Motherhood and Benevolent Misogyny


Unpaid Housework

“These days, sexism is a bit like Meryl Streep, in a new film: sometimes you don’t recognise it straightaway. You can be up to 20 minutes in, enjoying all the dinosaurs and the spacefights and the homesick Confederate soldiers, before you go, “Oh my God — under the wig! THAT’S MERYL.” – Caitlin Moran

Although I’m no huge fan of Moran, the quote is bang on when it comes to benevolent misogyny. It’s still same old shit, just sugarcoated well enough for people to swallow en masse. In fact, sometimes it makes me wonder if it’s more toxic than your garden variety misogyny for the same reason.

A video by Sharman Joshi was shared by The Logical IndianI intend to rant a bit about this page later, but they are, in my opinion, very faux liberal and now and then posts misogynistic/anti feminist drivel. You can see a sample of their latest of their misogynistic bullshit (although again, wrapped in all the apparent “good intentions” in the world) here:

Anyway, coming to video:

And as the comments suggest, conceptually, it seems to be a rip off of this highly problematic advert. However when this gets “indianized” and has been released as some sort of PSA – well that sucks real bad.

The video is basically Sharman asking his colleagues/workmates how they feel about someone working day in and day out, tirelessly, ghade ghade garmi mein (standing all day in extremely hot conditions). And then when they get tired of his “riddle” and asks him, whether his “dad will work for free” – and then he goes: “ dad won’t, but my mom does”. Then it goes all sappy and everyone realizes how awesome mothers are and motherhood is and it’s all boo-fucking-hoo.

The part where he says that his dad won’t, that – that precisely is the problem. This is where such normalization of such “struggles”  through imposing such notions of “motherhood” comes in. As in the implication of how these “struggles” of housework is somehow part and parcel of “motherhood”, what better way to reinforce gender roles? “Mere papa nahi karte” – the problem is very much that, how about we focus on that instead?

To be clear, I’m not intending to generalize or imply that no women choose housework. However India especially does have a HUGE problem with disproportionate number of women doing all the housework and hardly many men. This disproportionate nature of women doing all the housework should make it painfully obvious these are not just women ‘choosing’ to do housework, but rather something they’re burdened with.

What irritated me more was the fact that how the description even goes on to say “I have often seen that people do something for their mothers on Mother’s Day and then forget about it” – well what did YOU have in mind while making the video (aside from hits)?

And no, shedding faux tears and telling her “I love you Mom” doesn’t make it all magically go away. As the comments on the FB posts suggest, it just plays right into the mindset that these are all “natural part of motherhood”. And that makes it a crappy “PSA” video, afterall.

35 responses to “Motherhood and Benevolent Misogyny

  1. If Sharman Joshi had put in even half the amount of thought that you have in this post…

    So when I watched the ad, I had dismissed it almost instantly because of the same reasons that I objected to its original. But then I realised that it was good that someone was highlighting the unpaid female labour that goes into housework.

    After reading your post, I am back to being vehemently opposed to it. Sharman Joshi effed it up by implying that housework is a part of motherhood. Sadly it is a part of womanhood – How about they did the same ad but with husbands, brothers, fathers,etc having the lightbulb moment.

    In fact, we should move past this and question all gender roles.

    • Do recall reading one pretty post that is anti-feminist (or perhaps a post that perpetrates myths about feminism, to be precise, i.e. straw feminism) post by “Anonymous Writer” being shared by them. Let me see if I can dig it out, but they’re an active page and it’s a hard task. If someone could help me out here I’d be ever so grateful.

      And another post by the same which was so dire and shoddily written fiction based on “true story” about false rape accusations that reinforces all sorts of rape myths (the comments on that piece proves my point).

  2. what shit … there is a disproportionately high number of men dying in wars or fighting fires or building fucking dams but i dont see you pussy ass whining about that .. anyway this is a fake 1st world kind of problem not coming from real women but fake ass upper middle class women finding financial independence

    • Aah, I was like – ‘No misogynistic drivel in the comment section so far?’ – and there you are.
      And those are instances of patriarchy backfiring on men. That is the stereotype of women being “weak” (and socialized to be so) and enforcing this gender roles means men would disproportionately be employed in those areas. And women are underrepresented in almost all fields (except few which, again, usually fits gender stereotypes) so what a shocker.Who ever argued against equality? That’s the whole goddamn point.

      And IDK what the heck “fake ass upper middle class women finding financial independence” is supposed to mean. Is women finding financial independence a “bad” thing? And this problem ESPECIALLY affects women who lack class privilege. So dafuq you on about?
      what is this shit

      Also about me being a “pussy”, I’ve told this a gazillion times already, but I don’t consider being called a woman, but nice try. And also nice to know that you’re the one who decides which all women are “real” and “imaginary”.

