Monday, March 21, 2011

How would you react?

Some statements/ situations/ questions that have made me go aarrrgggghhh....

Now, I'm inviting you all to give me your best retorts/ responses to the following aarrrgggghh statements/ questions/ situations... and do share some that you might have come across..

1. At an interview to a single woman: When are you getting married? To a married woman: Are you planning a family in the near future?

2. Two male colleagues discussing the absence of another male colleague:
C1: "He left early (which was well past official timing anyway)... he had to take care of his kid"
C2: Looking surprised, "What does his wife do? Already henpecked is it!" sniggers

3. At a ribbon cutting ceremony, a young woman is approached by a male colleague
MC: Making it sound like it is some great honor "We need a young woman like you to greet the chief guest .."(hold a tray and offer the scissors)
The irked young woman refuses and the man turns to another not so young woman in desperation. There are atleast 30 men - young and not so young at the ceremony!

4. Male colleague sharing lunch that he had cooked. Another MC - "That's the plight of being married to a working woman"

5. Perception that women who drink/ smoke have 'loose morals'. On many occasions, I've heard comments such as, "She drinks and attends late night parties, so obviously...(men misbehave)"  And almost always it sounds like it is the woman's fault and not the man's.

Now, kind readers, how would you react?


Timepass said...

arre how can i comment when i am one abla obedient naari (housewife) !!! LOL

My first job interview had covered pt 1 in different ways..i was single at that time and was asked whether i would go away if i get married friends were asked..when r u planning ur first child/you already have one kid, are u planning to have more? and mind you the interviewer was a lady!

Vini aka Pooh! said...

1. I am not sure about the laws in India but in US it is illegal to ask questions about the marital status of any person. I am pretty sure I would say it is none of your business in a nice way
2. I have heard such things and have always jumped in and asked from when has child-raising been a woman's job and got into heated debates about it.
3. On occasions I have got the tray and then passed it on to another to a guy and walk off
4. I would have said - I pity his wife imagine having to work and eat such food after a long morning at work in a total sarcastic way.
5. Well heard this and said, to handle men with loose morals a woman also has to have equal morals.
2011 and we live in such a chauvinistic world and I am totally worried how my daughter's world will be

starry eyed said...

Gah! I would be so boiling mad that I wouldn't be able to respon until I'd gone and punched a pillow!

Once my b-i-l was bragging at his wife's baby shower that HE was not going to change the baby's diapers when he or she pissed or pooped in the first year. I asked him mockingly whether his child would stop pooping and peeing after one year and whether he would then clean him or her up. Everyone was embarrassed...but that guy has somewhat shaped up...he does a lot of child-care work for his second child at least! So maybe it had an effect, but he always gets nervous around me :P

apu said...

GRRR. I doubt I would have been able to frame coherent responses to any of these. And the jibes at male colleagues looking after their own children amazes me! How the hell does it translate as being henpecked? The underlying thought of course is, "no man can possibly want to do a chore as demeaning as caring for his own child - UNLESS pushed by a nagging wife". Sad. That is also worrying because tomorrow, such idiots will become bosses and discriminate against women and men in their team who want some work-life balance.

Anonymous said...

How would you react?

Answer is simple: I wouldn't !!
Whatever each his own!

I'd just give them a long pensive stare and just shrug! Do you think I'd let the thali come my way?!

To Vini aka Pooh's point ...Q1 is a moot discussion point since it is illegal in the US to come up with that question, even though discrimination may still happen after the interview (especially in this economy).

Anonymous said...


1. have actually been asked of me, in the US, by an american. Not the exact wording perhaps, but a politer version of it. Something like, so tell me about your personal life, any significant others? I know it is illegal to ask that question, but people do ask it when they know they can get away with it and given the current economy, I guess they can. Sad to say, I did not have a ready quip, just the truth!

2.yeah, and the worst part is, if you so much as say something about it, you will be labelled as the one who cant take a joke! It is funny, isnt it, how they can say any sexist thing and it is all a joke!

3. you know, I dont think this would bother me that much! why does it bother you? I guess am not really sure about the significance of "invitation" event.

4. you know what would be worse? when the working woman's mother or m-i-l says the same thing! I mean how many times have they complained about their respective husbands not helping them out. Dont you think they would be happy when at least the younger gen. changes?! following through that logic, if she doesnt drink and attend late night parties, she gets to hit on the guys ;) Now that's an incentive to be a teetotaller :D But I have to say, this idea is perpetuated and drilled into the social psyche by movies and TV series. I dont need to tell you the number of times any female villain has been portrayed as a drinking/smoking and partying girl and the minute she is "rectified" she is shown as wearing a saree and bindi and being coy!

On a related note, there is this series called MadMen in the US. About the ad agency in the US during the 60-70s. It is remarkable because, almost every situation that you have mentioned in here, happens in one episode or the other. So if we did the math (assuming India continues to ape the west), then in about 2050 working women in India will have faced down the worst of the sexist barriers! so better future for Pattu, perhaps?:D


Vidya said...

Ideally, I'd like to whack those ppl black and blue. But mostly end-up gritting my teeth.. That some MC is leaving early to baby-sit, and another one has brought food that he has cooked, is some respite. And about women's morals, i mostly find women doing more talking on this. Maybe its time they need a peg or two to wash down the words!

