Who Cleans Up After A Party?

By Anceeta Martis - November 12, 2019

Next time you are at a family gathering, observe the dynamics of men and women and report below. Do they sit together, talk to each other, have the meal together, play with the kids equally and whether the men help in cleaning up after the party or it's just the women who do?

I've been so interested in this since I was a kid.  When my parents hosted parties, the women all huddled together either in the kitchen or in the bedroom (and kept away from the men as if they were orthodox) as soon as they entered. The kids either stayed with the women if they were babies or just left to their own devices to run around the host's house, screaming at the top of their lungs if they were older. The men sat in the living room, indulging in drinks. The women kept making cameo appearances at the men's area offering plates of appetisers or mixers for their drinks. They basically acted like waitresses. If some of the women drink, they drink their watered down, dainty little drinks even if none of the drive.

Yes, in spite of being under the influence, it's the men who drive their wives and children home after a party.

Let me point out that the men did not tell them not to sit there or that they were shooed away. This is what the women chose to do. Maybe this is why the book Lean In resonated with me because who else could understand the message of "sit at the table along with all the men" better than someone who has seen women shrink away from this all their life?

I'm very fortunate to come from a family that does not do this. The women drink along with the men and are absolutely not shy of expressing their opinion just as my maternal grandmother was the life of the party whenever she hosted anyone. Women have always formed a very important part of all discussions and their opinions do hold weight. My mother too finds it surprising when the women sit separately and talk about inane topics when she would rather be arguing about politics with the men.

Of course, some might argue that women also need the support of other women sometimes and they like to discuss things that men may not be interested in. Which can be an absolutely valid point. But there is a time for that and dinner parties is not it! Women can have their own separate gatherings without men just how men have "boys' nights out". Dinner parties are not it.

Also, how sexist is it that once the meal is over, only the women clear out the plates and not the men? The men ate too, didn't they? Maybe this is where little boys learn the difference between their female counterparts. I don't believe I have ever seen a boy being asked to set or clear the table but girls do it without being told as if they come with a job description that includes clearing tables.

I would really like to see a difference in our generation in these little things. They do not take away from the stereotypes of any gender. A boy or man does not become any less macho by helping his mother or his hostess by carrying a few plates and dishes to the kitchen. Change begins when the mother teaches her little boys these responsibilities and I'm hopeful that this might actually end up in the creation of more equal households. 

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