  3. I wonder how feminists interpret each and everything to be sexist! I mean can you enjoy anything at all, without scanning for things to rant about later??

    • Oh gosh, what’s there to “interpret”? It’s just out there for you to watch! If you’re supposed to shut your brains down, then what’s the point of watching anything? And even at that this is a supposed “PSA” sort of video.

      You disagree? Present your arguments. Instead of simply dismissing it as “feminist interpreting everything as sexist”. Pointing out how something is problematic is how things change – and these things do have an impact on the society, collectively speaking.

    • Oh boo hoo, poor Egalitarian; the things we feminists deem sexist and what all you have to go through.. women crying about being viewed as like sex objects just because they wore a low cut blouse, women wailing about being raped in their own homes by their husbands, women being forced to fill centuries-old gender roles simply because their parents told them to. How terrible for you to see feminists up in arms for such ‘silly’ things, no?

      At least there are some people willing to take a stand when it matters instead of just placing a blanket claim on women insisting that they deserve what they get just because we were born without a Y chromosome.

      • Viewed as sex objects?? I don’t know how can you blame men for that. I mean, did anyone force Katrina to dance for a song which she obviously knows that the lyrics are sexist?? She had a choice and she chose this, like how some women choose to fight in the army.

  4. Excellent post. I can relate to this a lot, as I have stayed home for the past 3 years and have been a full time mommy. No exaggeration, it has been the hardest work I have ever done in my life. Stay at Home mothers have endless work, and Working mothers have a second shift after they get home from work – it never ends. Now I have started to work again part-time, and going back to a job is an absolute joke – it is so easy compared to being a mother, I can practically do it with my eyes closed!
    And what we do is not valued, by many men, nor society. We are pushed into these roles because who else will think of the family structure as a whole, but a woman? Many men are raised to only think of themselves and leave everything else up to the woman. Who will feed the child? Who will cook the food? Who will clean up? And all with a forced smile on our faces?
    Motherhood is the most devalued and underappreciated job. While the video’s intention was good, I find it regressive. It idealizes mothers and women for giving up their lives for the benefit of families. It idealizes sacrifice and unpaid, undervalued labour, and also sexism. Again, the dad gets off scot-free. “He would never” – well why the heck not? And thank you for bringing this up in your post too.
    With the video – when the sappy music starts, I just want to punch him! It’s like painting women as “oh mothers are such saints for doing all they do” – practically being martyred. We are not saints – we are seriously overworked and there is no pride in that. Actually, maybe mothers would appreciate it more if there was some help. We don’t want to be called saints – we want others – especially men to step up to the plate. Like maybe Sharman’s dad SHOULD step up to the plate because that is his duty as a parent! The video completely dismisses him – like WHERE is his dad? LOL

    • OMG Did anyone force you to be a mother. If they did it is really wrong. Otherwise it is your own choice. You didnt have to do it, if you have an urge to whine about it later. Don’t wanna suffer? Don’t have kids. I would never give up my career for looking after my kid. I won’t expect my wife to do it either. I would rather have no kids at all

      • @egalitarian
        OMG did anyone force you to be a clueless idiot on cloud 9? Then stop whining about it!
        Great for you, the world will be an excellent place if you don’t have kids. I’m sure you would never give up your career for having kids, just like the dad in the video surely wouldn’t. How fitting.
        By the way, I wouldn’t expect you to understand the complex emotions of motherhood. Clearly you can’t see that far past your nose. Just because I admit it’s hard work doesn’t mean I don’t want to / regret doing it. It is hard work and that’s a reality. Sorry if you’ve been sheltered from that, you poor thing. How shocking for you.
        Come back in your next life as a woman and then talk, k thanx bye

      • Ohai “egailitarian” (ahem)
        You’re not spewing condescending bullshit like that here against my readers/feminists and getting away with it. We’ve had some great times though.
        Bye! - Sherlock

      • @ Madhmama: lets go through your statements once

        1) You very clearly understand the “complex” emotions of motherhood
        2) You don’t regret doing all the “hard work”
        3) But you have a forced smile on your face while you feed your child or clean up the house

        Sounds like all you needed was some recognition. Here take my claps *claps*. But hold on

        4) You think more valuation and appreciation is required for the motherhood job
        5) Yet, you want the men (Sharman’s dad) here to also do the job and not focus on his “bright career”?

        Lets investigate. Have you ever discussed the immense pity on yourself yet commitment with your “job” that you have with your husband? Or rather found it easy to get together with a bunch of good-for-nothing-have-no-other-job feminists and demonize men for earning bread for the family by working hard (oops, maybe its because they don’t give a fuck about the child and only focus on their “careers”, right?)? Dads don’t want their kids to go to college right? they just wanted to have sex that one time to make moms pregnant and then focus on their careers. I mean dads (including Sharman’s) doesnt get up every fucking morning cursing his job/boss because he has to do something he doesnt like just because it pays more and there are mouths to feed. He would never give up on his own dreams/desires so that he could buy his wife a birthday gift or send his kids to college or even afford that vacation with friends his son always wanted to go?

