Me to we
Gender equality discussion only paints women as the sole victim of patriarchy but the damaging nature of this outdated mindset seeps into men’s lives as well.
There is no doubt that women have been the primary subject of patriarchy’s blows but does that mean we should turn a blind eye to the plight of men?
The whole idea of feminism started with the basic concept of having equality among genders in society. However, while women are getting equal opportunities men’s issues do not see the light of the day.
The Ridiculous Masculinity Standards
The tag of masculinity comes with a heavy price for men in our world.
Men need to be ‘manly’ and ‘masculine’ to be considered as real men. Any man falling outside the usual mold of the rigid masculine standards is immediately termed as ‘sissy’ or worse a ‘girl’.
These set standards begin right from childhood where boys are encouraged to play with cars and guns but not dolls.
The Quintessential Male
The quintessential male is a provider and a protector. He is a man who is strong and does not show any signs of weakness (read emotions). He doesn’t feel any pain and is fantastic in controlling his wife.
Do you see how messed up these male stereotypes are? It encourages men to turn into cavemen who have zero intelligence and emotions.
For equality to prevail in our society we need to change the stereotypes surrounding men.
A modern-day man shouldn’t have to feel awkward while discussing his problems. People shouldn’t laugh at a man being sensitive. Similarly, a man shouldn’t be looked down upon just because he chooses to stay at home and raise his kids while his wife works.
Crying, laughing, and showing a full spectrum of emotion should be free for both women and men.
Men need to be more independent
Men need to be more independent not just in the area of finances but also in the area of ‘knowing how to survive.’ Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, sewing a button, taking care of a baby, etc. are life skills that everyone should know irrespective of gender. These skills are vital and do not come up with a stamp marked ‘women’s duties’.
When parents keep their young male child away from such tasks and ask him to focus just on studies they are actually letting him stay dependent on someone else for the rest of his life for his basic needs.
This particular point has another big halo effect when a boy grows up to become a man. This halo effect has an impact on his choice of a life partner. When a man can cook his food and do his laundry then he can aspire to have a life partner in its truest sense (and not for the free maid services).
The fundamentals of life should be the same for everyone. If women’s rights get attention so should men’s. If women get the luxury to cry and be taken seriously so should men.
Laying down rigid gender stereotypes does more harm than good to society. If we want a thriving world where women are safe and men are appreciated then we should start treating our men as humans and not ATMs.
The seed of a more egalitarian society is sown right at home.