The stereotyping of people and profession has been an exasperating malady and a clichéd one, more often noticed in societies in India. I wonder if the same is endemic in societies elsewhere, for instance in the West.
The psychiatrist in a film or play must sport a beard, perhaps taking the cue from Sigmund Freud; a school teacher must necessarily have an over sized pair of glasses; a lawyer must invariably don the ubiquitous black robe or his court uniform even while at private functions; a doctor must have the stethoscope on him 24x7 and so on! The contention may be that the profession or the nature of the person can be conveyed only if they have these special adornments. Hindi flicks in the seventies were dominated by villains who always sported a cloak and had a smoking pipe perched to their lips.
We refuse to unlearn these misrepresentations. What I notice these days often discussed and alleged by mothers of prospective brides and grooms is another facet of stereotyping-stereotyping taken to ridiculous extents! They assume and are convinced that what they presume is what the fact is.
I wonder if during my youth the clichéd statements and inhibitions, that I would call sociological superstitions existed in the same intensity as they do now to derail betrothals and match making. It crosses even bizarre limits when educated parents of prospective brides air such views that are stupid, silly, and illogical and defying sound judgment.
When men of a particular profession is allegedly goddamned to be having affinity and indulgence in lecherous behavior, it defies sound judgment. It is absolutely irresponsible and blasphemous. In Kerala there is an element of antipathy towards women in the medical profession of nursing. Women in the profession are seen as grossly flirtatious and promiscuous. Ironically Kerala has the maximum number of women in nursing. It is alleged that a sailor has a woman in every port of call. And the tag stays, only because of the biased proclivity of some. I have noticed doctors with libertine ways. What about that?
But what is bright as summer’s day is that one need not be a sailor, a nurse or a doctor let alone a techie to be dissolute and promiscuous. Fornication and loose morals are not the prerogative of these selected professions. It can be indulged in by any. And one can still display the countenance of an apostle. And that goes with any one you pick irrespective of what he is, a doc, a janitor, a banker or a bureaucrat.
As some parents describe the scenario as “market value”! It reminds me of the classes in Economics that I sat through drearily years ago; then the in-elasticity of demand (apologies to Alfred Marshall). It is flippant and rather crude way of analyzing and judging in a match making situation, to relate the prospective bride (more often), or the groom as we do commodities and their demand, supply and price line in economics. Then the parents fret when the demand is elastic and the ideal profession from which they look to acquire a groom is in short supply.
But then why do parents stick to their guns and damn some profession?
Doesn't these idiosyncrasies of the society boil down as the over emphasis on conventions and skewed mindset? I wonder if economic independence or empowerment is of lesser significance and wisdom than wedlock. If one sees it so then it is a betise inviting trouble in later life. Even if the groom is acquired or fished out from a profession the parents claim or see to be noble and sequestered away from riotous moorings and forays, does that give a carte blanche guarantee that he may not stumble or go astray. Is there a threshold? In such a god- forbidden possibility is it not wise to be economically independent than be pushed into a matchmaking and relationship where woman is overly dependent on the man for sustenance?
I’m concerned about the education and the right academic qualification for my child and am not harried by the thought of her betrothal. Whether the fellow is a sailor, a doctor, an environmentalist or a bureaucrat, it may not drive me into insomnia. Well certainly not a professional politician, but yes a person who engages in political activities outside his profession and not for livelihood is not an anathema. But eventually it is her choice and I guess education will impart her sound judgment needed to choose a partner.