Changing attitudes towards the MaleBreadwinner and Female Homemaker model

“Looks like an amazing movie, if only this could happen in real life. If only more people had the courage to go beyond the conventional societal norms”, said my brother as we watched the movie ‘Ki and Ka’.

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This famous movie of recent times challenges the norms of patriarchy by reversing the well-defined gender roles. It has presented a known but an unsaid truth of the Indian society. It well-exposes the double standards of Indian progressives who want everything at par between a man and a woman but find it extremely awkward if a wife goes out to earn money and husband doesn’t.

The bigger question this movie puts forth is the word ‘House-Husband’. If there exists an ancient concept of ‘Housewife’ then why can’t there exist a Househusband. After all a man can cook as a woman, can wash clothes, clean the household and what not. Isn’t this tradition of only men going out to earn responsible for disparity between partners in the Indian household? Surely it is!!

According to a recent study, men prefer women who can spend more time at home taking care of the elderly and children. Most men are not even used to staying with women who are financially independent and professionally superior to them which makes it more difficult for them to accept the change in gender roles. The gender clichés define how marriages and households should run.

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Any change in the gender role may make the marriage dysfunctional. Many times, this even hurts the male ego and they feel emasculated when women become more successful than their husbands. Unfortunately, women are judged for being ambitious and this is often seen as a negative trait. Society drives guilt through women who don’t play a stereotypical role. No matter how empowered women are, they find themselves slipping into these stereotypes and this tends to kill their self- confidence.

Though there have been huge changes for women in terms of employment in the past decades, they are still far in being equal with men. In a society where there is a stigma that men are the primary earners of the households, is India ready for changing its traditional and outdated way of thinking is a question to be put to the people of the society.

It is no mean achievement that the movie upholds role reversal of stereotypes in our society. Man can cook good and woman has a right to be ambitious. Literally we are turning the tables. But is our goal role reversal or gender equality? An IIM-B topper willingly gives up all desires to earn money. Perhaps we don’t expect this, either by choice or by sacrifice. Considering the strong gender-bias that exists in our society this reversal itself would be unpalatable to many yet we need to go beyond. Real equality will result when both willingly work for the same goal.

Shivangi Kharbanda

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