Friday November 24, 2017

Men too Suffer Under Patriarchy: Read Here!

Men are often faced with questions like "You're still pining over an unsuccessful relationship? Come on, boys don't cry" and "What do you mean you cook and your wife doesn't?" under the Indian patriarchy.

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Patriarchy places immense pressure on men as well.
Men are often at turmoil, deciding how to confine to society's set expectations. Pixabay

New Delhi, July 30, 2017: 

FEMINISM – An issue that has been trending on all social media for a while now- the Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. From elaborate movements defending first-day-of–period leave and equal pay, the movement is finally seeing the light of the day in the Indian context.

However, when we focus on how feminism solely reimburses the women under patriarchy, we miss an extremely integral part of the conversation- the ways in which patriarchy affects men.

As a feminist, I have a lot of sympathy for men as well, for which I am almost always at the receiving end of a lot of flack. But I believe that it isn’t just women who are the victims of the society and its patriarchal conditioning, but men too!

We live in a society where the sight of a woman shedding a few tears doesn’t raise any eyebrows, but a man doing the same invites a buzzing swarm of ‘Haww! Look at him!’

The way it is acceptable for a woman to openly express, but the questioning of even the most trivial expressive actions of a man, highlights an imperative underlying problem that is being overlooked in the pretext of ‘patriarchy’.

The society and its collective mentality which says that a woman should stay at home while the man should be the bread earner of the family is the core factor for imbibing different upbringing for boys and girls.

And for some reason, breaking this stereotype does not get the same response.

A man breaking these stereotypes is greeted with a sea of questions.

“Why do you stay at home? A man’s true calling is out there, to work in the field amidst competition.”

“You’re still pining over an unsuccessful relationship? Come on, boys don’t cry.”

“What do you mean you cook and your wife doesn’t?”

While women defying popular stereotypes are flooded with appreciation, men often struggle to justify their stance at every step.

Ways in which patriarchy affects the Indian men-

  1. Toxic masculinity

Men get bullied too. Men face abuse too. And men have their heart broken too.

Because men are human too. Period.

However, the society expects men to never be open about their emotions, but ignore them and ‘toughen up’.  The societal standards for men are venomous- they are destructive and downright regressive.

A man is not supposed to cry, feel pain, or despair because well, ‘boys don’t cry’.

2. False implications 

False complaints of rape and dowry  not just blemish the image of a man, but his line of business, future possibilities, and physical and mental harmony.  Alas, there still are cases of false accusations to extort money or ruin another man’s life that men fight in the Indian patriarchy.

3. Sexual assault

Male rape victims have always been unvoiced sufferers. They are neither at the receiving end of compassion from the society, nor do they have appropriate laws in place for their defense. To add to the anguish, the society makes them feel as “less of a man” because they were assaulted at the hands of ‘frail’ women.

4. Monetary Pressure 

Men do not have a choice but to be bread winners for their families under this patriarchy, which sometimes comes at the cost of sacrificing their own aspirations. They have to think twice and are almost always ridiculed for taking a major career decision because they are always fraught with ‘responsibilities’ to shoulder.

5. Fatherhood 

A child has to be just the responsibility of a woman, apart from the financial aspect of child bearing- that specifically is a man’s domain. As long as a man can take care of all the finances, his assistance in other aspects of child care are not questioned, or asked for. This is the reason why basic concepts like a paternity leave are understood as a redundant notion.

ALSO READ: Girls Count: Uprooting patriarchy by recognizing the role of civil society

Just like women, men fight stereotypes on a daily basis, too. They are looked down upon if they don’t fit society’s set stereotypes- cooking, dancing, fashion continue to be domains not viewed as ‘manly’ enough. And the men who manage to scrap being type-casted to this concept of toxic masculinity prevalent in the Indian society are humiliated.

Equality between sexes is a long drawn battle.
Patriarchy exerts immense pressure on both the sexes in the Indian society. Pixabay

Popular opinion holds that in cases of domestic violence, men are the instigators while women suffer as victims. However, while this is the dominant course of actions, what cannot be ignored is that men are at the receiving end of this abuse, too.

According to the latest statistics by UK based ManKind initiative (released in February 2017), 4.4% of men stated that they have experienced domestic abuse in 2015-16, equivalent to an estimated 716,000 male victims. The same research pointed out  male victims (39%) are over three times as likely as women (12%) not to tell anyone about the partner-abuse they suffer from.

The reason that most female-perpetrated violence goes unreported is due to the stigma attached to it, apparent biases, and the promptness of the system to believe that a woman would never be in such a dominant position to overpower a man in any way possible.

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A father’s role as a parent has also always been undermined, if not ignored by the society when in reality, his presence is as important as the mother’s.

These examples are simple, however thought-provoking of how men are type-cast to cater to notions that are not only ancient but also regressive.

What is important to understand is that gender equality should be both ways. Motivating a woman to work and cook for the family, but demeaning a man for doing the same is plain hypocrisy!

