The Married Feminist this week: Marrying up, down and in every which direction

A few centuries down the line, Jane Austen’s dictum that a single man in possession of an income would be on the lookout for a wife, is getting a makeover and how. Contrary to the earlier norm where the man was considered the primary bread winner, and the woman in the marriage merely brought in the jam to the table, a substantial percentage of women are becoming the primary bread winners. And what is more interesting is that women are increasingly marrying down, in both education and income. Naturally, the number of men marrying up has gone up.

More men marrying up

According to research from the University of Kansas, as women are increasingly becoming higher educated over the decades, the chances of men marrying up has increased significantly. Paradoxically, chances of women marrying up have decreased significantly. This goes against the grain of what has been held sacrosanct over centuries, that marriage must either happen between equals in social status or that a woman should marry up but not vice-versa.

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While traditionally, it was the women who were marrying up, that was because they weren’t encouraged to get highly educated and be career professionals. University of Kansas’ research between 1990 and 2011 shows women’s personal earnings have grown much faster than men’s earnings have in the same period. To quote the study’s lead author, ChangHwan Kim, from an article, “This could explain why it seems men don’t complain a lot about this. It seems fine for men because their wife is now bringing more income to the household.”

Shift in financial equation

This shift in the financial equation within a marriage is interesting. Also interesting is that this is fast getting to be a sizeable percentage of marriages in the US. What about us in India? Haven’t we all grown up with the neighbourhood gossips tut-tutting when a bright young girl goes on to get multiple qualifications and super achieving in her career, because, “Where will you find a boy who is more qualified than she is?”

The parameter has yet to change here, the man in the marriage is still expected to be higher in both education and income to maintain the status quo in the partnership. Women, who are now on par with their spouses, in both income and education negotiate and renegotiate social boundaries and gender roles are now growing increasingly elastic.

In marriages where the man is on a lower rung on the pay and education scale to the wife, it could be tap dancing in a minefield of fragile male egos raised on the lifeblood of patriarchy

But what is interesting is that women are now no longer looking at the man bringing home the bacon. They can bring their own, thank you very much and the jam with it, if need be. A steady income, while always welcome, is no longer a perquisite in a woman’s decision to choose a life partner. Gender dynamics in the past century has evolved perhaps the most rapidly ever, and marriage equality has, through education, awareness, the feminist movement and venturing of women out into the workforce, become more of a reality than tokenism. Men are also definitely benefiting from the women being more professionally accomplished and bringing in a higher income. For one, it takes the load off their shoulders, the toxic masculinity load which has ‘provider’ written in lights on it. It also frees up men to take on more of being the ‘nurturer’, a role that has been systemically denied to them down the ages.

Read the rest of the article here

In WOW Parenting: My parenting journey

INTERVIEWS

Kiran Manral Shares Her Parenting Journey

How exciting it is when someone shares their personal journey of success, of trials and tribulations with us. We feel connected with that individual at a deeper level. We feel we have lived that journey with him/ her. What if we have successful parents sharing their parenting stories with us? With this aim in mind, we have started this Interview section, where we talk about the parenting journey of successful individuals.

Kiran Manral
Ideas editor at She the People Tv, Bestselling Author of 9 books, named as top 20 women influencers by Sheroes, has been a part of numerous panel discussions on varied topics like Women Entrepreneurship, Writing, Blogging etc. Manral published her parenting journey in a book titled Karmic Kids, describing her experience of bringing up her spirited son from childbirth to age ten. One highly positive review calls for the book “to be read by everyone”, not just mothers. Here’s an open heart discussion with Kiran on Parenting.

Q. What made you decide on taking the parenting plunge? Was it because well-meaning relatives and friends around suggested that it was about time or you were hitting the biological clock or you felt those nurturing instincts and therefore planned a family?

A. I’m not a very maternal soul and was only too happy to not have conceived for the first few years of my marriage. It was nice to carry other folks’ babies and be able to hand them back when they began bawling. But when I hit thirty it was like an alarm clock went off in my uterus and all I could see wherever I looked were babies and I became a giant ball of maternal mush. I must confess I then became all singular focused Arjun ki eye on the fish’s eye kind of manic in my attempts to conceive a baby and hopped through various infertility consultants. I was told we had what was called Idiopathic infertility, which basically acknowledged that we both were idiots who couldn’t conceive. Seriously, it meant there was no factor that could pinpoint why we weren’t conceiving. So much trial and error, medication, ovulation monitoring and cycles of IUI later, thanks to the fabulous Dr Indira Hinduja, the second line went blue one morning in the bathroom, and nine months later, the offspring came bawling into the world.

Read the rest of the interview here

A writing workshop with Avid Learning and Juggernaut in Feb.

