International Men’s Day is celebrated every year on November 19 as a day to celebrate the contribution of men to society and throw light on issues and problems related to men worldwide. This year, let’s focus on how our patriarchal society is also detrimental to them.
Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a History professor at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, first celebrated International Men’s Day. The purpose was to commemorate his father’s birth anniversary and honour him. The day, November 19, was also special because of an incident in 1989 when the Trinidad and Tobago soccer teams united the entire country to qualify for World Cup. United Nations do not officially recognise the day like International Women’s Day but that does not makes it any less important.
We cannot neglect the fact that the patriarchal society exploits men as much as it does women, though their ideologies are different. While society deprives women of any right of decision-making, it burdens men with the responsibility of taking every little decision. Society promotes toxic masculinity and false notions of manhood that restricts their emotions and reactions. Society manipulates men and women equally and this International Men’s Day, let’s look at the problematic things society says to men that we need to stop.
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Problematic Things We Tell Men
Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
Society raises men to be tough and unemotional in all circumstances. It tells them not to cry, not grieve openly, and not even jump with happiness, calling these gestures ‘feminine’. That is why most men find it difficult to share their emotions and problems with others as they fear appearing vulnerable, leading to bad mental health. We need to support and encourage men to be emotional and fearlessly for their mental well-being and vent out to near and dear ones whenever they are in a tough spot.
Men Are The Bread Winner For The Family
Men are told to work and earn a good job to be able to provide for the family. They are told to study hard and get a good job or else they will find it difficult to get married. The pressure of marriage is equal for men and women. While women are told to learn household duties, men are told to ear well. This burdens men as they constantly work hard to achieve this goal, sacrificing their personal lives. The man and woman should share the financial load of the family instead of burdening a single person.
At-Home Husband Is Not A Thing
We often see women leaving their job because their husbands earn enough for a comfortable life and society encourages it. However, when a man leaves his job because his wife earns well, he is shamed and called names for being the house husband. It is a personal decision but society has made it a norm that men should not stay idle and have a job to lead a fulfilling life. These double standards deprive them of their right to choose a life on their terms.
Beta, Tum Humare Bhudape Ka Sahara Ho
Parents pressurise boys to study well and earn good to support them in their old age. While it is normal for children to support their parents, who have done a lot for them, it should not be the son’s duty alone to support his parents. The daughters should also be expected to work together for the family’s needs. Boys are also constantly told that they have to produce an heir for the family, which again gives them no choice whether to get married or have kids.
Makeup Kar Raha Hai, Ladki Hai Kya?
One of the greatest insults for a man is to be called girly. But who decides what is girly or not. We describe Gods and deities as beautiful, showing them applying make-up and wearing jewels, but when a man does that, we claim it feminine. Accessories and make-up don’t have a gender and it is up to a person how they want to groom themselves. While forcing a woman to wear make-up to look good, it is equally problematic to tell a man not to do so if he wants to.
The views expressed are the author’s own.