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!
‘Gentleman’ is a word commonly used for respected men.
Generally, the gentle trait is missing, because that’s not what men are right? Certain features define ‘masculinity’- tough, strong, fearless, brave, etc. That’s what we are made to believe. I don’t think that anyone who believes in this, realizes the impact it has on people around them and society as a whole. Kid see this behavior in their elders and then carry it forward. But this stereotype needs to be changed. It’s overwhelming to see that people are willing to take the steps needed for the change.
Society’s definition of masculinity severely restricts a man’s ability to communicate his emotions to others.
A question that needs to be answered here is – Why does this stereotype exist and why do people still believe in it? Most people are habitual of it. That’s what they have seen, learned, and are probably will teach to their offsprings. Cinema also supports the same. What surprises me is that films that support such thoughts are blockbusters.
If you are a male, you are expected to do certain things and to avoid certain things because you are not meant for it. It should be clear to everyone that there is a difference between being a man and a male. Someone could be assigned male at birth but being a man, that’s a choice.
But what is an ideal man? We are not perfect, but we can try to be. It’s not a tough task actually. Just be yourself, be real, share your problems, your feelings. Do what you like. Men can be sensible, emotional, sometimes weak and vulnerable, and it’s totally okay. Men can be gentle and not necessarily tough. They can be scared of certain things. The least we can do is just accept them, for whatever they are.
We actually need men who are gentle, real, emotional, and define the standard for others.