        I am really surprised how myopic the so called “feminists” have. If you do end up bringing ‘change’ in the society with your internet activism, please I beg you look from the other side as well. Cheers!

      • @Abhinav – Kind of interesting that when a woman actually has the balls to admit that motherhood is hard work that she is a “whiner” and “complainer” and has “immense pity for herself” LOL. I am merely stating THE FACTS. (Are you guys even parents???) (Have you guys ever bothered to sit down with your childhood caregivers and ask them exactly how much work it is?)
        When someone climbs Mount Everest and says “yes it was hard!” does anybody call them a big complainer? (Only if they’re a woman, right?)
        When two people decide to become parents, they are in this together. But once the child is born, many women are forced to pick up the slack from their partners. This goes on even after the partner is home from work, I see the women doing everything. And a “forced smile”, because clearly you cannot dare “complain” as evidence on these comments. Quite hilarious actually, not at all surprising.
        Yes the dad has to work hard at work but at least he gets an actual paycheque and has limited hours. Women are unpaid and unappreciated and they dare not speak about it.
        IMF, I think we have hit a landmine here, apparently it is an absolutely preposterous idea to ask dads contribute to kids! It really is a shame because this is exactly how these cycles start.
        P.S. Why don’t you talk from your own perspective instead of pinpointing my marriage.

      • @Madhmama, Ok lets do this.
        “Kind of interesting that when a woman actually has the balls to admit”

        World over feminists’ brains are exploding! How dare you mention a male genitalia as a metaphor? You sexist bigot! Didn’t you see how our IMF dealt with a case of “pussy” calling in the comments above. But don’t worry, i’m above all this. We’ll let that slide and come back to topic.

        “When someone climbs Mount Everest and says “yes it was hard!” does anybody call them a big complainer?”

        Well if that person climbs with a “forced smile” on their face, says it was hard, doesn’t want just recognition but also expects their other half (who was busy somewhere else building their oh-so-selfish-careers) to climb along with them (which is still fine had there been a mutual healthy discussion and not crazy feminist rants) then YES!

        “Yes the dad has to work hard at work but at least he gets an actual paycheque and has limited hours”

        So you’re saying that if you got paid and got some time off as a mother then that forced smile would turn into an actual one? I totally agree with you here but hold on. First of all there are no “strict limited hours” in any job. There is a lot of stress and extra work that goes into it. Also while at the work, people (see how i didnt say just men?) are worked their asses off and there is a lot of mental and physical stress. So I’m sure just a paycheck and limited hours won’t make your problems go away. trust me.

        Now, since you want to know about my marriage, i’ll tell you. My wife also used to feel the “terror” of sexism when if come to house work and how its a “most difficult” job and #nobreaksnopay. I decided to get a sabbatical and take up house work (we have a lovely daughter) and she took up a job (she is well educated so not too difficult to find one). She later understood that things are so not hunky dory with not doing the house work. She felt the office pressure, the politics and the ruthless competition combined with the stress of earning money was a lot of both physical and mental torture, House work compares to nothing to that. It was just the mentality of “grass in greener on the other side yo!”. Anywho since I love her, I went back to work, she came back and things are as before. She cooks and looks after our daughter, I work, help her out anytime I’m less tired than she is. So there ya go! It’s because we talk, discuss, communicate, cherish in marriages. Not whine along with feminists on the internet. I have to work now, I’m done gettin involved with you people. Have a good one. Cheers!

      • @Abhinav – I don’t know her, but I feel really sorry for her, seeing your comments on here. God bless her. I’m sure she had to face a double shift of working plus doing housework after she got home. Plus, being anti-feminist and misogynist and you have a daughter? I don’t even understand that.
        Yes, please do us all a favor and go back to work.
        P.S. don’t forget to help your wife with housework tonight ;P

  5. The whole concept of gender roles makes me sick.
    People at-least feel sorry for ‘moms’ because they have to work hard at home. What about ‘dads’ who have the pressure to earn more and more lest society thinks he is a loser. Men are also expected to be chivalrous and I never saw any feminist complaining about the unfair expectations of chivalry.
    I have been on many dates and never did I find a woman who would split the bill without everybody judging me.
    I’ve never seen feminists ranting about the fact men are never negotiated for in a hostage situation. Its always the women first. I mean bullets hurt both men and women equally.
    If a ship starts to sink and there is a dearth of lifeboats, women get the natural rights on them as if men cannot drown… why?
    The biggest issue is that there is no help out there for men. People at-least give a shit about women and their problems even if they don’t get solved always. If something happens to a guy it’s just considered funny. I read a news about a woman chopping her boyfriend’s dick off for cheating and everybody thought it was hilarious. The fucking country would come to halt if any such thing happened to a woman. There are no feminists in the above situations. Guess thats why it’s called ‘feminism’

    • Oh here we go.
      nope octopus
      Patriarchal gender roles hurts everyone. Feminists HAVE discussed this over and over. However, to pretend that false equivalence is just ridiculous. Women face disproportionate effects of patriarchy. So no the whole “no one cares about teh menz” is nonsensical.