Asha said...

It is better to ignore in many cases and not bother to reply to MCP's.

Having said that, Many men have changed and now changing diapers,cooking and taking care of house hold chores is considered hep and as for people who pass comments and talk they'll anyway do it.

Aryan said...

hhaa..better not to react..I am here after a long time. How is pattu doing?
Aryan's mom

Anonymous said...

Sigh!! What can I say!!! Just sighing again!!!

Btw, Uma, thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I have left this reply for you, but thought I'd post it here, so you can consider writing a post on the subject.

‘….something in us dies….’ – that is so true. I wonder, Uma, what is it that is dying? Our hopes? Our illusions? Or our sensitivity? I am tempted to write a post on this now, but I would actually request you to take it up…. please.


Swaram said...

1: Baah! - As though they all go as planned! And sooo stupid of ppl to talk abt such things and not focus on the abilities of a person instead! hmmpf!

2n4: Such cheap jokes these hv become! I have given it on their face for many such ppl! And nw, they dnt talk like that - atleast in front of me :P

3: Glad she did that! Paid him well!

5: Even some women think like that! Isn't that worst! To each his own, what hs it got to do with morals!

God save the world!

Asha said...

uma, a tag and award awaiting you. check my blog.

apu said...

ok, I've waited long enuf. When's your next post coming up?

Indian Home Maker said...

I read the answers in the comments and liked Vini aka Poohi's responses.

Loved this post. Sharing it on twitter and Buzz.

D said...

I have a point to make about situation #1. I've been on the other side of the table - interviewing girls for jobs for our business, which is still in its nascent stage. And high attrition rates are a huge problem for small enterprises like ours (we have only 4-5 full time staff). After I realised that, I've asked those questions myself about marriage and kids. Because I'd like to know if the person I'm taking on board will be with me long term or is just looking for a stop-gap arrangement. In bigger set-ups, corporates, it may not be a relevant question as they have people to fill in for those on extended periods of leave, for small and medium sized enterprises, it is.

On the other hand, if a woman working with us gets pregnant or gets married, we don't ditch her for that reason. As a woman, I'm sensitive to the needs of women in the workplace, but as an entrepreneur, I have to make choices which are right for my business.

However, I totally agree with Vini aka Pooh about the points made.

girlsguidetosurvival said...

To all those who have written they'll ignore such instances DG is amused how are all of you expecting the change to occur. Bullying be it juvenile or adult is increased by the cognizance of passive bystanders. Active engagement is a prerequisite for any change. Challenging the stereotypes is one such engagement.

1. Yes, have experienced 1st hand while in India, was asked if I was married? If not then if I had any plans to. In the US it was that is good that you are married and you go to church, that shows you are submissive person and have bills to pay so you'll stick with the job.

2. Have challenged men in her own family and at workplace by saying your wife did not bring children in dowry that she ought to be solely responsible for them. Your wife did not receive a diploma in diaper changing in the labor room.

A Desi young man asked DG to apply for a child care aide at the campus job fair, when asked why? Because DG will land the job as she is a woman and women are good with children. He got a piece from DG and just imagine if she were not to challenge him he'll be still thinking all women are cut for childcare. Just imagine what he'll do to his wife, just burden her...

3. Yes, have held trays on ribbon cutting ceremonies for two prime minsters of our country. If DG will do it now, nopes. Now she knows better...

4. All tastes are acquired, want to eat good then learn to cook good. DG did learn to cook just because she loves to eat.

5. Men drink and smoke DG hasn't seen them being sexually assaulted by women though often by other men. With the given logic, if a woman makes as much money as a man and has same level of education then she should be sexually assaulting drunk men. :)

Think it over,
Desi Girl

Uma said...

Timepass - :D
it is even more annoying when a lady does taht!

Pooh - Well, it is not yet illegal in India! sigh.
no 3 - Bravo! LOL at NO 4!!

Starry - Same here - boiling mad is the word! And Kudos to you - you helped someone see sense!

Apu - so true - they do become bossed and they not only discriminate, they also make the environment unpleasant!
And if it is so demeaning, they'll dump it on the wife. That just shows how much they value the relationship!

Anon - I can't help reacting. I feel it is necessary if we want to put a stop to it.

KP - someone asked you in the US!!?? Don't give in!
I think men should realise that these jokes don't amuse us and in fact these are NOT JOKES.
ponit 3 - answering in my next post
4 - so true!! and I hope the younger gen changes!
5 - so right about media's role...
and I do hope Pattu and her friends have better future!

Vidya - they could do with a lot of whacking :D
..and yes, sad that some women also help in propagating these..

Asha - the point is that those who talk have to stop and unless we show them their place, they won't.

Aryan - hey! how have you been and how about Aryan??

writerzblock - hey! thanks for visiting... and do write your own post on this...

Swaram - cheap jokes - seriously! someone has to tell them they are not funny

Asha - Thaks for the award and will pick up the tag, though late :(

Apu - here I am :)

IHM - Welcome here!! Thanks for tweeting **Feeling honoured**

D - Welcome here!!
response to your comment in my next post

DesiGirl - LOL at 5! - quoting your comment in my next post. and agree with you completely that we should not let it pass..