By Sourya Majumder:
November 19 was International Men’s Day. Sidestepping the obvious irony of such a day even existing in a patriarchal world, Times of India (ToI) – India’s leading journalistic equivalent of foot-in-mouth disease – decided to run an article on the absolutely unbearable difficulties of being a man in today’s “feminazi”- filled world (you know, a world that kind of privileges men). As a man, I can’t help but sympathise, of course. Centuries of being catered to and privileged over half of the population has created a truly oppressive situation for us, and now these ‘feminazis’ demanding freedom and equality are making it worse. The plight of us poor men has thus moved me enough to take the 5 points presented in the TOI article, and elaborate on the many hardships we men face seemingly because women exist.
The ToI article begins by suggesting that men today are tormented by the question of chivalry just as Hamlet was tormented by the question of existence. Oh dear men, I get your pain. Because it’s not enough to have most of popular media and society consider us as the default candidate to cater to. Men are tender, fragile creatures, you see, and they need to know that superficial niceties and benign condescension are surefire ways to win the approval of women – just like we’ve always been told they are. But men are also clever, wily beasts – so we’ve figured out a way to deal with chivalry being called out as a sexist institution: just stop being a decent person. Therefore, it’s perfectly justified if a man carrying an umbrella lets his female partner get completely drenched, as AFL mid-fielder James Aish apparently did. Let’s just forget basic human etiquette altogether!
The article goes on to say that footing the bill for a date is agony for men. Because even if we go dutch, we face all the pain and stigma in the end, while those gold-digging women just get away with all the spoils. After all, what do women have to pay for? Just a ton of money on makeup – a small thing to make themselves “attractive” enough to catch a man’s eye. And quit talking about how women don’t earn as much as men because wage gap and all – even if that’s true, that’s hardly important. What matters is how difficult it is for the man to get the girl. It’s not like capitalism exploits all sexes, after all.
“The word ‘man’ is gaining the status of a bad word,” says the piece. Absolutely true. The constant irritation of being censored for saying sexist, hateful shit and trying to pass it off as ‘free speech’ or ‘point of view’ is such agony for us men. So what if women can be killed for speaking out against patriarchal oppression? That is insignificant compared to the censorship we men face. We can’t even have meninism for ourselves because of these pesky feminists. It’s good that meninism considers it more important to oppose feminists at every turn than actually highlight men’s issues. That’s one way to fight this equality battle! All we poor men want is a tiny little safe space – by which we mean the entirety of society. Which we pretty much already have. But you can never have enough, as they say. Punish us for being ambitious, fine!
“If it’s not easy for a single girl in a new city; it’s the same for single men,” says ToI.
It’s true! There’s really no difference at all between a single woman in a city and the kind of discrimination, harassment, and very real dangers she has to face, and a cis-man being able to walk the streets of major metros without fear of being ogled or molested. And when society presumes men can’t be harassed or sexually abused, or place unrealistic body standards or expectations on men, of course it’s not patriarchy’s fault, but the fault of the feminists – you know, the people actually fighting against this. And just look at how we men have to mind how we walk, talk, or sit (and not ‘manspread’) – have you ever seen a woman being asked to do anything like that? If you’re still not convinced that reverse sexism is a thing, you know nothing, Jon Snow!
And now on the totally modern and hugely relevant topic of fairy tales. Have you seen how men are portrayed in these age old stories of sexual abuse and patriarchal oppression? The TOI article argues that while Sleeping Beauty “gets rewarded with a kiss” (sexual harassment) while she’s asleep, a prince has to become a frog and then win a woman’s approval to be free. No deep metaphors about fragile male egos and insecurities in children’s stories, please! (Rape is fine, though.) And it’s so unfair that older women have the privilege of being called “cougars” (that is, being widely stereotyped as predatory cats) just for dating younger men, while literally only about two people even think of using a similar term for older men dating younger women. No special names for us men! I seriously recommend that we forget the cougars and rhinos – let’s all be peacocks instead. ‘Cause it’s all about the ‘cocks, amirite or amirite fellas?!
Adios till the next time we have to take these feminazis on. Which won’t be long, I am sure, because you know how they raise their voice against injustice at every damn second. Silence, I say!