The goal should be to create a society where gender equality doesn’t mean the commemoration of women only but a society where issues are of key importance, rather than the combination of chromosomes one inherits.

– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala


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‘It is time to see the world through a Feminist Gaze’, says Shabana Azmi

Jio MAMI hosted a brunch to discuss and inspire women equality and quality films, which was graced by Manisha Koirala, Shabana Azmi, Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra, Sayani Gupta, Kriti Sanon, Neha Dhupia and many more

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Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 17, 2017: Veteran actress Shabana Azmi on Monday said it is the time people started seeing the world through a “feminine gaze”.

The pro-equality actress was speaking at “#F for Freedom MAMI” segment of Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival.

“I am very delighted that MAMI this year is concentrating on making women’s work more visible. I think it is high time that we started to see the world through feminine gaze,” she said.

Jio MAMI hosted a brunch to discuss and inspire women equality and quality films, which was graced by Manisha Koirala, Shabana Azmi, Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra, Sayani Gupta, Kriti Sanon, Neha Dhupia and many more.

ALSO READ Divya Khosla Kumar wishes to make ‘Women Oriented Films’ now

Manisha Koirala, who has been vocal about gender equality, said she was happy that JIO MAMI is recognizing women’s contribution.

“Tumhari Sulu” actress Neha Dhupia said that things aren’t changing but with a little initiative, things will change in coming times. “Just because there is a women-centric film after 30-40 others release, everyone feels that things are changing but they are not changing just yet.”

Kiran Rao, the lady behind the initiative, expressed that main objective was to inspire women and get them in mainstream cinema, either in front or behind.

“The initiative was started two years ago, to inspire females to be part of the film industry, not just tell their stories. We want females to join film industry as writers, actors, technicians, creative arts and camera persons as this will improve the condition of women,” said Kiran.

Film critic Anupama Chopra said that the issue of equality in the film was not just limited to Bollywood, “it is rampant everywhere”. (IANS)

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UN Brings the World Together to Fight Violence Against Women and Girls; 1 in Every 3 Women Currently Face Gender-based Oppression Globally

A third of all women experience violence at some point in their lives, and that figure is twice as high in some countries, according to the United Nations

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Violence against women
Head of U.N. Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks on stage at WE Day U.N. at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York City (VOA)

United Nations, September 21, 2017 : World leaders meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday launched a half-billion-dollar effort to end violence against women and girls, a crime suffered by 1 in 3 in their lifetimes.

The effort will fund anti-violence programs that promote prevention, bolster government policies and provide women and girls with improved access to services”, organizers said.

It will take particular aim at all categories of violence against women- human trafficking, femicide and family violence.

A third of all women experience violence at some point in their lives, and that figure is twice as high in some countries, according to the United Nations.

“Gender-based violence is the most dehumanizing form of gender oppression. It exists in every society, in every country rich and poor, in every religion and in every culture,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, head of U.N. Women, said as the United Nations held its annual General Assembly.

“If there was anything that was ever universal, it is gender inequality and the violence that it breeds against women,” she said.

In other forms of violence against women and girls, more than 700 million women worldwide were married before they were 18, and at least 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries, according to U.N. figures.

The initiative of 500 million euros (US$595 million) was launched by the U.N. and the European Union, which is its main contributor, organizers said.

“The initiative has great power,” said Ashley Judd, a Hollywood actress and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) who participated in Wednesday’s announcement.

ALSO READ Violence against Women and Girls Imposes Large-scale Costs on Families, Communities and Economies, says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

“There are already so many effective, research-based, data-driven programs,” Judd told the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of the announcement. “Financing for existing programs is a beautiful thing.

“It also makes an incredibly powerful statement to show that the world is increasingly cohesive around stopping gender-based violence,” she said. (VOA)

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Don’t Lose Heart ! Bald men more confident, attractive: Study

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Bald Men
Bald Man. Pixabay

New York, Sep 17, 2017: Worried about losing your hair? Take heart from a study that claims that bald men are perceived as more attractive, confident, and dominant.

“Choosing to dispense with one’s hair is arguably a form of nonverbal behaviour, a form of expression which communicates information about the self otherwise difficult to observe,” researchers from The University of Pennsylvania, were quoted as saying by Britain’s Independent

The researchers also suggested that bald men might be more elusive than those with typical mops.

For the study, the team gave three major tests to college students, both men and women, asking them to rate images of men according to attractiveness, confidence and dominance.

In the first study, men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant than similar men with full heads of hair.

In the second study, men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves.

This effect was due to a large degree by their higher perceived confidence and masculinity, the researchers noted.

The third study extended these results with nonphotographic stimuli and demonstrates how men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their interpersonal standing by shaving.

Thus, instead of spending billions each year trying to reverse or cure their hair loss, the counterintuitive prescription of this research to men experiencing male pattern baldness is to shave their heads, the researchers emphasised.

Doing so will increase their interpersonal standing on a host of dominance-related traits, including their potential for leadership, they said. (IANS)