“During my Masters, there was this guy who liked me and I didn’t like him. So he was also friends with the people I used to hang out around. And so he was a part of my extended circle. I used to date people during that time. And whenever I was with my date around my friend circle he would body shame me. Call me, sometimes directly or indirectly, fat or hairy or even privileged. It took me time to notice what he was trying to do. He would always insult me around people I was interested in. I think because my rejection hurt his masculinity and the body shaming me gave his masculinity a kick.”, narrates Ayushee Chaudhary who recently completed her MA in Political Science from a reputed university.

Men poking fun at women is a very common sight at workplaces, in schools and colleges and even personal spheres like families. What compels them to do so in the first place? Is this behavior of theirs a sign of toxic masculinity that they have been nurturing within them since the time they were born?

It took me time to notice what he was trying to do. He would always insult me around people I was interested in. I think because my rejection hurt his masculinity and the body shaming me gave his masculinity a kick. – Ayushee

“Men’s self-esteem depends on dominating in the environment, they are raised to think that the only acceptable way for them to exist is not be the underdog. To this end, softer emotions are not allowed. Only anger is allowed as it allows domination. And so, in line with this thinking then, women who are the other, who they are supposed to complete, and be better than, cannot possibly be good at the same things as them. Thus, mansplaining, insulting women, is a way to keep performing this ‘natural order’ of the genders that the men have been raised with”, says psychologist Sadaf Vida.

“Basically being a man is ultimately more valued in society, and being a woman is more devalued,” Maxine Craig, a sociologist at the University of California, Davis, explains. “Because men are more valued in society they have to watch their step in order not to lose that position.”

The construction of gender identity for men is more fragile than for women. In many cultures, one is born a woman — and one becomes a man,” psychotherapist, podcaster, and author Esther Perel recently wrote on her well-trafficked personal site.

“Men feel powerful when they demean women as if they control them. And the moment they feel they are losing their control, they start raising their voices and hand to exert pressure and control”, says Geeta Goyal working in the corporate sector.

Mansplaining, insulting women, is a way to keep performing this ‘natural order’ of the genders that the men have been raised with, says psychologist Sadaf Vida

Sakshi Talwar, Founder of Rugs And Beyond says that men and women need to be treated equally and should respect each other. If a man insults a woman for whatever reason, it just exhibits that he is insecure and wants to tarnish her image and has zero respect for women. Often, men with narrow minds insult women to make them feel uncomfortable and feel better about themselves. This is completely misogynistic and women should stand up for themselves.

“Not just one gender, anybody insults anyone because of a sense of insecurity and inferiority is where it stems from. Men doing it to men, women doing it to women, men doing it to women and women doing it to men is very common”, asserts writer and artist Astha Mittal.

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