This Women’s History Month, Let’s Liberate The Men!

Editor’s note: This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #WomensDay to start conversations on how we can achieve a gender equal society. If you have faced gender-based violence, sexism or misogyny, would like to propose policy reforms or write about what families, friends, workspaces and partners can do to ensure gender parity around them, write to us here.

Every year during the women’s history month in March, I write about the various issues that women face. Meanwhile, women continue their struggle for self-dignity and respect in a society which is hell-bent on being an enemy.

However, this year, in this season of marriages and engagements, I noticed something which feminists often overlook.

I was at a friend’s house where we were celebrating the engagement of a friend. Then my friend who was engaged started gushing about how wonderful his fiancee was. In short, the ‘cool girl’ syndrome had finally hit him and he had realised that he really liked the girl. It was lovely to hear him talk about her amazing entrepreneurial skills and how she was so independent besides being a fun-loving person. In the midst of all his praising, he did call her to say a quick hello.

The proceedings then took an interesting turn. All the guys in the gathering started joking about how no girl is actually ‘fun’ after her marriage, because all she does after marriage is beat the husband into shape. Lo and behold – patriarchy and its dementors had already found their victim.

Inevitably, the desired effect of all this mockery came towards the end of the evening, when my friend’s fiancee called up to check on my friend. As he was thoroughly inebriated both with beer and the joru ka ghulam (slave to the wife) jokes, he initially refused to pick up the call. Finally, he replied with an inane ‘I am with friends – don’t call me’ retort.

Yet again, I witnessed another budding romance bite the dust due to the age-old patriarchal bull.

‘Toxic masculinity’, or simply put, the idea of the ‘tough’ and ’emotionless’ man as the epitome of masculinity, is a reality that we as feminists do not often pay attention to, under the weight of other graver problems. The system of oppression forces us to view the liberator as an enemy and the one to be prosecuted. Similarly, in India, feminism is mostly misconstrued as something that some ‘terrorising’ women do to ‘oppress’ men.

Where do people get these facts from? Everywhere!

Therefore, in this women’s history month, let’s pledge to demythify feminism. Let’s show the men in our lives how they are also getting crucified on the altar of patriarchy.

Let’s start with telling my friend that his fiancee is actually the coolest and that it’s amazing that he gushes about her. Also, let’s ask that married friend, who thinks that dissing his wife as a ‘control freak’ in public is a joke, to shut up. Finally, let’s remind the worried father that his daughter is his best bet in this world.

Let’s unpack feminism. Let’s talk. Let’s ‘march’ out of this March with a renewed zeal to hurt patriarchy where it actually hurts – in liberating the ‘other half’!