Today I had a few thoughts on gender equality, feminism and the attitude of some people to search for something bad in everything they see. Let me explain you this as well as what this all has to do with the Ashram kitchen.
A few of our Ashram guests had an Ayurvedic Cooking Workshop today. They had started in the morning by making paneer and in the afternoon, everyone sat together in the entrance hall of the Ashram, picking spinach leaves. It was a pleasant round of women with my grandmother, three of our female staff members and our guests. I thought it was a nice scene and I took a photo.
After having posted it on facebook, I got several positive comments plus two of the same kind:
"Do only women have the responsibility of cooking food in your place?" and "Seeing your previous posts, I was hoping that men would take part in preparing the daily food at your Ashram!"
Quite obviously these two commentators assumed, from seeing one single picture out of our Ashram, one moment’s shot, that the ladies picking the spinach would also be the ones to prepare the meal. That they were the ones in charge of the kitchen.
I replied with another picture of the situation in the kitchen: several male staff members in the kitchen, rolling out and frying flat bread. I mentioned my hope that this picture would not spark a debate on why we didn’t allow women in our kitchen!
The commentators were people who have never been here, whom I don’t know personally and who really have no idea of the setup of our Ashram, staff and family.
Rest assured, everyone who sees this photo, that men and women work here together with an equal share in tasks of every domain! Currently, the main cook of our kitchen is male. His helpers are both male as female. They all cut vegetables, stir in the pots and bring them to the table! We wouldn’t mind having a female head chef in our kitchen either! My mother was the one who always supervised the kitchen while my brothers and I have taken over that responsibility after she had left – it doesn’t matter which gender the person has as long as he or she knows what needs to be done and how!
So the question of gender equality was quite quickly out of my mind again, as I know we don’t discriminate anybody here – but I thought some more about the mental situation of the commentators. I believe it reflects your inside if you search for something negative wherever you look. Without knowing more, you interpret something into pictures.
Why can’t you just take things light from time to time? Why can’t you just appreciate a nice picture and leave it at that without searching for a fault?