What men talk and the stereotypes attached to it !

Stereotypes exist everywhere. But, we will all nod our heads in agreement that gender stereotyping is the most rampant kind of stereotyping in the existing times. Now that women are gradually finding a voice of their own, they dismiss the errant bracketing of men and women into acceptable and unacceptable peripheries.

It is amusing to know that even the art of conversation is segmented into ‘what women talk about’ and ‘what men talk about’.  It is hailed that men generally like to talk about cars and stock market while women are said to be inclined towards chatting about their children, their school assignments, clothes and cosmetics.

Over the years, women have broken the glass ceiling like never before by forging their way majestically into all spheres. This led to the reaffirmation that women can definitely talk shop and one cannot possibly isolate them and say that the fairer sex can talk about only certain things.Today, more and more people are in agreement that women are smart and they can talk sense.

But, while taking this stance, we do not realize that inadvertently, we are stereotyping men and claiming that it is ok for men to talk about the so called masculine things like cars and sports.Why can’t men talk about their children and their house? Why can’t they open their emotional floodgates and talk about their children as women do? Both men and women are equal partners when it comes to the institution of marriage. Then, why do men feel uncomfortable talking about their children with the same fervour as we as women do.

My husband, who is a hands on father often feels that men do not consider it ‘cool’ to talk about their children. It would be not erroneous to believe that this is the outcome of the patriarchal society that we have been living in over the years. The mindset is fixed and so unwittingly men succumb to the perils of appearing ‘manly’.

Both me and my husband strongly feel that it is absolutely normal for both men and women to talk about their children, the house as both the husband and wife are equal partners in creating a ‘home’.Both the father and the mother have different things to offer a child. Now, that women are not merely limiting themselves to the role of a ‘homemaker’, it is all the more imperative that men become equal partners both inside the house as well as outside.

For this, they need to shed the inhibitions and accept that it is normal to talk about their children even outside the realms of their home. When it comes to talking to their peers, it is fine if they discuss their fears about their children or a school project that they have been helping them with.

Thus, the next time we say, “Oh men, all they do is talk about cars and shares”, we ought to stop and think.

I hope our men do not get stereotyped and they have a compelling voice in creating a world which is equal and fair to both men and women.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in parenting, Social Lens | 3 Comments

Hashtag #FridayFotoFiction

friday-foto-fiction-photo-prompt-walk

 

#trekking #rockymountain #love, the girl types swiftly.

Right in front of them, unfolds a view which is ethereal.

“Wow, a view to die for”, utters the boy.

#viewtodiefor #beautiful #withmylove , his fingers move effortlessly on the phone.

The young couple flashes their phones, clicking away to glory.

The soft rustling sound of the lake is overshadowed by the grotesque clicks and clunks of the phone.

Soon, they pose together taking ‘selfies’.

“This would look so cool on instagram”, one of them exclaims.

“It should be visible that we are standing at the edge of the cliff. This will give everyone an adrenaline rush,” says the other.

#livingontheedge #adrenalinerush

They maneuver themselves to get that perfect picture.

Just then, a loud gut wrenching cry reverberates through the mountains.

Two tourists die in a freak accident while taking a ‘selfie’ at the Rocky Mountains”, reads the morning newspaper.

 

(147 words)

Linking up  with Tina and Mayuri

Friday-Foto-Fiction

Posted in #FridayFotoFiction, Flash Fiction | 22 Comments

Beautiful…

dark-skinned-woman

(This story was first published on Womensweb as one of the shortlisted stories for ‘The Muse of the Month November 2017’ )

 

The house was bustling with energy today. A variety of snacks were being made in the kitchen and the aroma lingered in the entire Gupta household. As always Neeti was the one who was supervising everything and as always she had managed everything to the hilt.

In a few hours, the prospective groom’s family was to arrive to meet her sister-in- law, her husband’s sister. The family which included her father- in- law, mother-in- law, her husband’s younger brother and his wife, all were hopeful that the prospective groom and his family would like Jyoti- the most loved youngest member of the family.

“Why would not they like her?” Mrs.Gupta, the fifty years old stout looking women proclaimed. “She is so fair, educated and knows how to cook.” Neeti nodded as she always did even though she did not agree to what Mrs. Gupta claimed, which was quite often.

Finally, the guests arrived. Shalini, her co-sister peeked through the window. “Bhabhi, the boy does not look good. See, he is sort of dark”, exclaimed Shalini. “But, he is well qualified. He is an IIM alumni and is doing extremely well for himself”, Neeti said. But, Shalini was not paying heed to anything she said.

