Isse mujhe kya milega? How feminism benefits men

Sourish Samanta
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What’s in it for men?

Men are often prejudiced against feminism by calling it as a “men hating agenda”. Well, these prejudices often stem from the patriarchal conditioning that they receive. Understandable, but it does demean a movement this big when you see men trivialising it.

Indian men are victims of patriarchy and they are doing nothing about it. When it comes to discussing feminism, men often feel insecure and disgruntled, mostly due to the lack of awareness or the general idea of feminism which seems threatening. Feminism as it is today also talks about issues which men face and have been facing for quite some time. The gender-biased approach to “being a man” is detrimental to the general well-being of a man in India. And these prejudices are conveniently placed inside their belief system, causing damage beyond comprehension.

Related reading: These two Diwali stories teach us gender equality. But are we willing to learn?

What is feminism?

Quoting from Wikipedia, “Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.”

So, that being said, let’s take a look at how men can benefit from feminism.

Changing the dynamics of conventional parenthood

Among heterosexual couples, there’s always pressure on the man going out to provide while the wife stays at home taking care of things at home or baby. The conventional gender roles have done more damage to the society, where the man is often deprived of spending time with his kid. The assigned role given to the wife is equally regressive, since caregiving shouldn’t be restricted to women. In modern India, where patriarchy is still at large, liberal culture is slowly dissolving the prejudices with the help of feminism. More men are starting out as caregivers while their wives are out there working a 9-5 job. Feminism taught them the various nuances which helped these men do what they wanted to. People will still judge, but as long as you know where you stand, these judgements have no importance at all.

Related reading: I am now the stay-at-home dad and my wife the breadwinner; and we are making it work

It’s okay to cry

While crying is portrayed as a sign of weakness, it gets conveniently assigned to women. Crying is just an outpouring of emotion when it gets overwhelming and boys can cry too. When boys don’t cry or don’t express themselves emotionally, it affects their mental health too. So, men need to be a bit more expressive and feminism says it’s okay to cry and be expressive about your emotions. Indian men are now talking openly about their mental health and reaching out for help if needed. That is a very healthy move and the “tough, masculine” tropes are falling back. The conventional masculine traits are slowly getting dissolved. They are not entirely gone, but you don’t always have to be tough to be a man. Be tough either way, because this world is unforgiving and evil.

Pink is not feminine

Pink has always been thrown under the bus for being too “loud” or “feminine”. Men have rarely used this colour and even if they did, they get ridiculed. Often men have been called “gay” with vulgar implications if they wore pink. But colour can’t be constricted to any particular gender or sex. Pink is for everyone and Indian models are also advocating for pink by wearing outfits in that very colour. It is okay to wear pink and Indian men are slowly starting to get that idea.

Dominance has nothing to with being a man

The social standard for being a man is no less than frustrating. The frustration is also detrimental to their mental health. Men are always expected to be dominant and in any Indian household, the man is always expected to fulfil a list of social expectations. Failing to meet those has made them lose credibility. The way we want men to be very dominant even in the present Indian society has killed men who suffered and struggled. These prejudices have the implications of a very binary outlook of gender and roles assigned to them (conventionally).

So, we need feminism. Period.

Do men find feminism offensive?

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