"I want more women in office"
A tweet by Indian journalist Barkha Dutt, sharing a warm and fuzzy picture of the US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff has offended many on Twitter.
The picture, shared by Emhoff after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were announced as winners of the 2020 elections by leading international news agencies, showed him hugging his wife and was accompanied by the caption “So proud of you.”
Dutt retweeted Emhoff’s tweet with the caption, “Please show me the Indian Man who’d be secure enough to be this man.”
As expected, Barkha Dutt is trending on Twitter with many having taken offence to her tweet.
Since ages, men have been considered the heads and breadwinners of the family.
Considering the traditional mindset of many Indian families, men being supportive of female family members has often been looked upon with doubt. As it goes against a patriarchal view.
Please show me the Indian Man who'd be secure enough to be this man. ?? https://t.co/46YsknZY6g
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 11, 2020
So when Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, said he was proud of his wife for becoming the next Vice President of the United States and shared an adorable picture of the two, some women were sceptical and asked:
Are Indian men as secure and supportive of their wife’s accomplishments as Emhoff?
Surprisingly, what came next were heaps of tweets sharing examples of supportive Indian husbands who stood by their wives like a pillar.
Many sons shared the stories of their own parents, of powerful women supported by their husbands every step of the way:
“My mom is a senior professor , ex Vice chancellor , Dean of an University. My dad is proud of her like all of us .
“I am sorry but surely Indian men’s are as progressive as western men or may be more !
“Don’t always spread negativity about Indian men .”
Vikas Pandey wrote:
“She became Mayor of Gorakhpur. Indian men do it, but are too shy to have such photo-op!”
My dad who stood by mother through hundreds of movies , joining a party when it was in the opposition and very unpopular in AP, and three elections- and didn’t change one bit through it all. Sad to see long history of Indian women in politics forgotten so easily. https://t.co/xSDwsVR7ID
— Vamsee Juluri ?? (@VamseeJuluri) November 11, 2020
Not only did husbands and sons come to the aid of their gender, but women also pitched in their stories of support as well:
Keya Gosh replied:
“My husband who is a Doctor himself has been my plinth of support and has encouraged me all along. But he doesn’t go about to propagate it on Social Media.”
Pooja Gianchandani wrote:
“Even if it meant leaving his work and moving to a new country to support me during my #ChancellorFellowship so I could represent my country. It’s been 5 years and he hasn’t changed a bit.”
Whereas, some reminded the world of India’s own powerful female politicians and the husbands that stood by them:
Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat is an Indian farmer, politician who was the First Gentleman of India as the husband of President Pratibha Patil. pic.twitter.com/sDoFwobav1
— Rebel (@neutralist1111) November 12, 2020
While Indian men have quite a while ago broken the mould of First Gentleman of India, for the United States Vice President Kamala Harris is the first women to hold her position.
As such, her husband Doug Emhoff is to become America’s first-ever second gentleman.
Doug Emhoff, 56, will be will leave his private law practice by Inauguration Day to focus on his role at the White House, according to a spokesperson.
He’s said little so far about how he’ll approach the role and is still working with the transition team on what issues he’ll tackle.
Kim Nalder, a professor of political science who has focused on women and gender at California State University-Sacramento said:
“We’ve been waiting for this sort of gender switch for decades now.”
“There is a lot of symbolism from a man stepping back from his high-powered career in order to support his wife’s career.”
Emhoff has been quoted to say in an interview with the digital site NowThis News:
“I want more women in office, and I want more partners, whoever their partner is, to support them and to provide an opportunity and an environment for success.”