There’s this sensitive video’s been floating around on What’s app and social media about how right from childhood boys are told not to cry. It is a short clip, but it compels you to think about how years of being conditioned to hold back and not cry or display emotions turns our men into monsters. It ends with saying we should teach our men not to make others cry instead of telling them not to cry. Set me thinking, because all along I felt our society judges women alone harshly, but somehow it dawned home men were equally affected.
We live in a society that subscribes to stereotypes in the true sense of the word. We condition our men to be strong and silent, our women to be helpless and dependent creatures who need a man to protect them.
Yet ironically enough our women grow up to be resilient and men emotionally vulnerable. They just learn to conceal this vulnerability under a mask of anger and aggression. Years of repressing their emotions and years of internalizing violence, anguish and fear turns conventional Indian men into volatile volcanoes waiting to erupt at the slightest of provocations. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am. Apart from being the perpetrators of patriarchy, men also happen to be its’ biggest casualties. They are bound by the shackles of being providers and protectors.
We’re a society that subscribes to stereotypes to the tee, especially gender stereotypes. We trap our men and women in such air-tight notions of how they ought to be and how not, to the extent that it can be suffocating. We make no allowances for deviations and have typical roles carved out for both the genders. There are pockets of our society that have managed to rebel and rise above archaic notions and traditions. Yet such people are sadly still a minority and are mostly seen as aberrations by self-appointed social moral police. But what is encouraging is ripples of change can be felt, men no longer shy away from being seen as sensitive, they have become more comfortable with display of emotions. But we still have a long way to go….