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By Prerna Grewal
Remember the Airtel advertisement that came out a while ago and faced criticism on the grounds of encouraging male and female stereotypes? The ad begins in an office where the wife is also the boss of the husband (no pun intended). As the boss, she leaves no stone unturned in overburdening her employee/husband with work. At the end of the day, however, her role as the wife takes over and all she wants is to spend some quality time with him. She goes home, cooks a lavish dinner and makes a video call, urging him to return home early.
One’s first reaction on seeing the advertisement would probably be a smile.Surprisingly, however, the advertisement has often been criticized as not being in sync with the spirit of feminism. Did feminists who found the advertisement problematic have issues with the depiction of a woman trying to strike a balance between professional/work and personal/domestic life?
Feminist or anti-Feminist?
A woman trying to strike a balance between professional and personal life isn’t necessarily doing it out of compulsion. Sometimes she might be doing something simply because she wants to. She cooks and waits for her husband to return so that they can enjoy the dinner together. She does not do it out of a sense of it being the “duty of the wife”. In the ad she perhaps isn’t even conscious of the fact that she’s striking a balance.
Earlier in this article, when the word role was used along with wife, it didn’t imply adherence to a specific set of rules that comprise being “the wife”. The word “role” could have been avoided altogether. But its usage is deliberate with the intention of justify its appropriation. At times, it becomes essential to drive home the point that not everything involves adherence to stereotypes
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” – Simone De Beauvoir
What Beauvoir in her work referred to was the passive, receptive attitude that women are forced to internalize since childhood. She highlighted how their compliance was as responsible for thrusting “femininity” upon them as the patriarchal society.
According to Beauvoir, “To be feminine is to show oneself as weak, futile, passive, and docile”.
This definition of “being feminine” has been consciously molded by patriarchy through history. Beauvoir’s definition, therefore, comes both in acknowledgement of and in resistance to this fact. Today, women, by exercising their freedom and striving towards new heights are constantly enhancing upon this definition of feminism and adding to Beauvoir’s resistance.
In the advertisement, the woman is not just restricted to the role of a nurturer that Simone De Beauvoir traces in her book. The paradigms of becoming a woman today are changing and these changes also find manifestations in this ad.
Simone De Beauvoir is often referred to as one of the pillars of feminism who inspired generations. Contemporary feminists must continue the tradition but must also know where to draw a line. They must criticize but those subjects and situations which demand criticism. It will only validate the necessity and authenticity of the school of feminism.
Contradictions within feminism
At the Jaipur literary festival this year, a panel comprising of various eminent female authors highlighted how when women write about politics intertwined with romance, the work is usually deemed as a romance novel but the same isn’t true of a man writing in a similar way. This is a valid situation for feminists to analyze and comment upon.
Though the paradigms of becoming a woman are changing, these changes are gradual and far from being universal across all sections of society. It is therefore worth considering if the school of feminism is driven by the educated elite. While feminists take no time in creating a hype regarding issues concerned with the urban educated elite, how often do they discuss issues related to people not belonging to this class? Why don’t feminists generate a similar hype regarding the woman who comes to cook in the house of the educated elite? Isn’t she striving to strike a balance between her domestic and work life?
As opposed to the woman in the advertisement, do women belonging to sections other than the urban educated elite enjoy a similar privilege of not adhering to patriarchal dictates? For most, the question of performing out of compulsion or desire doesn’t exist at all. They aren’t conscious of an alternate choice. Shouldn’t one at least strive to make them conscious of this choice rather than generating unnecessary hype?
Even on a global level, Feminism has faced accusation of ignoring the plight of colored and non- Western women. Feminism therefore definitely began as an elitist school of thought. It’s only now that the scenario might be changing. But this change is still under progress.
The employee/ husband in the ad doesn’t display any discomfort or ego clash with the fact that his wife is his boss who gets to go home while he has to work overtime. Do all women, even those other than the urban educated elite witness a similar attitude and understanding by their husbands? For most cases, the answer lies in the negative.
Balancing the scales
Further, What if there was an ad that showed a man striking a similar balance? Again, not out of compulsion but because he wants to. Would feminists have indulged in over interpretation in that case?
If feminism is about equal rights and opportunities for both men and women then how many times does it address cases where men are being dominated over by women, by society, by patriarchal notions of masculinity and forced to adhere to ways of living that they don’t prefer? And in this case, is the name feminism in itself problematic? Or is it just about equal rights for women in context of men?
It is perhaps because of this and the tendency of certain feminists often going overboard that some people refrain from referring to themselves as feminists. This is probably what the Fault in Our Stars actress Shailene Woodley meant when she denied being a feminist. “I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance”. At the same time, it is important to remember that hesitation to use the term ‘feminist’ does not always mean a rejection of everything that the term signifies. Sarojini Naidu refrained from the tag of a feminist but contributed significantly to women’s progression.
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
Bitcoin has become an essential crypto asset in modern portfolios and investment funds. The confidence generated in this cryptocurrency will depend a lot on the diversification that companies make in their balance sheets in Bitcoin and the increase of institutional investors that allocate a percentage of their funds in this crypto. American fund manager Cathie Wood makes some interesting predictions, both in the rise that the Bitcoin price will experience in the next 5 years, suggesting these institutional investors allocate 5% of their funds; this will help leverage the Bitcoin market.
Bitcoin will grow by a tenfold
Bitcoin is projected to grow by 10 times its current value in five years, i.e., it could reach $500,000. Of course, this will require companies to invest in cryptocurrencies. This makes it necessary to increase the weight of Bitcoin on balance sheets through investments. One of the investment gurus who supports this prediction is Catherine Wood. Contrarily, Ray Dalio, despite being clear that relying on cash is not a good strategy, views Bitcoin with suspicion, although he calls for its investment. This behavior is due to the actions of governments against the cryptocurrency market.
If something is undoubted is the vertiginous increase that cryptocurrencies have had in general, they have risen more than 60% so far this year. So, even when some governments are trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, they will fail. This attempt to regulate will end up triggering even more cryptos, especially Bitcoin, which is the oldest and most solid of that market.
Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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The current Bitcoin price means is time to buy:
The current price of bitcoin invites you to buy, and perhaps it would be foolhardy not to. In either case, bitcoin will always represent money. Maybe some external factors generate some misgivings, but if you refuse to invest in cryptocurrencies, you are basically denying the near future, it would be as if you didn't have a cell phone or internet.
In India, more and more people are becoming convinced of the benefits of holding some Bitcoin. This can be clearly seen in the rapid increase in the number of new accounts at crypto exchanges such as WazirX and CoinDCX.
ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?
Bitcoin, despite its fluctuations, represents an excellent financial strategy. The support users give is significant. The same cannot be said of the FIAT currencies, which have lost value and support, showing how fragile they are, being subjected to a constant devaluation. As long as confidence in cryptos grows, the foundations will continue to be laid to maintain their rise and to be able to continue making transactions. We know this by previous experience, as has happened with Ether, thanks mainly to the growing activity of Defi and NFT, i.e. decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens.
Remember that when you invest in Bitcoin, you can do it by buying or trading. When you want to make these transactions do it in a secure Exchange, study your finances to invest, manage the risk, and learn to manage your portfolio efficiently.