Why is it almost embarrassing for a man to order a bright coloured drink and drink it in peace? Why is it that the dull, boring and brown looking drinks always get placed in front of the husband and the red/pink/blue ones in front of me? At this point, when we ask the server to reverse the way they have placed the drinks, all we get is a smirk. So, it is a weekend why can’t we both have one Margarita each and walk out of a bar without being judged? The most important thing is to drink responsibly while having a good time, isn’t it? So then why are there different rules for men and women? And even after deciding to give the friendly server a talk about gender equality and freedom of choice, they come and hand over the cheque to the husband and the feedback form to me! Why can’t we give-up on this age-old conditioning? Isn’t this conformity harmful to all of us? Why do men get pushed to follow this norm of toxic masculinity?

Also Read: Is It Okay To Cut Out Toxic Family Members From Our Lives?

Have you ever met a man who admits he loves watching rom-coms? But don’t they all know when to quote what? Everybody watches rom-coms because they are light-hearted and give you a break from the monotony and take you to a world which is fun. So, why is it unmanly to watch a rom com? We all have uncles or fathers who watch Saas-bahu serials unfailingly, but if you ask them why, they will tell you that they never get to control the remote so they end up watching the same shows that our aunts and mothers prefer.

I remember it was a male co-worker who taught me how to get my Pyaaz ka Pakora right, but he first made sure that nobody was “eve’s dropping” on us. Not because it is a coveted recipe but because he was not okay getting caught sharing recipes while at the office. For the record, he loves cooking and is a great cook. So, what is it that stops men from recognising their own emotions and pursue things they like?

Why do men have to be tough all the time? Why is it that anything other than that is a sign of weakness? What is it that is keeping us away from doing that actually gives us happiness?

The answer to this in simple words is patriarchy. Our societal structure which tells men that they are superior by virtue of their gender also manipulates how they think, move around and behave on a day to day basis. Even if patriarchy tells men that they have the right to call the shots it doesn’t always give them the freedom to express their emotions, alas it may show them as weak. And feminism can be an ally to them in calling out this toxic masculinity which limits them.

Also Read: Fragile Masculinity Still Prevents Men From Standing Next To Tall Girls

We all have men in our lives who are our emotional anchors. They support us and stand by us in our decisions. A lot of us have been able to achieve what we have because they believed in us and our cause and considered us as equal partners. As friends, brothers, fathers, husbands, and partners they believe that there is no reason why being a mother, daughter, sister, wife or daughter-in-law is a handicap in achieving our dreams. They don’t believe violence is an indicator of power. Some of them may not be wearing their feminism up their sleeves but they stand for equality nonetheless. So why are we letting rigid societal norms decide how we behave?

Feminism is about equality it is about giving an equal opportunity to every member of the society to feel, say, do, think in the way they want to and not be governed by their gender. If feminism says women can be good bosses it also says that a man can understand the need of his female team members. So, all the good guys out there let’s call out the toxicity which stops us from treating each other as equals and allies. Say and do things you love and call out the ‘boys will be boys’ club and give feminism and equality a chance.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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