Why I Cannot Relate To The Popular Ad On Gender Equality



We have all seen the latest #ShareTheLoad advertisement by Ariel going viral. It is commendable for a prestigious brand like Ariel to propogate gender equality and convey a much needed powerful message the Indian audience today. 

The ad shows a woman, deftly managing her home and her work and at the same time also making sure that she caters to every whim of everyone in the house – be it her son or her husband. At the end of the ad, her father is shown realising his folly of having raised her thinking this is alright; and apologising to his daughter on behalf of his entire generation that let both men and women grow up believing in the wrong values. But not anymore, he is shown to decide, changing himself by helping out his wife at home and accepting to “share the load.”
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It is, no doubt, a thoughtful ad on gender equality, and I am sure it resonates with several people as well as with an entire generation of fathers who have never helped their partners around the house. 

However, I am also sure, that there are several other people who are unable to relate to this advertisement. Take the ubiquitous modern couple, for example; where both partners are equal contenders to responsibility and the balance of power rests with them both. I mean, I don’t see a newly married MBA grad today telling his wife “meri green shirt dho dena” nor do I see the said wife taking it lightly if he says that.

Or, take my case –    

I was recently watching this advert with my little one, only to have him look at me at the end, and say, “Thank God Mum, your Dad doesn’t have to say sorry to you for this reason!” I smiled at him and said, “Well, if you were a girl, neither would your Dad have to,” and we both smiled.  

I come from a very humble background. My Dad worked for the Government and my Mom stayed home with me and my brother. I was raised in a suburb of Mumbai and although today I live in the heart of a metro in a big house and drive around wherever I want to go, that humble beginning keeps me firmly rooted to the ground.

My little one though, is growing in a very different environment comparatively – Where I walked to school, he gets dropped to school in the car; where I saw my mother doing most of the household chores, he sees maids and cooks in our house; and where I always had to earn my toys or books, he gets pretty much what he wants, when he wants it, with just a bit of maska to his Dad!

But despite all these changes, there is one thing that my little one sees, that I too have seen as a child (and continue to see even now); and I hope, his children too, see the same -

I have always seen my Dad help my Mom around the house – even when he was working and even now when he is retired. And thankfully, my little one too sees his Dad helping me out – sometimes even after he gets home late at the end of a tiring day!


In fact, my little one is so used to seeing Dad pitch in, that even he helps me with chores that his little hands can afford to help me with at times! And I am really happy to be raising my little one in an environment where we do not encourage gender bias.

Of course, I occasionally do come across dialogues from him such as “oh mum, not that! It’s girly stuff!” and my favourite response at such times, is “oh, so you think, there are some things that only boys can do but girls can’t? Why don’t you give me some examples?” And then he promptly proceeds to give me examples of what he thinks are only boys’ jobs and not girls’ jobs and I refute each and every one of them.  

So it is good, no great; that I can proudly say that to my little one today. But my pride doesn’t come from the fact that my husband helps me out, although there’s that too. My pride comes from the fact that unlike me and my little one, my husband comes from a family where he has not seen this growing up.   

And yet, today, when he is a married man and a father, he takes it upon himself to help me out. He respects the fact that while he is working hard in office, I too work hard at home. He understands the trials I face working from home while taking care of our little one and his every whim and needs. And that is why, he doesn’t hesitate when his son watches him help around the house, and in fact, encourages our little one to follow in his footsteps!

And it is this fact that I am proud of and find admirable. Because for me, it is easy to be okay with seeing men help around the house, but with him, it is a big step. Only goes to show how he has chosen to observe and learn from what he has seen growing up; and rather than just copy it and behave the same way when he grew up; he has chosen to make a change.

I know I am one of the few women who are in this unique situation. But I wish there were more like me. I wish there were more men who choose to make this change, rather than blaming things on this is what we saw growing up!

It is very easy to blame circumstances and upbringing for something that affords you a convenience eventually. What is exceptional is to treat women as equals, even when you have seen otherwise. What is laudable is not letting the women in your life take on too much, because believe it or not, even with someone lending a helping hand, women already have a lot on their plate!

I just wish there are more people who cannot relate to the ad because they chose to make the change and are proud of the fact!






Images courtesy: Pixabay

Comments

  1. I've just seen the ad this morning while on Facebook, and even though it's just an ad, I hope it gets many people thinking about the way they raise their sons. Here too, in Saudi Arabia where I'm living, there are several "gender roles" assigned to both husband and wife (roles that I think are absolute rubbish), so your post really resonates with me.
    I'm glad to see you're raising such a bright little boy, hopefully other parents follow in your steps.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, have a good one :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Noor for your lovely comment :)
    I guess, it is as much a responsibility of parents, as it is of every individual to make the change if they see something isn't right.

    ReplyDelete

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