Unconditional love — an argument used by and large to advocate women’s unpaid labour in Indian households. Mother’s love is unique, a woman can make sacrifices like no other, she devotes her life to her children and family — haven’t we all heard these statements at some point? 

And, over the years, we might have convinced ourselves to believe that the patriarchal notion employed to oppress women is actually how she fulfils her duty towards her loved ones. 

The Great Indian Kitchen film scene
Source: BBC

Young women are given examples of the older generation to justify the legacy of women's duty (of course household chores) and their way of life, originally imposed on them and now a tradition. 

Last year, we saw a mother doing kitchen work on oxygen support and the act being praised on the internet. Some even romanticised the incident and defended it by saying that it could be her choice. Yes, of course, it could be. But years of patriarchal oppression can easily make women succumb to the conditioning. One could be gaslighted to an extent where lines get blurred between love and slavery. How do you argue with that?

A similar debate kicked off on Twitter when a user of the micro-blogging site, Alishba, shared an incident where her aunt spent the whole day cooking when she had to get operated for breast cancer the very next day. Since she won’t be able to feed her family while she’ll be recovering following the operation, the woman prepared the meals in advance.  

The user asserts that is “expected of women” there and the family doesn’t even bother to object. No one can confirm whether it’s a choice or not.

Expectedly, some of the comments that followed aimed at schooling the woman, pointing out the problematic tradition, and claim that she is bringing a “negative aspect” to an otherwise common act.

And without any delay a valid point was made to dismiss the whole "positive outlook".

Surely, some of them aren't expected to but do so willing. And that was made clear by a Twitter user. Well, good for you ma'am, but not the case with everyone. 

Yes, did you consider that?

Mnay other users narrated similar incidents which visibly points out the issue.

Women in our own families, at times, have unknowingly tried to pass on this legacy to us as values. The patriarchal norms have been gladly accepted as the way of women's life. 

None of us need the Devi status or 'Supermom' label in exchange of unpaid labour, for sure.