Google finishing or grooming school and you’ll hit upon dozens, if not hundreds, of ‘professional’ agencies teaching women how to be a good wife, bahu, homemaker, food-maker, guest-pleaser and so on. For anything from a few thousands to lakhs, these courses teach a bride-to-be all the important skills like beauty therapy, social graces, housekeeping and flower arrangement (to name a few).
Funnily enough, Delhi-based freelance graphic designer Pooja Dhingra found, there were no such schools for men. So she put her graphic design skills to the task, designing a graphic of lessons for grooms-to-be that most women would expect them to learn.
Check it out here:
Pooja came up with the idea after her friend contacted her to design for a “ladies only” project, a few weeks ago. A feminist at heart, Pooja was very excited about the possibilities – until she found out it was for a ‘grooming school’ for ladies.
Writing on her Instagram page, Pooja said that the program was an “elaborate” one, full of lessons on “sanskari manners, being an ideal bahu, kitchen management, table manners, the art of conversation” and so on. And, she pointed out unsurprised, there was nothing in it about a woman’s rights as a wife, about planned parenthood or about financial independence.
“It made me really, really mad,” Pooja tells TNM. “I turned down the project and could have chosen to forget about it. But it just made me so upset that I decided to do something about it.”
Pooja has so far put together the first level of the lessons, what she calls “Level 1” for beginners. And it’s stuff you could not possibly argue over – from picking up after yourself, personal hygiene (brushing and bathing at least) and sharing kitchen chores to taking care of the baby (giving more than just a sperm) and compromising on life and career choices.
As obvious as all of this sounds, says Pooja, she included these lessons because she observed that too many husbands lacked even in these. “I have seen so many of my friends’ husbands not contributing equally in the household and it’s really sad. That’s where these lessons come from,” Pooja says.
Pooja is clear that she doesn't simply want a role-reversal, but rather an equal sharing of responsibilities. "My live-in partner and I for instance divide our errands equally. It comes naturally in my case, but it's more an exception than the rule," she observes.
Pooja says that she wants to make a few more graphics in this vein, with a few more ‘levels’. She is also working on graphics depicting a visual representation of her favourite feminist essays. “I want my work to reflect who I am,” she says.
(Pooja Dhingra first wrote about this in The Ladies Finger.)