Thangachi’s Corner: Jack of All Trades

Updated every other Wednesday, “Thangachi’s Corner” is a bi-monthly feature that discusses relatable topics and issues relevant to the Canadian Tamil youth of today. For more information about this feature or to suggest a topic, feel free to e-mail us at!

Written By: Keerthana Raveendran

“You can’t cook? But—but you’re a girl!”

Sound familiar?

It is no secret that our culture has a terrible habit of gender-labelling life skills. We have undergone a normalization process in which cooking, cleaning, and domestic skills in general are expected to be learnt by women. Now, I’m all for gender equity and what not, but I don’t necessarily take issue with this part. Domestic skills really are quite useful for women, especially considering the fact that we’re all going to run our own homes one of these days. But what is more pressing is that the lack of these same skills in men is found to be acceptable.

Because… won’t men be running their own homes as well?

That’s the problematic part. Life skills are just that – skills that both men and women require to lead successful lives. We know well enough from popular television plotlines that folks who grow up pampered leave the home and struggle adjusting to a lifestyle in which Amma no longer cooks their favourite meals or cleans up after them.

But don’t forget—gender double standards work both ways. Men in our culture are expected to earn greater incomes than their female counterparts. While women may be able to get away with not knowing how to change a car tire or fix a piece of broken furniture, men are not so lucky; in our society, sewing is to women as mechanics are to men. Physical fitness and emotional stability are also very gendered—very male—traits in our culture: men are expected to hold it together at all hours of the day.

You can see what kind of problem all of this creates. By gender-labelling life skills, traits, we end up limiting both sides of the gender spectrum, hoping that our “better half” will fill eventually in the gaps one day. Instead, we should be yearning for well-roundedness from the get-go. We should be encouraging our young folks to learn and to experience as much as they can. Rather than forcing an interpretation of gendered expectations, embolden youth to develop themselves not based on whether they are from Mars or Venus, but rather on the skills they will need in the long run.

Trust me on this one—it’ll give “Jack of All Trades” a whole new meaning.

About the Author:

Keerthana Raveendran, known by her flock as Thangachi, is an aspiring author whose motivation to write usually kicks in when she’s supposed to be occupied elsewhere. She is an avid procrastinator who sees potential novel ideas as movies in her head. Maybe one of these days they’ll make it onto the page. Thangachi is currently a Masters student studying English at York University.

Read More by Keerthana!


“The Horse-Faced Princess”

“Seven Steps to Acceptance”

“Early Birds and Night Owls”

“Try, Try, Try Again”

“The Elusive Career Path”




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