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“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” -Beatrix Potter. Have you ever struggled with finding the suitable voice with which to tell your story? Do you have an investigative style, a romantic streak or an intellectual bent? Have you always wished for a sneak peek into the mind and thought the process of an author you admire? Avid Learning in partnership with Juggernaut Books presents a brand new and exciting monthly writing workshop series to help bring the inner author out in you. Lead by some of the most well-regarded authors and experts these interactive one-day workshops will explore and demystify every aspect, technique and convention of writing for and publishing in popular genres. This unique collaboration will allow fans and students to experience the other side of literature- and try their hand at writing themselves. Through this distinct alliance with Juggernaut Books, we aim to give our audience a comprehensive look at the literary world- from reading to writing to publishing, and everything in between. This series will highlight the how-to’s behind every genre, the lessons behind honing your literary skills, how to critique and appreciate different forms of writing, the art behind finding your literary voice and a distinctive and rare insight into the inner recesses of literature. First, in the series, we will have Author, Journalist and Columnist, Bachi Karkaria who will school participants on writing non-fiction. This will be followed by our second workshop on writing across different platforms with Author and Blogger, Kiran Manral in February 2018, and then Publishing 101 with Book Publisher and Founder of Juggernaut Books, Chiki Sarkar in March 2018.Come join us as we explore every avenue of writing and hone the author in you.Look forward to seeing you and your guests there! Please RSVP at felita.braganza@essarservices.co.in

 

In the Verve: AN ERA OF EMPOWERMENT: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS GIVING WOMEN A VOICE

Text by Kiran Manral

Social media has given women strength in numbers and the courage to raise their voices. Leveraging this new-found power to the utmost, they are fearlessly sharing their stories to great impact

A few weeks ago, the internet had its Arab Spring of sorts. Women across countries and continents were posting their tales of sexual harassment under the hashtag #MeToo. On Facebook, Twitter and on blogs, #MeToo became a rallying call to women — and men — to state and acknowledge the very real elephant in the room — that of the universality of sexual harassment. It began, quite innocuously, with an article by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker, which exposed the powerful Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein’s exploitation of women in the industry over several years, with actions ranging from harassment and exposure, and most damningly to rape. The article had a domino effect. It not only effectively destroyed Weinstein’s career, but also led to a cascade of similar accusations against not just powerful men, who abused young women, but also against powerful men in Hollywood, like Kevin Spacey, who abused younger men.

Read the rest here

In the Scroll today: Publishers insist writers stick to one genre. But what if they don’t want to be a ‘genre author’?

Well-meaning folk in the publishing world shake their heads disapprovingly. Stick to a single genre, they advise me. You will confuse your readers. Your readers pick up a book by you, expecting a sunny romance with the mandatory happy ending complete with doves and violins in the background, only to get blindsided by a spooky tale. Will they ever trust you again? Dour marketing teams step in, faces so grim one might think they’d spent the morning drowning puppies. Marketing a multi-genre author is difficult, they say, your books can’t be slotted conveniently on one shelf, they get scattered. Readers who might want to read older books might be disappointed when they realise the previous work is nothing like what they’ve just read. You’re dividing your audience. It hurts your “author brand.”

Read the entire article here

Of Mile-high Manspreading: In the Times of India today

In the @timesofindia today: In a widely shared tweet, author Kiran Manral wrote about how travelling alone as a woman was a nightmare. “There’s the leg spreader, the elbow into your breast, the hand that slinks from the back around the side,” she tweeted. Manral told TOI that she was reminded of incidents when she was in her 20s and 30s. “I didn’t have social media back then. I never confronted anyone. I would just give them a dirty look. I am 46 now, so I am left alone.”
Despite these policies, Indian fliers — male or female —don’t score too high on etiquette. “When you are travelling in a plane, contact with another individual is a no-no,” adds Manral. “This whole thing is about not respecting personal boundaries.”

Read the entire article here

At the Femina Project Eve Andheri Store Launch panel discussion

Honoured to be among the six inspirational women invited by Femina to speak at their panel discussion on success stories and our journey. At the FeminaProjectEve panel discussion last evening, at the launch of the Project Eve Andheri store with Miss India and IPL host Rochelle Rao tabla maestro Anuradha Pal director of Nil Batey Sanaata and Bareilly ki Barfi Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari Editor Femina Desiree De Andrade TV host and anchor Mini Mathur and fashion designer to bollywood Sonaakshi Raaj Thank you Tanya Chaitanya and Desiree de Andrade for inviting me. It was a pleasure to be there.

The Married Feminist this week: What We Women Really Need in a Marriage is a Wife!

All the married ladies in the house, I have a simple question for you. In your marriage, who is the one in-charge of maintaining a social life, keeping up social interaction with friends and family and making sure birthdays are remembered, festive greetings are dispensed and keeping track of the developments of the lives of near and dear. Ah, now that we are clear that the ladies are in a majority on this one, it might as well be an acknowledged fact that women are the ones in a marriage who take on the bulk of the emotional labour.

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We’re the ones saddled with the listening, caring, organising, coordinating, and all the drama that accompanies this job function. It must be so nice to sit with one’s feet up, and let the drama unfold around one and be completely detached from all of it.

While the male partner in a marriage (I write primarily from the heterosexual perspective of a marriage, for the simple reason that this is my personal experience), might be great at managing the kids in their extracurricular sporting activities, or helping with the groceries, etc, it is the little nitty-gritty that goes into managing the day-to-day that they seem glaringly oblivious too. The keeping in touch with family, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, all the coordination of pick up and drop, school PTAs, play dates and what have yours invariably is hefted onto the daily schedule of the wife. As a friend said wryly the other day, as she juggled between two children to be picked and dropped to different sporting activities and dinner to be made, groceries to be shopped for, and more, “What I really need is a wife.”

Read the rest here.