Let me begin by clarifying one thing that this is not an attempt to have any claim on myself being free of any elements of patriarchy and misogyny. However, this is an effort towards the unlearning of so many things as to the mental set up that endorses patriarchy and misogyny is concerned which I was ascribed on by virtue of being a man in the highly patriarchal society I grew up.
I am not sure how far it is possible for me to unlearn as long as society remains patriarchal. However, it is vital to realise that we men, by default, are endowed with a lot of privileges compared to women—just because we are born man. It is these privileges that feed the patriarchy and perpetuate misogyny. Having this realisation will help us unlearn and keep a check on this mentality to an extent.
Today, we see so many men on the street demanding justice for the Hyderabad woman who was raped and brutally murdered by a group of savage men. These men represent the mentality that was fed by patriarchy and misogyny, which perhaps one can also find in those men who are out on the streets demanding justice for the deceased. But, what is happening in most of these cases is the externalisation of the issue, resulting in people coming out in the street to vent their anger.
What is essential here is to ask is how you teach yourself and other men and boys around you to treat women and girls with respect. When movies like Kabir Singh are glorified in which it is okay to beat women if it is ‘out of love’, one thing that gets normalised is that there’s some justification for beating women. Beating women or anyone should not be allowed in any circumstances.
If this is what you show your kids in your domestic space, they will grow up having a mentality that the man is always powerful, and it is in their right to use that power over women. This mentality gets manifested in many forms and ways like that of those rapists and killers. Now, tell me, who are you protesting against? Whom are you demanding justice against? It is you only. Think before you have to come out again in the street again.