The problem with over-appreciating the bare minimum effort from men
Back in 2020, TikTok user @monciaaaaa (the account has since been deleted) asked people to share, "the time that they realised the bar is super low for men". The responses that came in shouldn't really surprise any of us.
There were stories about fathers getting praised for changing their child's diaper, people being impressed by a guy for not taking advantage of a vulnerable girl, and one man who was hailed for giving credit to a female colleague for her own idea.
Ridiculous, but not shocking.
At this point, the bar for men is so low that it's a tavern in hell. This culture of over-appreciating men for doing the bare minimum is incredibly unfair to the women who deserve better and are taken for granted even though they are doing the same work day in and day out.
A recent report published by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics stated that women spend eightfold more time than men in domestic and care work. Our mothers cook, clean, and look after the house. Many of them do all this while working full-time jobs. Yet, their efforts are never appreciated or recognised.
When their partners don't even bother to lend a helping hand, the idea of equally distributing household chores remains a far-off dream. And on the odd day that a man decides to wash his own dish on a whim, we're expected to clap and cheer him on for this act of goodwill.
What really stings though is that we do end up cheering for them. The best of us have done it at some point or another because most men still don't wash their own dishes, even if it's once in a blue moon.
And it's hard to not get excited when the guy, who thinks he can lounge around all day and the food will magically appear on the dinner table at mealtime, actually decides to lift a finger for a change. But there must be a clear distinction between acknowledging this step in the right direction, and over-appreciating the bare minimum. Because the latter can create room for complacency, where a man gets to pat himself on the back and call it a day when in reality, he isn't fulfilling half his responsibilities.
When we finally start to look at sharing housework and respecting women's bodies and their boundaries as prerequisites and not as favours, we can say that we've come a long way past the rigid gender norms that hold women down. And while no progress is too small to count, we need to keep challenging the sexist ways in which our society functions today if we want to get anywhere near the idealised world where each of us has an equal shot at life, regardless of our gender.
The Daily Star (June 14, 2022). Women do unpaid domestic work 8 times more than men: BBS.
Nahian fixates on random and unimportant details, like the margin length in her Physics assignment. Tell her what else to fixate on at [email protected]