Chores—you can’t run from them. And yet, sadly, most still consider it to be a woman’s job. Men in the kitchen—cooking or doing the dishes—are ‘helping’ the women because they are the ‘providers’ and chores aren’t their ‘department’. Defying that very idea is one of the core notions of feminism. As Women’s day draws near and we prepare to celebrate how far we have come in terms of equality but how far we have yet to go, The Week talked to six men to find out what men today think of household responsibilities.
Simone de Beauvoir in her seminal book The Second Sex argues that men cannot be feminist because of the intrinsic differences between the sexes. Some writers argue that men do not suffer the same oppression as women, and, as such, cannot comprehend women’s experience and so they cannot constructively contribute to feminist movements. There are some radical feminists who argue that only by rejecting the masculine perspective entirely can feminism allow women to define themselves on their own terms, and that the involvement of men in the feminist movement will inculcate the values of patriarchy.
Coffee conversations can take interesting turns, especially the ones concerning your career, life and love. To partake in these, I have friends at my workplace who entice me with their take on feminism, trivial yet sometimes significant day to day episodes, escapades of life and deadlines.
“Why are people feminists? Why do they hate men?”
“How can you want equal rights for men and women and yet not call yourself a feminist?”
“Why do people even bother with feminism? How is it fair to men when they are just promoting female supremacy?”
Recently I had an opportunity to be present at a program in Israel where seasoned female diplomats from Israel and abroad were the key speakers. Drawing on their experiences, they spoke about the challenges of being a professional in the field historically classified as a man’s job.
The entire discourse constructed by the society on feminism makes it sound like one is begging for mercy. As a girl, I totally reject the concept of feminism created by the society. I ask myself: why are most people trying to defend the rights of women by offering them with special treatments? If women are equal in each and every aspect and capable of working with the male hand in hand, then why should the word ‘feminism’ strikes in each and every debate?