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5 Pivotal Points From Satyamev Jayate’s Latest Episode That Show How Masculinity Harms Men

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By Kanika Katyal:

“Mard ko dard nahin hota.”
“Mard ho to saamne aao, warna choodiyaan pehen lo.”
“Ladki ki tarah mat ro. Mard bano.”

All of these are some of the most common stereotypes that men are faced with.

The fundamental point consolidated through all three stereotypes is that patriarchy is a double edged sword. While men enjoy a privileged position, the flip side is that they are also subjected to a lot of pressure .The victimiser and victimised are thus, not so distinct.

The finale episode of Satyamev Jayate, titled ‘When Masculinity harms men’ significantly represented how the fixed notion of masculinity structured under patriarchy oppresses men.

1. The episode begins with the narration of two brutal instances, where masculinity equated with aggression took two lives.

One minor tiff on the road turns into a brawl and claims Akash’s life. A monstrous levels of physical, psychological, sexual and emotional trauma engulfed Amit.

Is a small scratch on a bike weighty enough to bruise male-ego? These gruesome instances of savagery and cruelty make us wonder where all this aggression is coming from.

It springs from an unhinged, preposterous and sadistic exigency to establish masculinity. The problem lies in the constant need to assert an assumed sense of superiority . There seems to be a race for social manhood. A competition based upon hostility to determine who the ‘more manly’ of the lot is. You need to trample the other down before he gets a chance to defeat you. Thus, the number of people you terrorize is directly proportional to your degree of manhood.

But these deeply entrenched notions of masculinity are so brutal that they end up devouring men, pushing them to deadly extremes and even claiming their lives.

2. Five men, from five different parts of India, come together to narrate instances of oppression against men in patriarchy .

– Vipin Bharti: “Why are you crying? Are you not a man?”

What is this regime of control that terrorizes men? By compelling them to be brave and fearless all the time, it paradoxically instils the fear in them, the fear of failing to match the gendered expectations.

– Lenin: “Maar khaa ke aaye ho? Jao maar ke aao.”

He highlights the picture of a society where the assertion of masculinity in the public sphere is held in utmost respect, where a gun is the epitome of masculinity and bravery and killing for no reason symbolise valour.

Anyone who does not bear these tokens of masculinity, which are in fact seeds of violence, conflict and war, is a “moga” or an effeminate man.

– Chhindrapal and Ram Mehar throw light upon a tradition of socially sanctioned form of gender violence.

The saying in Haryana goes: “Beat her (the wife) in the morning, Beat her at night” – that’s how a man can prove his masculinity.

This legacy of physical assaults on women is naturalised, as if she was born to be beaten. The whole discourse based around the need to “prove” is in itself, not only problematic but also coercive.

– Madan Bharti narrates a tale of gender-based discrimination in terms of educational opportunities. While he went on to pursue his education, he zapped the potential of his younger sister because it somehow hurt his self-respect, reinforcing how unjustified and shallow these implied social protocols are.

3. How do you expect the relationship to improve if men are told that women are tools? Like they have a divinely ordained claim to each woman who comes in the scope of their vision?

A horrifying example of such a sick mental outlook is the acid attack on Laxmi. Women are not seen as autonomous individuals, she is just an object to satisfy the desires of men. She is meant to submit. So, a rejection from her is equivalent to castration.

4. Such violent manhood is connected to notions of inequality, injustice, power and authority. As Kamla Bhasin insightfully explained in the show – Sex is biological, gender is a socio-cultural construct. Gendered division of labour is again a social construct, not based on some metaphysical notions of natural endowments. Masculinity has nothing to do with nature!

Again, the very fact that girls as young as 6 years old are raped shows that it’s not about so much about sex. It’s power politics that takes the form of sexual politics. It’s an assertion of authority over the powerless, which serves to massage the ego of the otherwise repressed man. So when you fail to exercise your agency elsewhere, you vent out your frustration through your ever potent expostulation of masculinity. All this is just because they are told that men are strong and women are weak, and need to be put down, in every sense of the word.

So even if it is a baby, this feigned sense of supremacy gained is enough for the man to feel man enough. In their misguided quest to be ‘real men’, men have stopped being even real humans!

5. So, what is the solution?

Fundamental changes need to be made in our conditioning and socialization. The couples featured at the end of the episode solved the puzzle regarding what it was that comprised real manhood. They exemplified how even a reversal or re-structuring of conventional gender roles works best if the relationship is based upon respect, equality and mutual understanding.

The notions of the male bread earner, the woman being the home-maker, and the naturalised subjugation of the wife, all were defied. Through their negotiation, and improvisation of the traditional arrangement of duties in the institution of marriage they defied orthodoxy to find their peace and happiness.

The solution is thus, as simple. We need to understand that it is we, both men and women, who constitute the family, society and humanity. There are no two opposing, competing teams.

A culture that idealizes dominance rather than cooperation and partnership cannot imagine other models for living. The creation of gender binaries and divisions is a form of hierarchy and oppression that we need to rid ourselves of. We are equal individuals who can have the same desires, goals and ambitions and can learn, grow and work towards a better society collectively.

