity,” – Sir Ken Robinson.

    I think IT jobs or any other cube farm jobs can never be fulfilling, because they can’t nourish the human soul as art, music, dance, theater or humanitarian work does. But unfortunately they don’t generate money, are not beneficial for economy and GDP, just another sign of a dysfunctional society. The latest string of 5 suicides within 3 months in infosys alone is enough to determine how stressful and dehumanizing IT jobs can be. The fact is Big business doesn’t care about people or environment, it is always about profits. So, SAHM’s the modern work culture is not healthy…so no need to feel bad that you are not working. But their must be ample opportunities for women who want to work. Money is god in this compassion less society, if that changes someday; no one will continue that wage slavery.

    I have always supported equal rights for women, I even protested for a strong anti rape bill after the horrific dec 16 gangrape. But I feel that nowadays, some so called “feminists” are acting out of hatred and vengeance, quick knee jerk reactions and name calling on every slightest disagreement and misunderstanding is a disturbing trend.

    Caring and Inculcating good values in their kids should be the topmost priority of both mother and father, but If you ask a child who do you like mama or papa, most children’s will say mama. They like mother’s more may be because they require motherly love and nurturing at this stage than guidance from their fathers. And no maid and day care facility can do what a mother can also women have better intuitive capabilities then men, they understand the needs of child better, and I think based on that working women should set their priorities. Father’s should also take equal part in parenting whenever child needs them.

    Running after “more money” and engaging in mindless consumerism is bad for people and the planet itself. And seriously you won’t die without that I phone….

    “Are these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?”
    ― Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby

    Sowmya, I believe you are on the right path and the world need more women like you. I have always considered women as the strong pillars of human civilization, and women like you are playing a big role in changing the way people look at life. And I admire you for that.

    Lastly I want to share a wonderful french movie here called “The green beautiful” aka “la belle verte” it revolves around some ideas about how a ideal human society should live…here it is. I hope you will like it…

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, Vikas. My approach is not from my thoughts alone. It is a result of observations, experiences and anecdotes from people around me as well.

      I appreciate you taking your time to write your thoughts on the topic, it is very hopeful. The quotes, too.

      “If you ask a child who do you like mama or papa…” – That discussion might be better done through a post of its own but to quickly comment on that, I think Indian society and Indian parents do stupid things like making a kid choose between mom and dad. It is possible that kids say they like mom better because they spend more time with mom than dad. That is not an indication of anything. Like I said, I think it is idiocy from the parents’s side. But I agree that early on, an infant relies mostly on nourishment which the mom can best provide.

      Different kids need different things at different times. My neighbors toddler son always wants to spend time with his father. Another little girl I know tells her mom that she doesn’t like her and likes only father. That’s probably because the mother spends majority of time with her, hence disciplining her whereas the father does fun things because he spends very limited time.

      Thanks for sharing that video link. I will definitely watch it.

  6. I have not read the other comments and am not sure if they are bashing your thoughts or supporting it. I work in It and even it it is not the most fulfilling job in the whole wide world, it is not the worst as well. It is a job that gives you a chance to keep on learning, it need aesthetic skills and logic, at least developers like us do. But then it is a job and a job makes a person independent. Yes, the point of the post is working parents.I am a mother and I leave my daughter at day care, not without my share of guilt. But it is not the worst thing ,you know. they are like schools where qualified people look after your kids and teach them things.My daughter, I would proudly say interacts other kids of her age, is well behaved and loves her day care and her friends there. i do try to spend time with her after work, so does my husband.I won’t say we are the best parents, but we are not the worst too,or so i think.But I do agree that in my family, as a mother, I am the primary care giver.But then my husband does his share too.I acn choose not to work, because my husbands salary will support us three, but earning helps me to support my family in small ways, invest better for my daughters future and it I believe will motivate my daughter to be independent in her future, like my Mother did. That does not mean that stay home mums are wrong, I would say it would take a great deal of self less ness to chose not to work for your kids.Also about the post in question, I too agree that it did not deserve all those bashings.I , being a person who left her kid at the day care evry single day ,did not find it offensive.I did comment the same in the IHM’s blog. But then every body has their right of opinion and I believe that blog is a great platform for women to discuss their issues, it had make changes in my outlook and attitudes, I am sure you would agree with me.
    On a different note, i loved the language and style of your post.Applause for the great writing:)

    • confusedhumanity,

      “But then it is a job and a job makes a person independent” – Very true and practical.

