If a person gets verbally harmed by someone, the reactions differ with gender. A woman might not fight back and rather control her emotions because she is expected to stay calm in any situation. But if a man gets hit, usually, he immediately retaliates with abuse. While women control their reactions so that they are not labelled as too emotional, men can get carried away by neutralising the threat to their fragile masculinity. But why is society accepting of fragile masculinity but not emotional women?
How men and women react differently to situations
Women are always forced to control their anger, pain, disappointment and even happiness. They are trained to not speak or laugh in a higher tone, especially in the presence of men. All this is done to so that the stereotype of women being shy and composed can be maintained. Any woman who flouts the norm and expresses her emotions openly instantly comes to society’s notice. The compulsion to maintain composure actually comes from the stereotype that women are sentimental and don’t know how to keep themselves together in emotionally demanding situations. Thus any display of emotions like anger, hysteria, fear or joy by women feeds this stereotype.
But when it comes to men, society bends backwards to accept their fragile male ego and masculinity. It is okay for men to express anger. Society validates their emotions by arguing that they have the preservation of ego is a priority among men and nothing can be done to change this mindset. Men will be men, so might as well accept them as they are.
Rise in gender-based crimes
It is because of this difference in reacting to situations that gender crimes are on rise. While men cannot bear anything damage to their fragile egos, women are expected to bear every injustice meted out to them. If men are scorned in love or face rejection, it affects their male ego which forces them to express anger through violent actions. While women have to face the consequences of saying “no” to unwanted male advances, and they must bear the brunt silently.
In August this year, a man allegedly set a woman on fire for rejecting his proposal. The man allegedly poured petrol on the woman through her window when she was sleeping. The woman, who was a class 12 student, incurred severe burns and lost her life. Before dying, she demanded strict action against her stalker Shahrukh Hussain. However, Hussain was seen sporting an eerie grin when he was taken into custody by the police.
Suggested Reading: Chandigarh Hostel MMS Leak: The Problem Is With The Mindset, Not Gender
And this is not the first case in which a wounded male ego led to a heinous crime. But the question is that what are we doing to prevent them? Are encouraging boys and men in our society to discard fragile masculinity? Are we conditioning them to control the emotions that force them to commit serious crimes?
Moreover, why are women still discouraged from speaking their minds? Why do we always put a lid on women’s emotions? Why can’t women express what they feel openly? Why can’t men accept that women too have the right to express their emotions?
Controlling emotions or letting them control you- none of the two can be advocated as both take a toll on a person’s mental health. Instead men and women should both be condition to express their emotions for the sake of having an emotional outlet. They should also be encouraged to manage their emotional release in a way that it doesn’t harm another person. Being emotional and being calm are two sides of the same coin, and how we react to a situation shouldn’t depend on our gender.
Views expressed are the author’s own.
We request you to support our award-winning journalism by making a financial contribution towards our efforts. Your funds will ensure we can continue to bring you amazing stories of women, and the impact they are making and spotlight half the country's population because they deserve it.