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  1. Babar

    The ‘solution’ towards the end of the article is a joke. Today, the children of working mothers are dumped with maids, babysitters, in-laws, day care centres, etc, and are made to sacrifice so that women can have the life they want, instead of women sacrificing so that children can have the life they deserve. Women today are selfish who do not even have time to pack lunch for their school children. Women deprive their children of motherly love, because their so called independence comes before their children. Women do not pause for a second to see the injustice they are perpetrating on their children.

    1. D Gill

      Babar, again, when children are school aged (5 and on) there is more than enough time in the day for the mother to work outside the home. And do you realize that maybe the household needs the 2 incomes???? Women this and women that, Babar, you lump all women in the same group as being useless and uncaring. Do you realize how misogynistic your comments are? And yes your above mentioned issues are important but also are the issues highlighted in episode. Again, you seem to be going on and on about the same issues. So according to you, talking about other issues discredits others? Stop whining and do something about the issues that you are talking about rather than posting over and over and over again in a comments section. We are sick of reading your same old lame comments. You really come off as a whiny emotional psycho. Enough already.

    2. Babar

      Apparently all women are in the workforce for the extra income (read pennies) which the wife ‘contributes’ to the household, while sacrificing her children in the process, who spend their childhood in day care centres and with maids. And for the highly insane argument that men should stay in the home and women should go to work, it is exactly what feminists are trying to achieve. Emasculate and subjugate men. A woman’s whole body points to the fact that motherhood is her job. A bond between the mother and child bond is stronger than a father and child bond, and that is why family courts award children to mothers in divorce cases. A woman can provide for a child’s emotional needs better than a man. A child needs a mother more than a father. If feminists could have it their way, men would become pregnant and give birth.

    3. TheSeeker

      Once a child starts going to school, mothers can start working again. Motherhood isn’t her whole point of existence. And there are women who choose not to have children, what do they do? Women have feelings too, you know. They have dreams and aspirations which people like you love to whine about.

    4. Panda

      It takes two people to create a child, Babar. If men feel that staying at home and taking care of their kids equates emasculation and subjugation, maybe they should reconsider having kids in the first place.

      Also, I’m really glad you made a point about women earning mere “pennies”. In 99% of occupations women *are* paid less than their male counterparts performing the same job and working the same number of hours. Equal pay scale is something feminists are fighting towards. Glad you picked up on that point. 🙂

    5. Babar

      First off, you are paid for your work according to your experience, academic credentials, skills, and how well you do your job. It is not a question of a man and a woman working the same job not being paid the same, even two men or two women working the same job will not be paid the same. Two doctors, two engineers, two teachers, etc, will be paid differently. Secondly, women earn less because women work less number of hours than men, take maternity leave, work easier jobs than men, and take courses in college which pay less.

    6. Panda

      Why can’t the fathers stay at home and look after children? Why do we assume that men have the right to resume work but it is the perrogative of women to stay at home and look after the kids? What about men who work long hours and miss the plays/dance recitals/sports matches of their children? Don’t their children suffer?

    7. soulonearth

      I’m looking forward to Babar’s reply to Panda’s comment…but he won’t, as usual!

    8. Babar

      You’re equating a man missing a game or play of a child to the gruelling hours a child has to spend in a day care centre, everyday, because the mother is too selfish to stay at home and take care of their children.

    9. Somia Sharma

      Dear Babar,
      I believe that you have been brought up in such an environment where women would have suffered at their worst or so does it reflect from your comments.

      Why should men not look after the kids? It is enough for a woman to carry the child in her womb for 9 months. What she goes through is much beyond your expectations. To give a birth to a child is a matter of life and death for her.
      No one loves a child more than a mother. But the circumstances do not allow the it always. A father taking care of the child doesn’t make him any less a man. Rather it brings them close to their families and makes them more lovable. Why should a father not take paternity leave and nurture the child? The child equally belongs the man as she does to a mother. So why not?? Fathers not going to soccer matches as they have to attend the PTM turns out to be a big deal but the mother sacrificing her career, health and appointments do not matter at all.
      It seems that you are not at all attached to your mother because had you been, you would have understood the reasons behind the inequality and would have done something towards solving the problems rather than cribbing about the good being done in the society.

    10. Babar

      Thanks for proving my point. All that matters is a woman’s career, be it at the expense of children, whose childhood is being sacrificed as they are left with in-laws, babysitters, maids, and in day care centers.

    11. Panda

      What about single mothers? Who will provide for them?

      It costs more to be a woman than a man.

      It’s an infuriating and relatively unnoticed fact: Not only do women earn less than men, all around the world, they are essentially being “taxed” for their purchases.

      Sometimes called the “invisible,” “pink” or “woman” tax, this capitalism-induced phenomenon reflects the price difference between otherwise functionally identical products marketed to women as opposed to men.

      Keeping this in mind, women who work are perfectly justified and need not pander to your outrageous whims, thank you and good bye.

