Yesterday was a fine day. The weather was good, the offices were open, and the rat race of the corporate world was at its pinnacle. Amidst this perfect day, something happened which made me question my sexuality, and in turn, made me feel ashamed of it. We have come from an age where the word ‘man’, figuratively translates to chivalry and strength. Is it so? I think not. Alright, so let me explain; as you might have lost track of the two insanely parallel things I have been thinking about until now. So, set amidst a perfect day is my story of being ashamed of being called a man.
I was just chilling out with some of my friends, and suddenly one guy took out his phone and showed me a picture of his girlfriend. This might seem like a normal thing to do, but it was not quite so. “She is a whore”, he lamented; his voice interlaced with chauvinism and toxic masculinity. He made this heinous comment about that girl, only because she uploaded a picture with a guy on her social media account.
My friend couldn’t handle that his girlfriend had a guy friend, and the worst part about this person is that he puts up pictures of himself, with other girls, time and again on social media. His girlfriend has never misjudged him for putting up pictures like these, but once in a blue moon when his girlfriend does so, he reveals the kind of male chauvinistic pig he truly is. The male species often find it exciting when they are called, ‘playboys’, ‘studs’ or ‘ladies’ men’ and very hypocritically, they term girls as ‘whores’ if they tend to have a lot of male friends. That’s nothing but a method to feed the pride they carry in the name of ‘testosterone’. If we look closely, then we realise a flaw: a flaw in our judgement, a flaw in the air around us. We have failed to realise the fact that being a man does not make anyone a stud, and does not give anyone a right to form judgements about the opposite sex.
Ladies and gentlemen, this wasn’t the best part. The moment I levelled up my tone in order to thrash his masculine pride, he dodged my argument by simply saying, “Hey man, use your penis.” This is where I actually started questioning myself. This is where I felt ashamed to be called a man. I don’t want to be called a man if it means to be sardonic to the other sex. I don’t want to be called a man if it means to be an ego-centric maniac who is nothing but a power-hungry honcho. I don’t want to be called a man if it means to hypocritically seek pleasure from labels like ‘playboy’ or ‘stud’. I don’t want to be a man if it means to sexualise a woman unnecessarily just for the sake of being cool. I don’t want to be a man if it means to make fun of girls when they bear the pains of menstruation. If being a man means any of these things, then I am surely ashamed to be one.
Instead of being a man, I want to be someone who doesn’t treat women as mere objects. I want to be a boyfriend, who makes his girlfriend feel warm, safe and valued in his embrace. I want to be a brother who respects his sister in all parts of her life. I want to be a friend, who understands everyone, regardless of gender. I want to be a son who makes his mother proud.
So, through this story, I pledge to all the lovely ladies in my life: my girlfriend, my sister, my maa, my friends. I promise you, that I will be your shield and I will be the one you expect me to be because YOU all are the ones who keep me up when I am down! You are the ones who make me realise what being a male is, in true terms.
*Feature image is for representational purposes only.