ByÂ Neha Mayuri:
“Real Men Don’t Cry Only Wimps Do” ~ Haven’t we heard this often? One of the most common stereotypes against men!
“Kya Ladkiyon Ki Tarah Sharma Rahe Ho?” ~ Wait Please! It is perfectly okay for a man to feel shy!
“Mard ko dard nahin hota” (a real man does not feel pain) ~ Halt! Men do feel pain!
Men have been subjected to gender bias too! They are expected to be strong, masculine, tall, handsome, courageous, bold, rough, tough, insensitive, emotionless, fearless, shrewd, pragmatic, business minded, achievers, and expected to be successful! If they show their soft side, it’s frowned upon by the society. It is often believed that men should not have any weaknesses, they must not show feelings that make them weak. A real man is expected to have hobbies such as smoking, drinking, womanizing, rash driving, and playing outdoor sports like cricket, football, etc. Hobbies like “cooking”, “decorating”, “sewing”, and “dancing” are considered feminine. Isn’t it?
The stereotype states that real men are not “beautiful” but “smart”. So if you call a man “beautiful” chances are you will hear giggles all around. If I say men face gender discrimination too, many may probably smirk and shrug their shoulders with indifference!
He Is Emotionless: We have often heard things like “real men don’t cry, don’t feel pain, are not shy, are aggressive, and passionate.” We expect men to be tough and emotionless. But the truth is, every man has emotions, and what is wrong in expressing them?
He Is Careless: Countless cartoons aired on TV channels and various sitcoms often portray the father figure being constantly outwitted by the mother. Many TV shows portray men as careless characters! They are portrayed as incapable of doing daily chores. Well, men are versatile and resourceful and it is totally uncalled for.
Masculine Careers: At times the stereotype can take a deadly turn when a guy wants to pursue arts or literature but ends up pursuing commerce, science and management because men don’t study arts as per the stereotype! Certain careers like, being a nurse or being a nanny is reserved for women.
If He Cooks He Is Sissy: If he cooks well and loves to spend most of the time experimenting with delicious dishes, he is a sissy! Many say that! The society, strictly defines roles for men and women. According to the society rulebook, men who cook are frowned upon. Real men don’t do housework as per the stereotype!
He Is Violent: Men are deemed to be violent and aggressive. They are expected to express anger more frequently because the stereotype says that they have an inability to control anger.
As Dr Stephen Whitehead rightly said, “(Social) Masculinity is not something men are born with”. Don’t you think expectations from men are fixed by society artificially? We have been conditioned to fit into gender roles for so long, resultantly we suppress our real feelings, needs, as well as desires. Due to the rules set by society and fear of rejection, men and women often suppress the qualities inherent in them. This definitely does not infer that men and women are same, of course there are gender, biological, and social differences but it does not imply that characteristic of a particular gender does not exist in the opposite gender.
If they perform daily house chores, it is considered that they are doing a “woman’s thing” which is then considered effeminate. They are under constant pressure to be strong, to be perfect. While following these stereotypes, we often fail to perceive that stereotypes may harm men and make them feel insulted. No matter what the stereotypes say, the truth is men do get emotional often. Not all men can remain strong at all times. They do cry. They do feel scared. Not all men can be aggressive at all times. Many men are great cooks and great at household chores. Many men are extremely creative and versatile. Many are great dancers. Many are blessed with beautiful looks.
In spite of all these traits and characteristics, they are what we call ‘real men‘ and we need to ensure that due to these stereotypes we aren’t dragging men down accidentally!