I’m sick of seeing semi-gleeful reactions to Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsi’s statement about how women “can’t have it all”. What shocks me more than the garbage her mother gave her about how she should “leave that crown in the garage” is the fact that she accepted it. A more appropriate reaction would have been to slam the door in her face and ask her to leave the house the next day. Read her account of what happened in the first paragraph. And tell me it doesn’t want to make you puke. Let’s go over the little things one by one.
The husband is “tired”, but apparently she can’t be
Nooyi comes home from work at midnight and her mother (who seems to have sat up late just to deliver this little gem), tells her that she needs to get milk. When Nooyi asks her why she didn’t request her hubby instead who came back four freaking hours ago, the mother replied that “he was tired”.
I guess I missed that part of female biology which exempts them from getting tired as well. That too when she’s back home four hours after the male. Also if he was tired at 8 o’clock, he must sure be feeling refreshed now right? I’m not blaming the husband here – without further information I can’t tell whether or not he knew what was happening behind his back and if he was aware of his mother in law acting like a total jerk to her own daughter. So he gets the benefit of the doubt.
Oh one other thing. What exactly prevented the mother from getting the damn milk herself?! Was she bedridden?
Like I said, I’m not shocked that the mother behaved in this atrocious manner per se. What pisses me off is that an educated, “empowered”, confident woman like Nooyi presumably is, just sucked it up and took it to heart. Her mother told her:
“You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”
Notice the complete lack of enthusiasm, surprise, joy and the general absence of a congratulatory atmosphere. Oh, your daughter is now the CEO of Pepsi? Screw that! Let’s put her in her place by condescendingly referring to her “crown” and bring her back to reality. “Now go get some milk!”
Dear Mom. Meet door.
Apparently men can “have it all”?
Ok, she makes a fair point. Here it is:
“I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother.”
This sounds reasonable. Except that it doesn’t just apply to women now does it? She talks about how “WE” pretend and “WE” can’t have it all, obviously referring specifically to women. But why? Is it possible for a man to spend hours upon hours every day with his kids and also spend bucketloads of time at work? No, it isn’t!
So why may I ask is this little dialogue restricted only to women? What the hell are you trying to imply? I know what it is. You think that women have some god sent duty to take care of the family and children and that men are exempt from this kind of work. Otherwise you would never have restricted your insights to one gender alone. Apparently a woman having a work/life balance isn’t “having it all”, but a man doing the same is A-ok.
Honestly, women like this who buy into the stereotype bullshit and from whom you expect better, do more to harm gender equality than anyone else. Because people listen to them. If a khap panchayat makes a statement like this, you can pity them (to an extent) and say that they’re jerks who don’t know better. But coming from a successful woman, it’s much more horrific.
So let’s push back on this “women can’t have it all” crap. Because men can’t either.