Men vs Women:
Never More Than In Today’s Time, Our World Stands Ready For War. Not Against Nations, But Against Each Other – Men Vs Women. Who Isn’t Scared Of This? Ever Wondered What Men And Women Have To Say About This And Each Other? We At University Times Have Loud Voices, And Two Of Our Editors Give You Their Voice On The Issue.
Men Can Be Gits, But Always?
Rapes, patriarchal ideology, gender-based discrimination, being unfaithful – the XY chromosome is hated a lot. I am going to be in so much trouble by the end of this article, but I am going to try and justify the ‘manly’ side of the society. Don’t get me wrong. I am a feminist… of sorts. I know men can be gits. But, always?
Let’s start with me. I was brought up to be a gentleman, the good guy, do the right thing, never hurt a girl, and do everything expected from a “real” man. I was even told to never let a girl pay when you go out; I followed these statements religiously; so religiously that when an aunty from my building took us kids to an ice-cream party, I tried to pay for all of us with a 20 Rupee note, and I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was in my teens then, and maybe my actions were brought on by my developing need to impress girls. It is drilled into a little boy’s mind that he has to be the knight in shining armour (as opposed to torn shorts and sweaty tees).
Then, women brought on a revolution in such a short period, took the world by a storm, climbed the corporate ladders, did everything right, better than men, faster than men, and WITHOUT all the male ego of “Kneel down, puny humans; I just got the printer working. I am the King! I am the Master!” This isn’t a recent thing. The contribution of women to the making this world has been great, since the beginning of time. It has just come to the forefront with a blast in recent times.
So, there I was. Meeting girls and women, who are independent, earn for themselves, think for themselves, and don’t really need guys to do what they are traditionally asked to do. Men’s minds, that were hard-wired to be the protectors and providers, went into a tizzy as they tried to decipher what just happened. That is where we, the men, made the mistake. Men have a hard time dealing with change. A sudden change is bound to rattle us, so it needs to be very gradual. When women came out with a bang, most men felt threatened, and instead of taking it as a positive change, we starting lashing out in unacceptable ways to reclaim our lost territory.
Men need to be emotionally available, but be emotional and you lose your manliness. Be strong enough to beat the crap out of someone, but be a peace keeper. It’s a man’s world. If you still can’t win, you are a loser. Fix stuff. If you can’t, you are a sissy.
“Acceptable” manliness is a paradox. It goes as “Be a man. But, don’t be such a macho man.” Follow your heart, but earn enough to support a big family. Men have a very conflicting line to deal with. A man has to be a good father, good husband, care for what a woman wants, but shouldn’t care too much about what she thinks. Men need to be emotionally available, but be emotional and you lose your manliness. Be strong enough to beat the crap out of someone, but be a peace keeper. It’s a man’s world. If you still can’t win, you are a loser. Fix stuff. If you can’t, you are a sissy. Always be good in bed, and keep women’s orgasms a priority. But, no pressure. It’s not just Raymond that makes the complete man. Sigh.
Men have to fight with women as well as other men to get noticed in a crowd of 7 billion. A tough spot to be in, especially if you can’t follow either side of the paradox. In a society where double standards rule, earning lesser than your wife or running the household is, if not criminal, a social offence. It puts even more pressure on men to perform.
Men no longer know what to do, which is what threatens them. The predefined laws for men have been rewritten, and we don’t yet know what the rewritten version is. So we act stupidly, randomly, to bring the old structure back. This in no way justifies the long list of hideous crimes that some men have to their discredit. Speaking of which, I can’t help but wonder if this is what we have come down to? Is this what men do now? Murder, rape, molestation, thefts?
No, all men don’t. There are men who are not physically strong enough to hit anyone, but would still stand up for injustice. I see them around me. They exist. It is not a fictional statement I made up, to satisfy myself. Most incidents occur when at some level the male ego gets hurt. I just believe that sometimes, the hatred is generalized, blown out of proportion, thrown at the entire male population.
Girls Can Dislike Pink Too!
Imagine this: You are born as a girl in a generally liberal family. Your parents have never forced you into anything major against your wish; they’ve let you develop your own thoughts and opinions. You have close friends – both male and female. Their genders came into play only when the roles for ‘ghar-ghatta’ had to be picked, and then when puberty decided to poke its nose into your collective lives.
So what happens when an extremely brutal case of rape is splattered across every media platform that you have access to? It shatters your comfort. You take a minute to scream your guts out in protest, and then the implications of all of that quietly settle into your everyday behavior. You’re suddenly told to not go out with just your guy friends at night. You’re told to not come back home alone on your own even at nine in the evening. You are told to be wary of every man around you. You are told “All men are dogs.”
All men are not dogs. I am sure that each of you out there knows at least one man whom you would trust with your life, if not more. So then why blame an entire community for the fault of a few atrocious minds? Many will feel that I am making an unnecessary defense. Trust me, I am not. I am a woman who has taken my fair share of stares and comments on the road. I am very much the woman who starts discussions about female rights and gender sensitivity everywhere she goes. What I am not, is the rabid torch-carrier who believes that all men should be castrated and have their heads hung on a pike.
Yes, we are scared when we are in lifts alone with male strangers, or when a random guy takes the exact same lonely route as you do. But does that mean that each one of those strangers in the lift is trying to secretly cop a feel? Does that mean that every one of those guys will corner your vehicle and force themselves on you? No. It could simply mean that he and you have the same road to take.
Our fear makes us paranoid. Our fear is rather justified, because of the unbelievably scary incidents that are happening around. However, that cannot translate into a blatant disregard of the goodness of people. There are a lot of humans out there, who do horrible things to other humans (and sometimes to animals as well). But there are also humans who will try their very best to protect their fellow people.
Our mothers tell us, “Ekli chokrao saathe na jaa. Koi chokri aavti hoye toh jaje.” (“Don’t go out with just boys. Go only if there’s another girl along with you.”)
Girls are always told to be aware when interacting with suspicious men. Can you imagine what would happen if men were also trained in the same way? Our mothers tell us, “Ekli chokrao saathe na jaa. Koi chokri aavti hoye toh jaje.” (“Don’t go out with just boys. Go only if there’s another girl along with you.”) Boys, imagine, if your mums told you, “Raaste mein koi ladki peeche peeche aaye toh main road pe aa jana” or “Kahin akele mat jaana.” Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But doesn’t it seem like a lot brain-washing? That’s what stereotyping does. It instills fear in the strongest of minds.
In restraining girls and boys from what ought to be “normal” behaviour, in case either of their ‘Ezzat’/image/reputation is tarnished, aren’t we actually increasing the divide between them? And in trying to avoid the supposed damage that the opposite sex can do, we almost forget to look at them as humans. I don’t believe that being male automatically brings rape as a possible action on a person; neither does being female automatically bring the quality of being weak and vulnerable in a person. Women can rape, men can be scared too.
It isn’t even about something as vile as rape. This incessant stereotyping makes people fall into the cauldron of gender-specific behavior. As a girl, I’m expected to love it when a guy opens a door for me. Honestly, it confuses me because I’m always scared that if I don’t walk on time, the door will slam into my face. So, guys? Let me open my own doors for me, and let my pay for myself. I appreciate your concern, but don’t let it override everything else. Things that girls do, “instinctively” as girls, which irritate guys need to be thought of as human behavior and not female behavior. This sensitivity, of not defining people as their genders, should go a long way in our society.