Celeb Buzz

Dear Mumtaz, Kitchen Duties Are Not Just For Women! Konjum Shut Up Pannunga!

The need to change mindsets!

Growing up, average Indian adults can recollect their fathers waking up and proceeding to read the newspaper, dress up, eat breakfast, and then head to work. The mother, though, wakes up early morning, makes breakfast and lunch within an hour, fix up the children for school, fuss around them, clean up the table, and only then does she sit down to have her breakfast. No one’s with her by her side while she eats, and it’s considered a perfectly normal setting, something that happens for lunch and dinner. Point is, we have long watched our grandmothers and mothers fuss around men and kids to eat and feed them, that it’s almost taken as a norm that the kitchen belongs to women and vice versa.

Bigg Boss Tamil’s second season has already begun, with controversies starting from day three. The housemates are squabbling over food and words are being blown out of proportions. Amidst all this, disparaging statements about gender and work duties are being made, something that ought to be looked at.

Contestant Mumtaz calls herself a brutally honest person and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people don’t like mincing their words and she likes to cut to the chase instead of beating around the bush. Which is why when she got annoyed with contestant Nithya’s performance at the kitchen, she called her out for it. But the derision didn’t stop there.

While it is understood that Mumtaz’s frustrations stem from the kitchen duties and the responsibilities of feeding 16 people, she is under the impression that kitchen-related work comes “naturally” to women. In fact, her pitying Mahat, a boy, for doing his kitchen duties because he’s a boy reeks of a supremely sexist attitude. Kitchen duties and women are forever associated as a responsibility. In a patriarchal society like ours, girls grow up watching their mothers toiling in the kitchen while their fathers pursue everything else that isn’t domestic related. These gender roles lead to massive inequality, where men go out and are looked at as the breadwinner while the women are expected to be domestic goddesses who’d never tread beyond her kitchen.

Here’s the thing. Women are performing supremely well when given a chance. They’re fighting for their basic rights to be met and there’s a whole lot of stereotypes that they are busting. A statement like this, uttered on television, takes us 10 steps behind. When education and progress boast of women excelling in all the fields and standing at par with their male counterparts, it’s discouraging to hear statements like ‘women should be in the kitchen’ being casually flung around.

It’s time we stop lauding men who “help” the women in their lives as though they are doing a big favour to them. According to a recent study carried out in 11 major cities of India, 52% of young India still believe that women are bound to do household chores. There’s more to a woman, there’s a lot more than we ought to do. Mending these differences and changing mindsets is the need of the hour, and if people continue to harbour such differences among genders, then we have miles to go until we finally achieve a balance. Cooking, kitchen, cleaning is not gender-specific. Cleanliness and hunger affect everyone the same way, so unless you are craving something that she’s rather better at making, kitchen duties belong to everyone and in equal measure.

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