      Sure – again, patriarchy backfires on men (including the pressures they face to fit in the gender roles like chivalry and whatnot to trivialization of male abuse) – but that doesn’t mean you can just pretend it’s somehow “worse” for men and every single time someone discusses important issues concerning women, you just barge in and go all #whataboutehmenz on them.

      I’ll just leave this Bell Hooks quote here:

      “To be “feminist” in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.” – Bell Hooks

      • You were right, posting gifs is fun 😀

        Now on the topic. So you are saying that since there is a patriarchal society established, apparently #whatabouttehmenz is not OK but #omfgwomenzaredying totally is? Gender roles hurt everyone equally and there is no ‘disproportionate’ effects excuse me. Stop feeling #weepyweepysorrysorry about women when men equally face the brunt of fitting into gender roles. The whole idea about men being dispensable when it comes to life threatening situations (for e.g. hostage/terrorist crisis) is absolutely ridiculous and feminists can’t use the #suckstobemenlol card here please. Btw I do wish I could pull those hash tags better but thanks for the idea 🙂

      • Of course it is!

        Holy straw-Batman. I said #whataboutehmenz as a derailment tactic (as you used it) being oblivious or being dismissive the disproportionate amount of discrimination and oppression faced by women is not OK. I don’t know how clearer I could have made this.

        And no, men don’t “equally face the brunt” – this is EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Gender roles hurts everyone for sure, but men don’t EQUALLY face the brunt.

        And seriously? A terrorist hostage situation with “women and children first” is your counter example of how men have it “equally bad”? Yeah of course we all have to encounter that on a daily basis, being hostages. As opposed to, you know, silly stuff that rarely happens like rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence and various other forms of casual sexism that women are disproportionately victims of.

        I didn’t start the “but.. but.. men have it equally bad!” game to keep this in perspective (which I have no interest in playing) – that is something you brought up (someone had to, of course, disrupt a feminist discussion as usual).

      • Oh I’m sorry, there is an eminent feminist who will decide whats worse or whats disproportionate. He says sexual harrassment is disproportionate because it happens on a more frequent basis and is worse than something that gives zero value to your fucking life (like a hostage situation) then it must be true! because he says it happens once in a while. Not to mention men just don’t face sexual harrassment or domestic violence at all right? Men never have the guilty-unless-proven-otherwise burden on them in any such cases right? You know what? don’t sweat it. You’re way too stuck up in your tiny little world of myopic thinking and I should leave you there to whine your bitch ass off. But we had some fun times. Happy Blogging 😀

      • Can’t say I’m shocked though. If you can’t comprehend the difference between a statistically less common event and something that takes place on a daily basis and is VERY common, then IDK what to say to you. And no, men don’t have “zero value” for their life in a fucking hostage situation goddamnit. I get the “women and children first” trope, and yes that comes with the infantilization of women. This has already been pointed out to you. But hey, you just had to spew this stupid load of bollocks here.

        And “not to mention men just don’t face sexual harassment or domestic violence at all right? ” – can you FUCKING READ? When I said “women suffer from domestic violence and harassment” DISPROPORTIONATELY, that’s because I acknowledge men do suffer from harassment and domestic violence too. God fucking damnit.

        It’s just that I want them to be discussed with all the sensitivity and seriousness it deserves, unlike you for whom this is just a prop for your #whatabouttehmenz rhetoric.

        Oh BTw thank you for leaving my “bitch ass” alone and your wishes. I’ve approved one more comment of you to @madhmama for all to see. And that’s the end of it. Goodbye and so long.


      • Retards gonna retard. With twats it’s always about THEM. Well guess what f–k you and your entire ilk… women Gods first and only mistake.

  6. Pingback: Motherhood and Benevolent Misogyny - Feminism in India

  7. Thanks for writing this! Its something I’ve been saying all along. Do you have a twitter account? I tweeted this post and wanted to include you in the tweet but can’t seem to find you on twitter.

  8. No like buttons for comments?
    No recent posts? 🙂
    I got paid leave for the first few months of motherhood and I had support from other ladies, (both my mom and mom in law, both of whom are intelligent, efficient, home makers and full time domestic help) so I guess I was very very lucky. I love motherhood, its probably one of the experiences that I cherish most in life. But I shudder to think of how it would have been without the help of those lovely, lovely ladies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s