Neeti was not surprised. Looks were of utmost importance in the Gupta household. Mrs. Gupta was obsessed with ‘fair’ girls and she considered ‘being fair’ the ultimate litmus test for beauty. Unfortunately, her elder son had fallen in love with Neeti, who was an accomplished woman, working as a Professor in one of the city’s best colleges. But, she was not fair. Mrs. Gupta was aghast. Nevertheless, the marriage took place.

So, when her younger son married a fair skinned Shalini, her happiness knew no bounds. At least, one of her daughter- in-laws could be ‘showed off’ to her friends.

As Jyoti was about to step in the living room, Mrs. Gupta rushed in urgently. “Neeti, you stay there, let Shalini come with her.” Neeti was stunned. It did not take her long to realize as to why she was barred from accompanying Jyoti. She was not good-looking. She wondered why in the twenty first century, when the mere concept of beauty was re- written, her mother- in- law was still stuck in the stereotypical notion of ‘fair skin’ being the ultimate parameter of beauty.

Till now, she had taken the high road and ignored Mrs. Gupta’s jibes thinking that she should be the bigger person. Her husband loved and respected her and that seemed to shove all her emotional upheavals. But, today it enraged her to the core. She had been toiling in the kitchen since morning and had even taken a day off from college. She had considered herself an integral member of the family and loved everyone. All she expected in return was a little respect.

As she stood alone thinking, fidgeting with her dupatta, Shalini came inside and told her that the groom’s family wished to meet her. Neeti walked towards the living room wondering why they were so keen to meet her.

As she sat down smiling, Vishal, the groom looked at her and said “Hello, bhabhi. How are you? I was so looking forward to meet you. When I was doing my MBA I came across your research paper on the internet while working on a project. It was such an outstanding paper on the subject. I saw your name in Jyoti’s bio data and I instantly recognized you. Wow, Jyoti is so fortunate to have such a learned person in her house. I am sure, that’s why she did so well too.”

Neeti was overwhelmed with emotions. In the outside world she was a well- respected Academician. But, it was the first time that such words of praise were showered upon her in the Gupta household, which was her home. Her eyes inadvertently turned towards Mrs. Gupta, who was dumbfounded.

Once the guests left, everyone sat down and all eyes were on Jyoti. Supposedly, Jyoti had liked Vishal and his family immensely.

“The boy is decent, but don’t you think he is plain looking. Look at you, so pretty you are! Don’t you think you can find a handsome boy?”, said Shalini, who seemed to be fixated on the boy’s appearance.

“But Shalini bhabhi, he is so mature and sensible. Looks are not everything. I am not so shallow. I want a life partner, not a model. Look at Neeti bhabhi, she is such a loving wife, a par excellence Academician and a wonderful daughter- in- law.”

As the arguments continued, Mrs. Gupta silenced everyone.

“Neeti, what do you think of the boy and his family? You will take the final decision”, exclaimed Mrs. Gupta, looking at Neeti lovingly.

Neeti felt her eyes tear up.  Suddenly, she felt beautiful inside out.

 

 

Posted in feminism, Short Story, Social Lens | 2 Comments

The Awakening #FridayFotoFiction

clock

 

He reached the station taking laborious strides.

He sat down on one of the benches, surreptitiously glancing at the station clock.

Two minutes to go. He should position himself.

Life had been unfair to him.

His sense of loss and helplessness reached a saturation point today.

He could no longer live like this.

He could hear the train approaching and he felt a sense of urgency.

The moment had come.

As he waddled towards the tracks, a little flower seller girl appeared before him, smiling ear to ear.

Her face had a radiance which was hard to miss. He bought a red rose and she pocketed the money with a sense of accomplishment.

The train entered the platform at the set hour.

But, he stood there transfixed.

As he turned around, the girl was nowhere to be seen.

He stood there puzzled.

Perhaps, he should not give up, not yet.

 

(150 words )

Linking up  with Tina and Mayuri

Friday-Foto-Fiction

 

 

Posted in #FridayFotoFiction, Flash Fiction | 20 Comments

Success #FridayFotoFiction

 

walk

 

She always had an urgent desire to be successful. Studying hard and reaching the top would make her successful, she believed.

And she did reach the top. She worked laboriously earning both moolah and fame.

Days turned into years. She felt stifled. There was perpetually a faraway look in her eyes.

Was she successful? Yes.

Was she happy?

She grappled to look for an answer in the labyrinths of her mind.

It was one of those mornings when you wake up with a heavy heart. The sun had just risen and it permeated a halo of orange hue.

She wondered when was the last time she did nothing but ‘stand and stare’.

She rekindled her love for painting which was lost on her road to success.

Today, as she walked through the air-conditioned glassy corridors of her plush office for the last time, she felt something.

She was happy.

 

(149 words)

 

Linking up  with Tina and Mayuri

Friday-Foto-Fiction

Posted in #FridayFotoFiction, Flash Fiction, women at work | 16 Comments