Editor’s Note: This post is a part of What's A Man, a series exploring masculinity in India, in collaboration with Dr. Deepa Narayan. Join the conversation here!
Recently, I saw a video and felt like watching it over and again. I didn’t want to forget about it. I couldn’t, because it kept haunting me. This was the TED Talk by actor Justin Baldoni, in which he talks about why he is done trying to be ‘man enough’.
It made me think of everything that was told to me since my childhood, ending with “Come on, be a man!”, that “Boys don’t cry.” In Indian society, a male human being is expected to suppress his tears and it’s considered as a sign of weakness. Any man who cries is considered as weak and is bullied until he stops doing that. However, we should not forget that crying is only a natural emotion.
We can’t say society is the sole reason for the enforcement of such behaviour. Societal beliefs are shaped by other factors, which include media and movies. Pop culture tells us what it means to be man or woman; what to wear, how to behave, how we should choose what should be our interests and hobbies, and more. There are very few people who have the courage to be what they are irrespective of what society or their peers say. Many people can’t do that for fear of being judged and laughed at. We shouldn’t let masculinity define the way we live our life. Instead, we should only focus on being a good human.
Here is the video.