Simply Marry? Why?

I just got back from a fantastic, but tiring trip from Hampi, so just a quick point to this ad for one more Indian matrimonial (oh no, this one is metro-nomial) website.

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I am so tired of hearing stale marriage jokes about infantilized/ incompetent men. Aren’t you? Many of the world’s biggest Fashion designers are men, but no, we must persist with this thing about men being color blind blah blah blah. And I can’t even count the number of times I hear the stereotypes about men not being able to clean up, do the dishes, or the laundry etc etc. The fairly competent men I meet must all be exceptions ofcourse. The media either bombards us with stories of to-die-for metrosexuals or presents us with pictures of Tarzan-to-be-civilized-by-Jane. Sigh.

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8 Comments

  1. i love how simple you make things. I never thought of it that way. you’re right. so many male fashion designers and yet men claim to know nothing of our fashion.

  2. MM, tks 🙂

    Sometimes I think you just need to bring money into the equation and then man can/will be seen as doing it great! So men have lousy dress sense but make great designers…..can’t cook but make great chefs!

  3. When Coke Zero was launched in the UK with an ad campaign showing men to be interested in football and women and mobile phones, I asked some of my male friends if this infantilized depiction did not bother them. Some said they did not care; one honestly said well that is really how men are, away from the influence of women. I know him very well so I would believe him. (I blogged about it on my Obesity blog too).

    I think women might be suffering a combination of real social issues of being second-class, stereotyping and a lack of sense of humour. 🙂

    But is the influence of women really such a big deal? I think so. My neighbour spends his Sunday afternoon tinkering with his supercar. He said that was his pride and joy before he knew his now-wife. Before her, he did not have a TV, spent his leisure on Thunderbirds, his robots and his car, and read a lot. Now he cleans his garden, and occasionally tends to his car. (Reminds me of the Beautiful South song ‘Don’t marry her’)

    One example does not a social phenomenon make but I am sure you have examples around you too.

    And the reason why these stories of contrasts abound in the media – well ask the flip question. How many ordinary women – except when they feature in rape, infanticide and dowry death cases – do you see featured in the media? Are we to believe that the world is full of Aishwaryas and Bipashas or Kiran Bedis? Come on! Ordinary does not make a good story, period.

  4. Shefaly, thanks for that detailed comment. Reg a few things you mentioned – are men not bothered by being infantilized? Quite possible. Infact my guess is that not just your friend, but many, may not be. But why? Cos this is seen as “normal”. Boys will be boys etc etc. But really, why? Boys become men, no? And not to say that men cannot be interested in certain pursuits – my question is, is that all there is to them? Or – are both sexes trained to believe that this is all there needs to be? Again, ties in with the idea of women as a redeeming presence – aren’t women brought up to be responsible?

    Reg. the media – good point. I was actually a bit flippant when I said that. Ultimately the media does look at extremes to catch attention….

  5. I liked the title:D!

  6. Apu:

    “But why? Cos this is seen as “normal”.”

    I do not think this is the main reason why. It may be more complicated.

    In my observation is that many women take themselves too seriously, getting upset about every generalisation about woman as if it were a personal slur; one rarely sees men getting so hot and bothered about their gender. Many women also chronically suffer some chronic self-doubt and low self-esteem and above all, a sense of humour bypass. Which makes it near impossible to crack most jokes with them. I say all this cognisant that this is about my gender but the older I get, the less I care about ignorant generalisations and about correcting the impressions held by masses. And I get fewer “women are such and such”`generalisations thrown my way too. Surprised? I am not.

    Evolutionary psychologists suggest these differences are hard-wired and not societally programmed. I think it is a mix of both, but by and large, most of us are only too happy to stick to a script crafted for us by our immediate societal context.

  7. Hello dear Apu!

    I get annoyed by either/or adverts too but what I notice in my own marriage is that Basil is tuned into *different* details than I am.

    He generally won’t notice if I get a new outfit or wax my brows into a quarter of their original size. He won’t notice the puddle on the ground before my nephew walks into it or if a dinner guest’s glass needs refilling. But I will.

    And then there are a host of things he picks up on that I don’t. I guess we’re just conditioned differently.

    On the other hand, through living together we both have learned to tune into details that we might have originally missed. If we do a more comprehensive job of teaching kids to notice details while they’re growing up, maybe these stereotypes will lessen over time.

    Warmly,
    Baraka

  8. Shefaly, I agree that conditioning alone in terms of what is “normal” may not be the only thing, but I believe it plays a huge role. As Baraka has mentioned, conditioning during childhood, and not just in one’s one home can play a big role. Though I take your point that there are certain innate differences too perhaps over the course of evolution.

    Coming to the issue of are women hyper sensitive and lacking a sense of humour? I totally disagree – actually there may well be quite a few women who feel quite sensitive about it. So in that sense, you could be right. But I think we shd look at the reasons for this. Are they just grumpy, low-esteem people? I don’t think so. When you hear the same stale jokes again and again, many of them demeaning, it ceases to be funny, and sometimes, even if it partly is, the humour may not be apparent. Men can laugh at themselves more easily, because even the stereotypes about men like the goofy guy, the one who leaves the apartment in a mess etc etc are slyly laudatory – these men are just being men, with all its undercurrents of “men just have fun” etc. So its not strange that they don’t get as hot about it.

    Baraka – I would totally agree with you. Men and women do notice / not notice different things. Combination of nature and conditioning ?


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