Many on "team patriarchy" condemned the comic, claiming that women have it too easy already and that men are the real victims here.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 6, 2020. It has since been updated.
In today's world, women find themselves with much more on their plates than their male counterparts especially if they're trying to juggle raising a family with a career. Sure, things are better now than they were a few decades ago but only when we stop lauding men for doing the bare minimum and start recognizing the insurmountable challenges faced by working women can we say we've achieved true gender equality. However, many on "team patriarchy" are of the opinion that women have it too easy already and that men are the real victims here.
I’ve been helping to baby-sit my year old grandson this past week & it’s brought home to me the stark reality of this image. I salute every working woman & acknowledge that their successes have required a much greater amount of effort than their male counterparts pic.twitter.com/2EJjDcK1BR— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) February 5, 2019
Those people should take a long hard look at this powerful comic strip by Peruvian political cartoonist Carlin. It gained popularity after being tweeted by an Indian businessman, Harvard grad and billionaire Anand Mahindra, who shared the image with a very important message. "I’ve been helping to babysit my year old grandson this past week & it’s brought home to me the stark reality of this image. I salute every working woman & acknowledge that their successes have required a much greater amount of effort than their male counterparts," Mahindra wrote.
Although the cartoon appears rather ordinary at first glance, a closer look reveals a number of subtle yet striking signs of how it isn't a level playing field for men and women at the workplace. It depicts three men and three women positioned at the starting line of a track that presents a clear path to the finish line for only one gender. While the women are blocked by a never-ending pile of housework, including laundry, cooking and ironing, the men are presented with a path that's completely unobstructed. And just to make things harder for the women, they are dressed skirts and heels in contrast to the suits and comfortable shoes worn by men.
While working women get recognition, home makers who work 24x7, enjoy no benefits, don't get paid, play most important role in bringing up children, keep family united and play important role in maintaining family values go unrecognised and are sometimes looked down upon.— S Rajaram (@sepprajaram) February 7, 2019
According to Scary Mommy, a number of studies have found evidence that backs Carlin's observation on workplace inequality and work-life balance. One published by the University of California Riverside found that dads are happier than moms when it comes to parenting. This, of course, might have something to do with the fact that women have to manage the lion's share of the housework while men are free to enjoy more "me time" and space to function as real people walking around in the world without constantly worrying about soccer practice or laundry or grocery shopping.
Meanwhile, another study reportedly found that women are responsible for most of the emotional labor in the household. They put in up to 98 hours of labor a week on average to tackle all the household chores both inside and outside. Moreover, a third study published in the journal Sex Roles found that the stress of juggling motherhood and a career is so immense that the invisible labor that goes into running a house in ship-shape—from knowing your kids' shoe size to bringing the dog to the vet—often results in serious mental health concerns like depression and anxiety in women.
'Women are just better at this stuff': is emotional labor feminism's next frontier? https://t.co/tMaa1Q1Tnj— The Guardian (@guardian) November 8, 2015
Despite all this scientific data backing what literally everyone knows to be true, Mahindra's tweet was met with mixed responses from the Twitterverse. While the female population on the microblogging platform appreciated the recognition for their hard work, some male tweeters screamed, "Hey, we struggle too, OK?" For example, one guy tweeted: "Dear Mr. Anand, you too are becoming influenced with #misandry There has been a redefinition of roles for men and women. Men are owning up to responsibility beyond that of a provider. #FeminismIsCancer." Another male Twitter user went ahead and edited Carlin's comic to present an alternate reality that showed how the men are the ones having a hard time. Sigh.