Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yes we are Superwomen, but where are the 'Supermen'??

Today on Star Plus, they showed a rather beautiful 'Star Plus's Anthem' dedicated to the woman of today....This piece was very beautifully directed...It open's up with a pretty looking woman doing zillions of tasks at home..She is shown as a wife who wakes up next to her husband early in the morning, unties herself from his hand delicately and jumps out of bed to make tiffin for her school going daughter....She is a good 'Bahu' who keeps an eye on her diabetic father in law and stops him from having that extra spoon of sugar in his tea...She then turns into a naughty wife who hands over the towel to her husband who is taking a bath and not to forget the little peck on the cheek after that…She dries saree's with her mother in law on the terrace, gives a flying kiss and warm smile to her office going husband….She is expert in the arts too…She takes up Katthak lessons and moves her feet to perfection!
But don't mistake her for a shy stay at home mom…she steps out of the house- she is a part time teacher to the poor children, she helps to push the Rikshaw of the poor and old rikshawwalla….She doesn't even shy away from mediating in a traffic congestion…..
She is a home maker and a TV anchor….She is finishing up her job while her family decorates the living room for her birthday….But at the last moment her boss begs her to do one more news report and she being the 'perfect' person she is doesn't let him down…..
She comes home late and sees her family asleep on the couch..but she bursts the balloons and wakes them up to celebrate her birthday and to spread that extra bit of joy!
The Star Plus has thoughtfully (!) ended the whole 'anthem' as they call it by showing her standing in the cold on a terrace , looking towards the stars while her husband comes in the frame to drape a shawl over her shoulders….
While the anthem and maybe its description may sound very heartwarming to the viewers/readers….I asked myself…Is this humanly possible for any women to be so perfect? Is it possible to be a perfect wife, mother , daughter and career woman at the same time? Isn't it too much to expect from a human being…
Though I know the 'anthem' is symbolic, I wonder what sort of symbolism are we trying to portray? That today's woman is suppose to be a superwoman, a caretaker of all, a person who juggles work and home with élan and never complains??
My bit of reading on gender issues tells me that ever since women started claiming their space outside home; things became easy and difficult at the same time for them. Stereotypes of 'hard core career woman' had received a negative connotation and being a 'stay at home mom' or a 'home maker' was also looked down upon……At the same time I feel , there is tremendous pressure on women of today to 'have it all' or rather to 'give it all'..She is suppose to be a highly educated, intellectual career women and still she should know how to be a good wife and mother…..A woman who balances both the spheres in today's world is the helm of everything!!
But I often wonder, why is there no pressure on men to be a 'superman'? It is still oaky for a man to be a hard core careerist person who goes to meetings, has stress, travels a lot and earns money…and his efforts to contribute at home like doing cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and parenting skills are highly overrated…
Men still don't face the pressure of multi-tasking as women do…..Is that why we are being told that we should be good at the 'balancing act'?
I do understand that under any circumstances we have a choice…we have a choice to chose the type of life we want….But at the same time what messages are these tacit 'anthems' trying to give?
I wonder if the Anthem is conceived and directed by a woman or a man!
Hold on to that thought….

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