I stumbled upon a very thought provoking read yesterday. You can read the full article here. To be honest, I think the title is totally misleading. It should probably read “I wish I taught my Indian son the value of a woman.” Instead the title was “I taught my daughter to be an independent woman but I regret bringing her up like that.” Never the less, it was an interesting read.
While the situation that occurred can happen in any family, in any part of the world, the author wasn’t wrong when she generalised the ideology of Indian men. I am an Indian and let me just say that the opinions I am about to share are a generalisation (and in fact there are some amazing Indian men) but the basis behind my opinions do exist. I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, it’s still very common.
In many households, boys are not expected to do much around the house. And as the author mentioned, in the last generation, the women were expected to do everything. With this generation, thankfully many parents changed. They encouraged their daughters to dream big and go out there to achieve whatever their hearts desired. The boys however got left behind. I once spoke to a woman who I considered fairly “modern” in her thinking…her daughter was a go-getter and was encouraged to follow her dreams. But when referring to the ways of her house, she said “The men in my family don’t enter the kitchen and they’re not expected to.” I remember being stunned and wondering how she could have such different standards for her two children.
She’s not the only one. It’s very common for Indian women, even those working full time, to pull the bulk of the weight in the house. And sadly it’s what’s expected of them…by their own mothers, their mother in laws and their husbands.
We live in the 21st century people and yet the expectations we place on our girls is that of a by-gone era. And what about the boys? Shouldn’t your boys know how to clean up after themselves, do their laundry, boil an egg? Why would you encourage your girls independence and limit your boys? Don’t they deserve to be all rounders as well? Don’t they deserve to be capable? To look after themselves?
I’m not just addressing this to Indian mums but to all mums. Give your boys the independence you encourage your girls to have. They’re as capable. I’ve heard the phrase “mums and their boys”…I “know” the phrase…I have a son! There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. But the one thing I will insist on is him being independent. So he doesn’t actually “need” a woman to do things for him. He doesn’t need a woman to make him his breakfast, cook him dinner or massage his ego. He might be lucky to find a woman who wants to do all of that for him, but it’ll be her choice. And they’ll be lucky to have each other because I hope to raise a boy who will do as much for his wife as she will do for him.