Men are not bad. Men are not devils. One must understand that diabolism doesn’t prefer a gender. It’s not gender-centric. The subjugation of women at the hands of men is a known fact but what lays masqueraded is the truth that women subjugate women as well. Peep into the history and you’ll come across umpteen number of cases where women themselves played a primary role in lynching the aims, aspirations, and freedom of their own sex. And it isn’t an all golden world with rosy paths for men too! They have been a constant but unrecognizable victim of patriarchy since time immemorial.
From childhood onwards to youth, a man has to fit into an image of a strong macho being or colloquially speaking, fit into an image of a “mard jisse dard nahi hota”. All these are very subtle examples of grave injustices which men face for they completely deprive them of their right of showing emotions, crying or breaking down. The tag of a “breadwinner” has perpetually being associated with a man, bringing a set of disadvantages both noticeable and unnoticeable.
The fact that the choice of staying at home after marriage is available only to a woman further points to the opinion which fortifies the role of a man as the ultimate caretaker and protector. It highly problematic for one cannot discard the possibility that some men or maybe a lot more would love to stay at home or work from home even if it means lesser pay. Why would the strain of being the sole earner fall on the pitiable shoulders of men, already dropping from the cumbersome weight of patriarchy!
Now speaking in the context of sexual assaults, men are bullied, assaulted and raped too. It isn’t something unlikely. It takes place on a regular basis but persistent attempts are made to cover these crimes against men. Never can it mean that their pain, trauma or anger is anywhere or anyhow less than a woman who has been treated likewise. But sadly their pain is never talked about. The fact that there are no laws to curb child sexual abuse against boys or men solely based on the fact that it is something which is conceived as incredible and impossible to occur further brings forth the injustices which men face in their day-to-day lives.
The number of men being sent to wars far exceeds the number of women soldiers. Legally, a man can be punished for adultery but a woman cannot. Mothers automatically get the custody of the child/children after divorce, irrespective of whether they are capable of being a good parent or not. The absolute lack of say during abortion of child on grounds that the child lives in the womb of a woman and not a man, again manifests the lack of autonomy men face even in the case of their own child. The dearth of bodily privacy which men face along with the tag of being called as “sex-starved creatures” or “sexual assaulters” further demands questioning of the whole mindset upon which our society functions.
Always keep the doors open, pulling the chairs for ladies and paying restaurant bills! The lack of anything mentioned makes him less of a man. The whole idea of “the perfect gentleman” or “the prince charming” is derived from essentialism which is always dangerous for it sets two rigid, watertight compartments of behavior for both men and women and ultimately curbing their freedom.
Feminism never meant harboring hatred against men. It never means bringing a drastic change which puts women at the top of the power position who then subjugate men. All it means and aims for is equality between men and women, based simply on the fact that before being genders they both are human beings. And I personally feel that the success of feminism will never be achieved if it doesn’t address men’s issues as well. Both sexes must be treated equally, without any discrimination within the four walls of domesticity, or in public places or in the eyes of the law. Men are victims as well. It’s time that their plight is heard too!