Thursday, June 19, 2008

you can be your hero.

so recently I read an article on Muslim Americans (will try and search it out) on the challenges that the youth, especially educated women, face in finding a like minded spouse. I guess one can even argue that mostly a higher education will place you in a higher income bracket. and despite the whole women and men equality thing, there are very few women and men (yes both) who will be okay with the fact that the woman is earning more than them. The article as I remember points out, one girl's experience where a potential suitor made it clear that even if she is working, she should not use that as an excuse to "dump" some of the house work on him. I once spoke to someone who blatantly asked me within the five mins of the conversation "Do you believe in gender equality?". Didn't wait for a response, and placed his cards on the table right away by saying that he didn't believe in this "feminist nonsense" (err, okayyy? who said anything about feminism?) and "the woman is expected to be subservient to the man." Needless to say that pissed me off a lot, and not just me but my entire clan.

But if you think about it, it amuses me the fact that one feels that way when in reality no matter how progressive your spouse claims to be or how loving he is, you can never escape the fact that you probably as a woman will do more than half your share, without even realizing it or keeping count of it - because thats just the way it is. (sorry dont have a better reason) And sometimes, I dont even think that in some cases, that one may actually require this additional help by your husband. [ I speak from my own observations, I may be totally wrong]. My sister has given up on my brother in law's cooking and is like its just easier if I do it myself rather than him doing it (ie less wastage of food). But, it a. makes you feel good that your husband cares enough about you to help you and b. it gives that whole feeling of teamwork, and by team I mean both being on the same side. Perhaps Im romanticizing this a bit. But yes, equating this to subservient is not the same thing.

So if you aren't working, can you actually evade all this "mess" created by your working. Does it then become okay for the woman to shoulder all the household responsibilities. Because your "work" is deemed less important. From the example of the above guy, do you really think he would equate the wife's household work to his work at the office? Would he really understand and appreciate it? I think not.
of course perceptions are just perceptions, these basic theories that a higher education will ultimately give rise to a power struggle between the couple time and again get disproved but pple stick to the law that does not withold in every situation. a relative had to give up her promising future of dentistry for marriage followed by a move to another country where the degree is not even recognized. and her mom, ironically the woman, thinks this was the right decision, since "aagei jaa kar rishtei milna mushkil ho jata hai". i dont pass judgement, since what may seem logical to you may not be so to another person, each his own. it's never about the wrong or right decision, its more about the wrong or right decision at that particular time. another aquaintance, was extremely particular in choosing her daughter in law, her requirements were pretty straightforward, she should be a high school graduate and should be pretty. since her major fear, is a way too educated girl will try to usurp all the power, and the reign on the highly coveted son. ok im being too sarcastic now. long story short, the girl turns out to be all what she wanted and all what she didnt want. Time and again your perception will break, but you will still feed off from your prior judgement.

I try to equate this with a supposedly fallible financial model, time and again it will spit out some random output, exposing flaws in your fabricated model, and sometimes you will continue using it because it works most of the time and then sometimes you will break out of the mould, and come up with a completely new strategy.

so my question, yes there is this trend among muslim families that wasn't there before, a good trend of pushing children to get an education. But is there such a thing as too much education? How about the other trend, get married and then get an education?

now for some randomness, will be doing my yearly yatra to dubai. yayyy! Next post from the other side of the atlantic.


Anonymous,  9:33 AM  

you can find a like minded spouse somwhere in the world but the burden of reposnsibiltiis that fall on your shoulder, will remain different. I dont think this has much to do with gender equality( frankly the phrae makes no sense to me- its like comparing apples and oranges)we arent equal- not subservient but not equal either- we have been created for different purposes to co exist and complement each other- why are we getting into a competition in what is supposed ot be a patrnership?

You are right in saying thattoo much education messes it up- because the roles then start blurring and thats ok as long as both people are willing to see it as that but thats idealistic because the male mentality kicks in-. Give you an example- a couple friend of mine- both harvard princeton type grads met there fell in love and have always been touted as the perfect couple in terms of moving ahead in life etc etc. recently they had a baby. She wants to get back to work. he is ok with it as long as the baby isnt getting ignored. (that falls under HER thing) see the roles are at some point are defined no matter how eductaed or how liberal or how wonedrful. the key is in recognizing it as a law of nature rather than a limitation of nature...i think i veered off here but god felt good to just type wihtout stopping :D

life of pi 7:37 AM  

hi sara, thanks for your comment! please feel free to right whatever you like =) I agree with you completely you can't really equate the two species, men and women are different and there are some things which are innate and one can't really divide the roles equally.

I dont know if I can say I would be okay with my husband telling me its my thing to take care of the baby. Since I do think its a joint decision of the couple to have a baby and he should be as much responsible as I would be. Sure, someone has to make some compromises but again it depends on how strongly you feel about your job. Most pple are okay with taking time off and looking after the baby until the baby is of a particular age but then there are some who really and truly love their job and is so much a part of them that giving it up is hard for them. Its not just a job that they love its more than that for them. I think in this case the husband should realize that and sometimes I dont think its because the guy can't or doesn't want to shoulder the responsibility i just think sometimes guys can be just really lazy and there are times where its direcly related to the environment in which you've grown up in. If you've only seen your mom shouldering certain responsibilities you think thats how it should always be. There is no real right or wrong answer.

Anonymous,  9:20 PM  

Was this the article you were referring to:

Ashraf's Pen 9:46 AM  

I think in the end its all an understanding. If the understanding is good enough , things would work else cracks shall appear. Now this is especially true where the woman is working because financial independence makes a lot of difference in the ability to reach for the edge.

We are who we are? Its definitely not about education, maybe a bit about upbringing and influences and everything about the person we are.

There are few black and white answers. When I was debating about the need for gender equality a friend asked me that if a situation arose where my wife was earning more than me and she wanted me to stay at home and look after the kids, would I agree stumped me. I still dont have an answer. Its an idea that is hard for men to embrace but what I can say is that we have to be open to the idea of a break. Negotiations. My friend knew he would never accept it.

Yes, there is something called too much education. Thats when a lady does her PHd and gets around 30 and then starts looking for an arranged marriage. Because now the pool of suitors has diminished greatly(31-35 yrs) and the biological clock is ticking.

However education is important. All girls must be educated to the level they can get a decent job. As for grooms who reject a girl for being too educated,they never were worth the time. Its better to stay away from them,dowry seekers and other chauvinists. Who can take risks with pshychos?

Ashraf's Pen 9:48 AM  

The break in the above comment on a perusal seems ambiguous. It implies a sabbatical from work

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