      My point was not to single out IT and call that the only unfulfilling job in the world. I was bothered about wrong things being attacked and irrelevant non-issues being made into issues. I could guess that none of the bashers read the original or follow post and gave it even a minute of their thought (I strongly believe it is extremely irresponsible for adults to do that) . We could instead be discussing about the things that would make an impact and solve at least a percentage of issues brought up by women.

      My point was not to say SAH parents are the best parents in the world and the most fulfilled. They are not. SAH or working, I think moms find a way to be guilty :). My point was not to bring down all day cares in India. SAHPs use the facility of day cares too.

      As for the comments in IHM blog, I think a woman named fem called my views misogynistic, a woman named aarti asked me to pack up to Afghanistan. None of it offended me or left me fuming only because I think know myself very well – good and bad. But it did leave me feeling helpless, as in “why am i not able to get my valid points across?”

      “I believe that blog is a great platform for women to discuss their issues” – Absolutely! So many heads together can make the impossible, possible. Let’s start using the power of blog and writing to come up with solutions. But for that, women need to choose their battles.

      Among the bashers that refuse to see the big picture, comments like yours that are grounded and respectful, make things very hopeful. Thanks very much for the encouraging words.

  7. (That reply thread was looking too long)

    I think you are absolutely right about this “What happens in reality is women don’t actively work towards change, either because of helplessness, lack of support, fear of society and implications, insecurity about the future etc.” Do you see that one of the major reasons has to do with what society will think?

    So I think part of the solution for these unequal gender roles IS calling out inequality whenever we see it in society (i.e. in that IT story). Whenever society reinforces these beliefs, whenever in-laws or other culprits fuel this attitude, whenever movies reinforce this discrimination, it needs to be called out and discouraged. These beliefs work insidiously like marketing, the same ideas repeated over and over again take root in the mind. The group being stereotyped too believes and behaves accordingly. And the people spouting these beliefs may not even mean any harm, they are just repeating what they have heard before.

    It would be very selfish of me to ignore such things just because my life is hunky dory. No man or woman is an island! Yes, in your example the ultimate responsibility for confronting her husband lies with the wife but as members of the same society we too need to do our part by confronting unequal expectations when we see them. Societal expectation is powerful, so when society in general acknowledges that something is wrong it has an effect. We need to make it so the person doing the wrong thing will know they are in the wrong, and the person in the right has the support of society behind them, not vice versa.

    Yes sorry I forgot to mention I have acheived enlightenment. Haha! Because I have no trouble putting myself into the shoes of someone who has been robbed or is a Syrian refugee. Have I experienced it myself? No. Can I empathize? Yes. We are all human first. Experiences faced by men versus women are no more different than those faced by people in general. I perceive the unfair expectations (breadwinner, ‘safe’ career options, pressure to be stoic, to ‘be strong’ etc.) placed on men and empathize, without having it explicitly explained to me. Two sides of the same coin. Maybe some people are just (conditioned to be?) better at perceiving others feelings and wants.

    You are just stating a mother is better suited than a father but you are not giving reasons why you think so. Disabled child or not what are these other factors that must be considered?

    • bbdlite,

      Women are worried more about what society will think than actually working on their issues and that is a problem. You seem to agree with it.

      The post against the blogger and the comment surge in fact, is just another big “what will people think” disguised in the name of calling people out. In the end, no big change ever happened in society. At the least, the blogger will never set foot in the IHM blog again where he was blindly labelled a misogynist.

      “The group being stereotyped too believes and behaves accordingly” – Pray tell, exactly how does that happen? More moms will “submit” into picking up their kids? More kids will forget their mom’s faces? More daycare centers will introduce ticketing system?

      Most of the time, I’m struggling with understanding how other women struggle or what men are going through. Often, I fail to notice the mental turbulence even in people close to me, let alone Syria. But that’s just me. You must indeed be enlightened if you understand men (or Syria) on your own/without any help. So congratulations on that. Although I wonder, technically, if one did truly empathize there would not have been any name calling in the first place :). Congratulations, nevertheless.

      “Experiences faced by men versus women are no more different than those faced by people in general.”
      I can’t figure out anymore if you are serious or kidding. I’m just going to assume you were kidding.

      “You are just stating a mother is better suited than a father but you are not giving reasons why you think so. Disabled child or not what are these other factors that must be considered” – I think I have written and commented enough, please figure it out yourself.

      Good luck,
      Sowmya.

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