The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world, it is said. However, the latest spin on the adage by pretty-boy-male-feminist, is that the hands that rock the cradle, rule the world, but must also be paid some alms by the nanny-state. Of course, it does not matter how such stupid decisions would affect women. What matters is that the woke crowd, which is also rather cerebrally challenged, hails your moronic uttering and sees you as a feminist-ally – even after you are accused in abetting the suicide of your wife.
Today, Shashi Tharoor decided to take to Twitter and make a little less sense than usual.
I welcome @ikamalhaasan’s idea of recognising housework as a salaried profession, w/the state govt paying a monthly wage to homemakers. This will recognise & monetise the services of women homemakers in society, enhance their power& autonomy & create near-universal basic income.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 5, 2021
He said that the government must start paying a monthly “wage” to homemakers. His logic was that this would recognise housework as a salaried profession and will ‘monetise’ the ‘services’ of women homemakers in a society. He said it would also ‘enhance their power, autonomy and create near-universal basic income’.
Part of his logic is not unsound. Homemakers are indeed an all-important part of the society. CS Lewis said, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career”. I happen to agree with this quote in its entirety. Everything we do really comes back to the home and the family one wishes to nurture. The child one wishes to see bloom. One’s future that is often so full of hopes and dreams.
However, before we delve into the utter ridiculousness of Shashi Tharoor’s assertions and how he only made it worse for himself with his subsequent tweet, it is important to understand why this article had to be written today or why, Shashi Tharoor felt like him tweeting on those line would earn him some stray browny points.
First and foremost, it becomes important to point out that Shashi Tharoor is talking about family structures where traditional roles are still maintained – the wife takes care of the house, the man goes out to earn. What is also important to point out is that Shashi Tharoor is a man who raves and rants against Hindutva for being regressive and thus, it stands to reason that this tweet of his was aimed to earn browny points of the Liberal crowd and of course, not of the Hindutva crowd.
If that is so, it becomes important to then point out that it is indeed the Liberal crowd that demonised traditional roles that women fulfilled. Being a homemaker was demonised by western feminism and was transported blindly into India where women themselves were (and largely are, but this lot) looked down upon because they either chose to fulfil that role or because they family structure was built on the lines of the traditional roles. So the fact that Shashi Tharoor wants an asinine idea implemented to accord honour to the task of homemaking, is a result of his own audience demonising that role, not because the brown-sahib needs to step in to civilise the savage pagans.
It is important to understand that it is the Liberal crowd, of which Shashi Tharoor is an integral, shampooed part, gets unimaginably agitated when traditionals even allude to the traditional roles of women and men in a family structure, without insinuating that women should not work outside the house. For the Liberal, a woman is not worth her salt is she chooses to fit herself in a traditional role and has no ambition to become a powerful professional. The woman is essentially bowing down to patriarchy if she chooses to bring up her child, take care of her house, cook for her family, so on and so forth. Even if a woman does have a thriving career, any of these tasks make her less of a ‘woman of substance’. That is the Liberal position. Not the tradition position.
Therefore, Shashi Tharoor is trying to convince his own people that homemaking is a legitimate choice of a woman and is one of the most important jobs in the world, in terms of shaping society. We already know. His people don’t. Let’s keep that in mind moving forward in the article.
Now, let us analyse what is wrong with the grand plan of shampoo-boy here.
What Shashi Tharoor is essentially saying is that to negate the frenzy unleashed by the Liberals, the government must give women a ‘wage’ that comes out of the tax-payers’ pocket. Essentially, if I choose to stay home and take care of my child, it is you who should pay me for my work. If I decide to cook for my husband, it amounts to a financial burden on the society at large because I get a wage that comes out of their tax money. At the very outset, this idea seems even more ridiculous that some socialist idea floated in North Korea. How my home is run and how I decide to decide the division of chores is not and cannot be a burden on society at large. And where does this stop, if implemented? Are tax-payers then open to critique the way I run my home since they pay my wages? Does my fight with my husband become a subject that is open to public scrutiny?
Of course, these issues are not something that Shashi Tharoor needs to concern himself with, since tweeting does not mean that anyone will ever take him seriously.
