As women get more empowered and have the option to choose from a variety of roles, men are being holed more and more into set roles and expectations from society. This is a sexist reversal we are seeing rather than liberalization of roles of all genders.
And it is creating the same situation of a gender being stuck with society’s expectations and no freedoms. This pendulum of change is not healthy in the short run or long because once a pendulum swings in one direction, it will soon swing the original direction again.
No matter how empowered the women get, if it is providing for the family, it still seems to be the man’s job as a default. Of course, a lot of women are doing it too, but the man doesn’t seem to have the option to quit.
Conscription to army, upholding the nation’s honour, defending the ‘defenseless’ is still the man’s job. Whether it is serving in the military or protecting from dangerous elements, women and children are lumped together and men are supposed to put their own safety at stake.
While women are judged on the basis of clothes they wear, it is not only their bastion. Men are judged extremely frequently on their choice of clothes too. Not only are they not allowed to use accessories, they are not supposed to wear colour. In fact, men’s fashion always reflects their status as provider, with only formal and bland colours and fashion styles available everywhere. This is very clear when you see the shirt, tie, blazer and trousers fashion hasn’t changed for more than 60 years.
A man with bad habits is blamed for the habits. A man without bad habits is called a coward. Whether it is cigarettes and alcohol or something more severe as wife beating or being addicted to porn, all men undergo scrutiny for bad habits by friends and relatives alike.
Not only is a man not supposed to care about his clothes, apart from his bad habits, a man is not supposed to want anything else. Unless it is for status. That car? For status. That home theatre? For status. That fridge? Coz his wife insisted. That vacation? Coz his family insisted.
Just like that, because you know a person has a certain set of genitals, you see everything the person does through the lens of the stereotype. Every time a man voices his opinion, takes a stand or even politely disagrees, the world simply sighs, “Male ego!” under its breath and moves on.
Everytime a man looks at a woman, he is not thinking about sex. This is like calling a person mad and asking the person to prove his sanity rather than trying to prove the insanity in the first place. This is just as wrong as thinking women don’t like sex..
A man is supposed to be shallow, stupid and insensitive to emotions. Just like all of men’s actions are seen through the perspective of male ego, all of men’s feelings are seen through the perspective of being dumbed down and blunt. You want a man to feel but do not think he is capable of enough feeling. This contradiction hurts on a regular basis when women are deemed to have the superhuman power of true emotions while the man’s are seen as some sort of cheaper version.
Points 7 & 8 together make it seem that not only are men shallow, they end up ‘striking a deal’ exchanging relationship commitment for sex, just like women are stereotyped to deal sex for relationship commitment. It just paints a depressing picture where each gender is trying to strong arm the other into what they want.
A man is inherently seen as a broken animal. Right from childhood descriptions of boys as dirty, naughty and with no control over themselves while girls are painted a picture of princesses and fairies, men are seen as broken humans who can only be controlled, fixed and fit into the only correct definition of human that is there, by the right woman.
A man is expected to be a virile animal who not only thinks about sex all the time but will put his penis anywhere he gets a chance. He will have sex with willing and unwilling women, children, other men, transgenders, animals and furniture.
A man with control on his temper is an utopian dream, it seems. Women are seen as having uncontrollable sadness and men as having uncontrollable rage. Do you see the pattern where each gender is seen to have the opposite short comings of each other?
Of course, thinking about sex all the time, having the male ego that refuses to take a no, having uncontrollable libido and temper, what will a man do if unrestrained but to rape every living thing that he comes across? No wonder that men on men or women on men violence never generates TRPs although the former is much more prevalent than men on women violence. Because we seem to think all men deserve it since they are that sorts.
Another absolutely contradictory expectation from men is that they should be sufficiently jealous of rival suitors – because this proves their love for their partner. At the same time, they are blamed for being possessive. Again a case of dono tarf se dhol bajana.
The same set of people that acknowledge that women have individual wants, preferences and choices, seem to insist that all men want the same things. If this stereotype was true, the so many urban women who work in India and their rural counterparts who also make a living through businesses and odd jobs, would be non existent. For every first woman doctor, astronaut, business person (in recent history) there have been men who have supported them immensely. Do not trivialize the role of these men or see them through the perspective of begrudgingly allowing their women folk to indulge in their ‘silly desires’ till they became big.
Men are seen as the weaker gender held strong only by their own egos. They are supposed to need more care during sickness and pain and are considered crippled when left on their own. Even those men who live by themselves are expected to revert back to their dependant selves as soon as they get a woman in their lives.
Whether it is war, natural calamity, a mugging or an accident, men are supposed to lay down their lives and safety for others. Men are to leave the burning building, sinking ships, dying nations and bleeding accident spots the last, lest some other more important life be lost in their stead. No wonder then that the most dangerous jobs in the world are done by men not because they are trying to keep their hold on those jobs but because daddy needs to earn money for the family and it is ok to do a dangerous job for it.
A continuation of the assumption that men always want sex and women don’t means that men have to work to make the said sex happen. By first building a relationship, by first wooing the woman, promising her a paradise, taking her on beautifully planned trips, taking care of her. When will men be allowed to be swept off their feet? When poems and stories will have men longing for that woman who comes in to their lives while they do nothing and the woman manages the entire courtship period for them?
While the focus of gender issues is not on the concept of gender but a particular gender, today’s situation is such that there is only an equality of suffering. Women still don’t have social rights and men’s rights are being legally eroded. Instead of a situation of positive equality, we see a situation of equal deprivation.
What ways do you think men are still held captive in sexist ways?