We’ve all had those complete WTF moments when you stumble upon something in a textbook that just shouldn’t have been in there. Like when a Class 12 Maharashtra textbook said that “ugly and handicapped” girls find it difficult to get married and have to pay bigger dowries, or when a Bachelors of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery textbook listed out farcical ways in which to conceive baby boys, or when a Class 12 Physical Education textbook said that 36-24-36 was the ideal shape of a woman’s body.
It clearly isn’t an India-specific problem though. A New York mum named Lynne Polvino, upon looking at her daughter’s homework, found that it was just hopelessly sexist: it was a fill-in-the-blanks situation about a girl who was feeling very sad that her mother was returning to work. It regurgitated some pretty nauseating gender roles and stereotypes, from the expectation that women stay home from work, to stereotypes about men being bad cooks.
So Polvino decided to fix it. In a post that’s now going viral, she made her own version of the assignment that provided some slightly more palatable options to fill the blanks in with. Hilariously, her edit makes that last line “Lisa feels fine now,” just so much funnier.
Of course, this particular bit of homework does bring to mind a recent study that polled men on whether they think women should stay home or work. It found that a majority of Indian men feel that women should stay home and be “good wives and mothers”.