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!
Honestly, I never really understood the heights people go at to make strong contrasting distinctions between males and females. Sure, there are several differences between a male and female but those are obvious to all of us. It is more important to focus on the social expectations that are imposed on men or women. The cultural conditioning of turning people into a ‘boy’ and then eventually a ‘man’ is taking a serious toll on the male population.
I don’t really prefer the term ‘man’. The word has become much more than its original meaning. Calling someone a man should simply be about their gender identity. But today if I say “I am a man”, it will be interpreted as a set of traits and qualities that I must possess since I am a guy. A great deal of these qualities is not even qualities but abnormalities to me like being tough and strong. Being strong is something entirely different than the meaning proposed by people.
“A man must resist suffering, a man must be like a warrior striving ahead despite all odds, the protector of the oceans”, someone who refers to men in this context has seen too many movies obviously. Men can be afraid and cry too. It is just less heard of. Surely, some men have probably suppressed their emotional selves out of fear of public shame but that part is still there.
The more you connect with the opposite sex, be it through friendships or relationships, the more you will begin to understand that you may seem very different on the surface but deep within you are very similar to each other in many ways. There is a common human experience that underlines all people but that place is rather left unseen since people like to see images instead of the actual reality.