Male Work, Female Work

My ideas have been very limited by the environment I grew up in, which let's face it has been far less than ideal.
Like, in my mind, so far, work has always been divided into male work and female work, and I was always biased against female work cause I was taught that it was inferior. I'd decided outdoor-sy work into male work and indoor-sy work into female work; which is why I always fought with everyone saying I didn't want to cook, clean, wash and stuff.


Last month I went to Guruji's place and stayed for a couple of days. Imagine. My cousin's been engaged for almost a year and I went now. If I had gone there a couple of months back, it would have afforded me a lot of peace of mind and I'd have been proud of what I learnt and the mature ideas I adopted.

So, I was there ; the whole house and the temples and the ashram are all one big entity. They aren't separately located. And almost 400 people come over for lunch every weekend. So there I was serving food to 400 people and it was hot and I was getting very tired. I had to go back to the communal kitchen to get a refill and the kitchen was literally a furnace with huge boilers of rice and huge cauldrons of vegetables and curries and sambars on big open fires. And all the people who were cooking were men; not cooks, they were also people like me from the city who had come to the ashram for a few days. And they were on their feet in that insanely hot furnace,cooking. And Sri aunty was like, pick up a vessel and leave quickly, you guys won't be able to stand here for too long. And I was stunned. I mean here I was cursing my luck cause the women were supposed to serve which pretty much amounted to 400 situps per dish. And all the radical feminist stuff was running through my mind and I was even going to take it up with Guruji or Kamala aunty. But it wasn't like that at all. They had actually given us the lighter, much easier work cause girls are considered too delicate to do the other work, and it's true, we couldn't possibly have cooked there, in that heat and managed those heavy cauldrons.

Next,the women were supposed to pick up and throw away all the banana leaves after people were done eating.I've been raised to think that picking up after someone is the most demeaning thing ever. I don't even take my dad's plate to the kitchen. So you can imagine how I felt about being asked to pick up used banana leaves (They are nothing short of disgusting). The rule goes that women aren't allowed to touch banana trees for getting the serving leaves and I thought it was terribly sexist, cause it's so clean and pleasant to pluck leaves, and so icky to clear up after meals. But get this, you might as well cut your arms and throw them into boiling oil than pull the leaves off the banana plants. They are so tight and sticky. I could barely pull off two leaves, and the guys had to get more than 400 leaves every morning. Picking up used leaves is heavenly work in comparison. Work is merely divided based on who can do what. Things aren't demeaning or disrespectful, they are just suited to your capabilities.

And usually men are relegated the more strenuous work cause they are obviously stronger physically. And because of our idiocy, hard work seems clean and pleasant, and easy work seems dirty.

Like the other day ( for a normal, everyday example. We don't live at the ashram),only the kids were at home and, my kid cousin Sivansh spilt a whole bottle of baby oil all over the tub. And you need this liquid soap to clean the tub, the usual stuff scratches it. It was a super hot day and someone had to run all the way to the super market to get the liquid (kids kept slipping whenever they went it). Now, I really couldn't have run off into the heat and walked all the way to and back from the super market. So my brother went. And because he had gone out to get it, I had to scrub and clean the whole tub. And, honest to god, it is cool, arm flexing work to clean and scrub. I'd have fainted on the way if I had tried to go out to buy the stuff.


So, at 24.4, I learn that work is just easy work and hard work, and it's retarded to divide anything into male work and female work.

Comments

  1. No longer a feminist then? My crazy crazy nutcase. .....

    ReplyDelete

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