Man has a tremendous arrogance about him. He thinks he was ‘born to rule the world’ and he also thinks that the woman is ‘born to serve him’. The woman is born to give birth to his progeny and hence to serve him. He thinks he gives a wife the privilege to be ‘his wife’ and carry his name. That is a great gift from him to her he thinks. The woman should be ever grateful to him for that! A modern educated woman would only laugh at this arrogant notion and shrug it off as his fantasy. She considers herself equal to him in all ways and refuses to surrender to such nonsense. ‘Men are born to rule and women are born to serve’ is a remnant of an archaic belief of an ancient society but unfortunately still warms the hearts of men in the twenty first century. Most men would love to think of themselves as the royal tiger of the jungle ruling the roost. He stubbornly refuses to believe that the woman can be equal to him in any way. In simple terms, in his arrogance of his ego, he wants to continue to control and subordinate the woman.
Maya’s marriage is in doldrums. She has tried her best to save it but he refuses to see reason she believes. The reason are many but the chief being that her husband wants her to give up her prestigious job and career for the family. She actually earns more than her husband and has a higher status too as well as higher educational degree. She feels he is jealous and cannot tolerate this. He is always finding excuses to pick conflicts with her. Trivial issues of coming home late, receiving calls of male colleagues, travel assignments etc are blown out of proportion. He then complains that she is arrogant, haughty and proud of her status and money and that she disrespects him for his lower income. She denies all this and says he is struck with tremendous feelings of inferiority and jealousy as her higher income is a blow to his male ego. Inherently in his mind man wants to be the boss and control his woman even if she is more qualified and more talented. He would like to control his wife in all fields.
Take another example of a housewife. She is controlled in many ways. Such as what dress she should wear in public and in private, how she should behave with guests and friends, the routine she should follow and so on. The same family may allow their own daughters to wear some type of clothing but the rules are different for their daughters-in-law. Another important issue is rearing the children alone without support from the husband or the family if in a joint set-up. The task becomes difficult many times if the specific child is a special child with developmental disorders and behaviour problems. In such situations the mother is struggling with the issues of nurturance and education alone without understanding and support. Do not be surprised if the mother gets blamed for the child’s misbehaviour and academic difficulties by the family in spite of her doing her best. Do not be surprised if she gets compared to other mothers whose children are doing better. Men do not think child rearing is their responsibility as they like to shove it all on the shoulders of the woman. Most housewives and career women complain about this lack of sharing of child nurturing by their husbands. The child should be the responsibility of both the parents equally.
The male ego is also under pressure to perform well, to earn money and to make a name in society. Men are ‘beasts of burden’ too who carry the family responsibilities on their shoulder. The wife struggles too with domestic and child nurturing duties. Where is the scope for attitudes of superiority and inferiority, attitudes of boss and servant, attitudes of born to rule and born to serve, attitudes of dominating and exploiting one over the other. The attitude has to be one of respect for each other, and respect for each other’s work whether the woman is a housewife or a career one. The attitude has to be one of caring and sharing of roles and responsibilities which has to be worked out and agreed upon. Career women will need more help and support in managing domestic duties than the housewife but she will also need help too. The child has to be the responsibility of both.
As times change rapidly with girls’ education and economic independence the man and the woman have to be considered equal to each other who shoulder the burdens of life together. The male ego will have to reform itself soon for the rising self esteem of women will force them to do so. Men will have to introspect, evolve and refine their souls and minds. It is the call of the day.