Men Are Not Taught To Be Equal Partners. Who’s At Fault?

Men as equal partners are often rare in relationships since they have always been conditioned for superiority over women. How do we break this culture of toxic male privilege?

Tanvi Akhauri
New Update
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The domestic divisions created along the lines of gender in India are seriously lopsided. This reality is vivid every day, every step of the way for women — in kitchens, during cleaning, while speaking. While men revel in the luxuries of male privilege that excuses them from mundane household tasks, no matter how important they may be for survival, women are left shouldering much of the burden alone. 

WhatsApp jokes, more so during the pandemic lockdowns, may shamelessly indicate that oppressed husbands are terrorised by brooms and dustpans at home, having to carry the load of housework while their wives kick their feet up and gossip on the phone. But really, look around you. Have you ever seen such a sight play out beyond the caricatures on your screen? 

Whether it concerns domestic chores or parenting, men are often not equal partners to women. This is a culture that stems from and is encouraged by patriarchy, where men are conditioned into superiority, just like women are conditioned for submissiveness. The world around men exists differently. And from a feminist lens, one can see just how bleak it makes women’s worlds look. 

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By virtue of their gender, men are conveniently absolved from the knowledge of even the most basic life skills, which spans from cooking to respecting women and everything in between. And by who else, but their mothers? Women, who have been under the grip of patriarchal subjugation for centuries, have given themselves up to what convention has told them is morally and naturally legitimate. An aspect of this includes keeping men - all men of all ages - on pedestals. 


A woman will bend over backwards for her son, for her husband, for her father. Marriage of choice? No, she will have to marry the man her father picks for her. She is running a fever but husband wants chai? She will up and run to the kitchen to serve. Son teases a girl? She will be compelled to forgive him because ‘ladke toh masti karte hi hain.’    

This subservience of women is what further emboldens men. A man witnesses the male-dominated environment that runs his household and goes out - on the streets, in offices, into relationships - with the same consciousness of entitlement to command women. 

When they enter into marriages, for instance, would all men feel secure with working wives? Or wives who are financially and socially independent? Who have agency over their bodies in matters of sex or dress? 

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Nobody is teaching our men to be equal partners or equal companions. But then again, must we infantilise men to such a degree where they need someone else to teach them how to treat women with equal respect? Isn’t that a responsibility they should take upon themselves? 

Shouldn’t the accountability for recognising &t=1056s">toxic masculine privilege and doing what they can to counter it lie with men themselves? Why do they need women to mother them around and impart lessons in decency to them? 

Women have been crying themselves hoarse about the oppression and inequality they have to live with for years now. And with the abundance of resources available today, men cannot possibly pretend to be in oblivion of our issues any longer. To be true allies of the women’s cause, men must push the pedal on educating themselves, sensitising their brotherhood and most importantly, listen to women when they speak with courage.  

Views expressed are the author’s own.

feminist men equal relationships toxic partners