New Delhi, September 9, 2017 : Society has a huge role to play in the person that we become. And sometimes, that may not be the right way to go about it.
More often than not, society forces us to be somebody we are not. A woman belongs in the kitchen, a man is not supposed to cry; who established these ground rules to function in the society?
Sexism is real, and men face it too (surprise!)
“Don’t be such a girl!”
Men are always expected to display vigor and anger; their insecurities are rarely taken into account and would rather be pushed under a rug that the society largely identifies as ‘masculinity’.
We keep reminding men that they should not wear pink, that they cannot cry, and that they are only supposed to express their emotions in a certain way. We tell them to ‘not be such a girl’, to shake off their fears and ‘man up’ and to always take charge. And this never stops.
But what we are forgetting here is that men have emotions too; even when the society does not allow them to emote explicitly.
These expressions and understanding are so entrenched in daily communiqué that sometimes we fail to realize when we are making a sexist remark.
Yes, sexism is unbridled in the Indian society and (thankfully) being talked about.
While women tend to pay heed to such remarks, sexism directed towards men goes largely unnoticed.
Here are a few subtle hints to how sexism has become a part of everyday life for men,
Men are often faced with questions like “why didn’t you fight her?”, and made jokes on how they must have enjoyed it because why wouldn’t anybody enjoy a sexual encounter that essentially has ‘no strong attached’.
People in the 21st century fail to realize the real, societal damage that women who sexually assault men, cause to the society.
The man is supposed to be the ‘provider’ of the family, earning most of the money. For many men, it feels like a hard slap when women earn more money.
Because if they aren’t earning a living for their family, how can they be a “true” man?
Sexism places men and women in stereotypical roles- women are ‘naturally’ kind, compassionate and sensitive, while the men are ‘naturally’ more rational, and stronger, physically and mentally.
People say this to boys all the time and must be immediately stopped because it increasingly encourages the mindset that girls are inherently weak.
Even when the tone of such sexist comments is compassionate- sometimes even flattering, they are indicative of a stereo-typically narrow and insulting worldview.
Despite the cliche that art is a universal language, artists are interpreted very differently in terms of their gender. The unease and suspicion that accompany a male artist, irrespective of what art form he practices, are often based out of society’s view of the body and a larger understanding of ‘masculinity’.
The dominant idea about what a ‘real’ man should be include behaviors such as dominance, control, assertiveness, and emotional unresponsiveness. The society continues to think that men ‘do not do work’, but instead they ‘get work done’ by their weaker counterparts-the women.
While circumstances continue to evolve for the better, in the larger society, there still is a special place in the society for men who get angry- they are looked upon with reverence. No one points out their anger issues, or frowns upon them. It seems like arrogance and aggression are the only two emotions that men can acceptably show; that these are the only emotions that a man today is capable of showing.
We need to understand that men no longer have to ‘man up’. Instead, let them be a little more human
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