    12. Babar

      Please see comment dated Nov. 16.

    13. Rose

      You, Mr. Babar, are a misogynist.

  2. Babar

    Women have legal and social and political privileges, yet feminists lie about men having privileges in society to play victims. Furthermore, this article is a very poor attempt to emasculate men. Aamir Khan is a feminist who highlights women’s issues only for TRPs. He is a lame activist who does not have enough human decency to talk about the thousands of innocent Indian men who are victims of domestic violence, the fact that men commit suicide twice the rate of women, husbands and their parents rotting in jail over false claims of dowry and rape by daughters-in-law. Misuse of section 498A is very common these days. Women today have turned this into a business, where they treat husbands like an ATM anyway, and if a marriage goes awry, they slap section 498A. Women are also rape-profiteers, who blackmail men for money and to settle personal agenda. Even programs like Crime Patrol and Saavdhan India are run by women, who will not show atrocities on men and crimes by women in India.

    1. Somia Sharma

      We cannot rule out that the men are not the victims in many cases but in most of the cases the victims are women. And hence the needs to focus more on the issues of women empowerment. Feminism is not against men but the inequality faced by women. We do have stringent rules and processes to find the truth. Domestic violence is more commonly practiced on women, rapes are more common on girls and women, eve-teasing and harassment are crimes against women and therefore the need for these laws. Men do suffer but the percentage of these cases is very low.
      Also for your information marital rape is not an offence in India. So a women even after getting raped by her husband cannot go fight against it according to Indian constitution.
      You don’t seem to be getting any of the facts right. Also most of the rapes on men are also committed by other men themselves.

    2. Somia Sharma

      I don’t see any sense in what you talk about. A woman’s career is as important to her as the man’s. Why does she need to let go of her ambitions and aspirations. You are just a chauvinistic egoist who does not want women to progress and prosper. The birth of a child is as important to a man as a woman. Why does he not take some days off and care of the child. Having a child is just a part of a woman’s life (though very important) but does not contain her whole life. If she is able to manage her career and personal life well, why should people have an issue. And a little support from the family and husband would not do them any harm.
      Anyhow, women work harder than men. And life of a working woman is even busier. She needs to put in a lot of effort and energy to meet the daily demands. Try not to make their lives worse if you cannot work for the good.
      You have that typical male ego and it is because of people like you that the females have to fight for their basic rights. Go talk to your mom and sisters and understand their point of view and stop wasting this precious space just for the sake of your male dominated psyche.

  3. Babar

    Aamir Khan will never talk about this, because it will affect his TRPs.

  4. Babar

    Movie recommendation for Aamir Khan: 498A A Wedding Gift

    1. Panda

      The most recent statistics have shown that it is statistically more likely that someone will be hit by a meteor than a have a false rape charge against them. Keep that in mind.

    2. Babar

      Please provide those ‘statistics’. Just go through the first link and you will find out that 75% of rape cases are false.

    3. pankaj

      That’s a silly claim that makes no sense. More than 75% rape trials end in acquittals. So we don’t know if the allegations in these cases that resulted in acquittals were false or true. The honest (but not politically correct) thing to say would be that it is not possible to know the proportion of false cases.

  5. Templetwins

    SMJ is a show which has a specific agenda, at best it is a soap opera of modern times. It is all about being politically correct, than truth. The title of Aamir Khan’s program Satyameva Jayate has to be changed to Ardha-Satyameva Jayate (Half Truths only Triumph) as it is all about manipulation and fake tears.

    Actor Aamir Khan is doing business around truth while manipulating data, figures, statistics and telling half truths. This is not Satyameva Jayate at all. Watching such a program actually distorts one’s perceptions, when it is sold to the audience claiming it to be the truth.

    For example, the episode on domestic violence never mentioned anything about any domestic violence that men may face, leaving the audience with a perception that only women face domestic violence and men can never be victims of domestic violence by women.

    Not only that, the statistics of domestic violence against women in Satyameva Jayate were false as he went on to tweak the data here and there. For example, National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – III, whose data Aamir Khan quoted, was funded by US embassy (or USAID) and it deliberately limited the survey to only women in the age group of 15 to 49. This survey conveniently excluded elderly men, women, children and most importantly men. Aamir Khan used this survey, but he failed to inform that all these categories of people are excluded.

    National Family Health Survey reported 37% women facing domestic violence at least once in life time, but Aamir Khan failed to stick to this figure and tweaked it to 40% to make it a round figure, so that he can sell it to audience easily.

    I agree there are some ideas of masculine pride which is detrimental to men and others. The same can be attributed to femininity as well, as women are treated like adult-children with responsibility of child with the rights of an adult, who has to be protected and taken care of by men(adults). Is there going to be an episode which discusses the toxic nature of femininity? I bet you, it would be politically incorrect to do so, such a perspective wont see the light of the day.

  6. Gaurav

    the only parameter is power (physical, money, political etc). I have suffered and humiliated by men and women and know that this is not about gender. today there is no law and order and there is corruption.

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