Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Role reversal

We all have our roles to play or that is what we believe. How many times have we heard that if we stick to the role we are given, everything will fall into place and there will be harmony and peace? Depending on which role is played by whom, this makes sense to a few but unfortunately not to everyone.

As a child I was clearly told what I was supposed to do, what role I was expected to play and how. I had to take care to study and get a good job with a nice pay packet. I was not supposed to enter the kitchen and cook food, nor was I expected to do anything in the house. The lines were clearly drawn. As a boy and a man my scope of work was outside the house. Who then was to care of the house? The woman of course. The mother, daughter, wife, whoever fell on the other side of the sex genes!

India is trying hard to shed the old image of cows on the road and poverty, and trying to project sky-scrapers and the sophisticated image. But what usually gets conveniently forgotten is the equality of the sexes and how important this is to reflect the progress that a country makes. The parliament is divided over the arithmetic and caste issues of 33% reservation for women in parliament. First pass the bill, implement it and then think of how it could be made all inclusive! (It is a shame that even in the west many men still expect women to be house makers and fulfil certain roles)

What then is the role of women? Is it to be a house maker, a maid, a cook, a piece of the house furniture? To understand this, we have to come to terms with our role in life. Who am I and what is my role? Am I the king, the master, the lord, or God? Can I go beyond this and can I swap my role with a woman- my mother, sister, wife, friend?


Vin said...

Men cant do anything alone, we women have to also believe in equality. i'm sure ur mom must have set limits for herself n her daughters... THIS should CHANGE first. every parent should give equal growth n development opportunity to both sons n daughters.
The rulers should take care of the policies protecting the girl child:
1) female foetus murders should be identified n punished severely
2)girl child should be encouraged as much as her brothers in finding her own skill sets
surely, a time will come when the sex ratio would be balanced in terms of population as well as all the fields identified by our current phase of mankind ..be it rocket science or priesthood!

i want to give an example of true empowerment: Micro-credit given to rural women to start small businesses have proved very successful. Reasons being women r prudent n honest. they never default on payment. These women r sometimes the sole breadwinners in their family.

Fr, I believe in the power of the Lord. there r many ppl working for the good of others despite the devil's enchanting temptations!

the divide between the genders can be dissolved only when both genders respect each other

So, if u r a father, mother, brother or sister.. keep this in mind n very soon we will be back to our Golden Ages :)

kunnampally said...

It was the shrewd mantra and tantra of the Aryans which stratified the Indian people. And the politicians of our nation continue to practice the same mantra and tantra for their political benefits.

kunnampally said...

It was the shrewd mantra and tantra of the Aryans which stratified the Indian people. And the politicians of our nation continue to practice the same mantra and tantra for their political benefits.Even The church has schism in its own soul and that has to be stopped and must setan example to the world

Fr Jerry said...

Vin, there has to be change on two levels, on the societal level and individual level. Government policies have to change and the girl child has to be encouraged and female infanticide has to be checked.(The Central government does have some programmes for this)

On the individual level there has to be a change in the mind set. We have to counsel families that girls are good and better. The problem is that we see girls (women) as something(one) that will be given off during marriage. This has to change. When women get married, it does not mean that they are totally cut off from their families and then attached to another family. They are not thus a piece of furniture.

Lastly, women should be given leadership roles. I agree that research has proved that women are much more sincere and better performing than men. There should be equal opportunities and strong laws to implement them. Why should a woman be afraid to go out after six or seven in the evening? It's because men want to keep women at home. Over the centuries men have taken over power structures and it is a time for reversal of roles.

Fr Jerry said...

Kunnampally, every dominant structure in society tries to keep certain groups from developing their true potential and this has been the case with women. They have always been kept away from the mainline system of things. Among women, caste and class then play a role in further discrimination.

Deepa said...

Hello Fr. Jerry. I came to your blog in the course of my wanderings on the net. A blogging priest is indeed a novelty!

The issue of gender roles is a complex one. And the debate unending. The question of gender roles has been something which I have been struggling with for many years now.

My life experiences have taught me that culture and religion are the two factors which ascribe gender roles. By religion I mean the God we choose to worship and culture is the practice and way of life in that faith. All this leaves women with the short end of the stick.

I am an educated and independent woman of modern times. I am also a 'rebel' of sorts since I ask a lot of uncomfortable questions. But I get no satisfactory answers!

I've tried to give a public platform to some issues, that affected me personally in my own blog. Please take a look if you find time - http://deepalifeandtimes.blogspot.com (Title: Patriarchy and the twice born)

Fr Jerry said...

Thanks for taking a look at the blog Deepa. I am very interested in taking a look at what you are writing. Along with blogging, I have also started doing a thesis on the power of blogging for women as a voice of protest in society. Therefore I will definitely take a look at your blog and will also mail you.

Fr Jerry said...

Deepa, I cannot post a comment in your blog for some reason. I already tried twice. It's just not working. Will try again. Please send your mail id to jerryachen@gmail.com and I will mail you.