Further, if the woman is to be remunerated for her work in the house as a wife and a mother, it would be fair to ask what the list of chores would be that would make her eligible for this generous wage. Do women who have domestic help get paid less? Do women who have multiple children get paid more? What about women who manage their career and household work simultaneously? Do they get paid more or less (since the time gets divided between the two roles)? If someday, the husband decides to help the woman in say, washing the utensils or makes her a cup of tea in the morning, is the woman supposed to share her “wage” with the man? If the woman falls ill and the household chores are then done by the mother-in-law or the husband, for that duration, does the wage get redirected to their account? And what if a man has multiple wives, as we know that is rather acceptable in Muslim households? Which of the four wives gets the lion’s share of the wage? Or is the tax-payer supposed to cough up 4 times the “standard” wage simply because Shariyat allows multiple wives?
Most importantly, where does the woman submit her time-sheet? Will she be penalised for watching television in the evening or sleeping late one day? Also, will the woman in turn have to pay the husband for shelter and security? What happens to the family unit when everything becomes transactional?
These are practical aspects of a ridiculous idea that have received no consideration since tweeting is devoid of any accountability whatsoever.
This idea that has been floated by Shashi Tharoor, seems much like the ‘paid menstrual leave’ idea that is being pushed by the liberals for far too long. Essentially, the state recognises that women often go through troubling pangs of pain while menstruating and thus, makes it mandatory for companies to give them a leave for 3-4 days a month, when a woman goes through her menstrual cycle.
Who wouldn’t want that? Frankly, I rather take an off right now, instead of writing this article, if you know what I mean.
But you start seeing problems with this idea, almost right away, the moment you start thinking rationally – something I would never accuse Shashi Tharoor of.
How does this seemingly ‘sensitive-to-women’s-needs’ idea play out and how does it affect the larger employability of women? Would employers, male and female, be more inclined to hire employees who mandatorily take leave for 4 days, in addition to their normal weekly offs? Assuming that one gets 4 weekly offs, would employers be ok with their female workforce taking 8 days off instead of 4? Would their male counterparts treat them the same way when they are taking an off for 4 days and their female colleague takes an off for 8 days? Therefore, would this help women in the long run? It really wouldn’t.
And how does that compare to homemakers being paid a ‘wage’, you ask? What happens in low-income groups where the woman wants to work and the family just won’t let us because the government is paying her to be a homemaker? Is it remotely possible that this step, if implemented, would actually harm women and take a large of chunk of women out of the workforce, which is as it is does not have a comparable portion of women workers?
But that is not all. Let us come back to what Shashi Tharoor did next.
After floating this idea of paying a ‘wage’ to homemakers, Shashi Tharoor tweeted again.
This too! This is for domestic workers (employees). The other would compensate homemakers (basically wives and widows). https://t.co/J7qOlB26L7
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 5, 2021
To my horror, but not surprise, we got a glimpse of just how little Shashi Tharoor thinks of women who dedicate their lives to building a family, a home.
What Shashi Tharoor tells us with this subsequent tweet is that “there is already a law for domestic help. Why not for wives and widows”.
As a woman who puts a lot of thought into what I should cook for my family, how our household expenditure should be managed, whether my child is fed, happy, comfortable, whether my bedsheets have been changed, whether the pillow cover matches the bedsheets, whether the fridge is stacked with essentials etc, etc ,etc, I take offence.
This only goes to show how little regard for women, who pour their heart and soul into their homes, Shashi Tharoor has. He looks at homemakers as domestic help perhaps, who do the chores because they have to, not because they love that family. It only goes to show that Shashi Tharoor has not even understood the very essence of women manage their roles in the society – homemaker, mother, wife, daughter, daugher-in-law and a professional. He does not understand that a woman does what she does, often, out of love and not solely out of duty. I don’t take care of my child because I have to, but because that child is an extension of myself.
To truly celebrate womanhood and to truly celebrate the spirit of those women who put their family above all else, perhaps Shashi Tharoor should learn how to differentiate between wives, mothers and domestic help. Perhaps, he should realise that women contribute to the economy by ensuring that the ones who do work in their families have better productivity because the food is on the table when they get home, the clothes are washed, the home is lit with light and happiness. Women who choose to stay home, need respect. Not the alms of the state. Women need to be respected for their contribution, not taken for granted.
Shashi Tharoor is no friend of women. Shashi Tharoor is the quintessential ‘male feminist’ who mouths off platitudes with absolutely no substance.
Let me drive home my point one last time – women need respect. Not alms from the state.
And before I sign off, I leave Shashi Tharoor with this question – I am menstruating, I have a migraine, my BP is low and I am all around grumpy but I still have to feed my daughter. Should I get paid extra for this? Or should I just be grateful that my husband does not want to ‘treat me’ at The Leela Palace?