International Men’s Day: Pressures you live through if you’re a man in India
International Men’s Day is not as big in India as it should be. While the rest of the world uses the day to highlight several important issues concerning men such as their health and the discrimination they face, Indians hardly know of the occasion or its significance.
May be the unawareness/indifference stems from the fact that India is a nation deeply rooted in patriarchy and therefore does not need a special day dedicated to men. However, male privilege does come with its own set of pressures, even in India.
It’s not like all men face these problems. A lot of them don’t, like most of those from the urban, educated, well-to-do families. But our nation is a lot more than just its privileged class.
This Men’s Day, we look at the other side of the story — the unfortunate downsides of being a man in India.
You’ve got to earn and earn well
Men are expected to take up well-paid jobs for they eventually have to fend for their families. However, not every job pays you as well as being an investment banker does. What if you don’t want to be one? Not that or a businessman or a builder.
A lot of creative and unconventional jobs still pay poorly in India and though several men do start brave, somewhere down the lane, it becomes more about how much they earn than what they do.
In a country where every mother expects her son to be the next Ambani, imagine what if hers doesn’t want to earn at all and lead a leisurely life instead, or become a house-husband or pursue dreams that have nothing to do with owning an Audi one day.
While some women in India still have the luxury to choose a career without thinking about the returns, or not work at all, the situation is far from the same for men.
You can only take up ‘manly’ jobs
It’d be funny if we were to ever count the number of things we have started to associate with manliness over the years. Have you ever heard of a male-nurse or a male-nanny here? And sadly, several courses such as fashion designing, interior designing, ballet dancing and English literature still have women students in vast majority.
Your salary should be more than your wife’s
We are a nation in transition and, like everything that undergoes a massive overhaul, we are a mess. Though we have made peace with educated, working women, we still cannot stand the ones who earn more than their husbands. The majority of us can’t, let’s just admit it.
And such people who can’t, absolutely love to make the lives difficult for those who can. So if you are a man in India, you better earn more than your wife does. If you don’t and worse still, are okay with it, you better keep the secret safe in your locker with your wife’s money.
You are expected to behave a certain way
You are a man after all. You cannot express your feelings freely. Though you can pee at public places, you can’t cry or be overly sensitive. You cannot wear pink. You cannot like romantic films. You have to be into sports, cricket preferably. And you definitely cannot know the difference between turquoise blue and aqua blue. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, now who’s that?
Chivalry? Feminism? Or both?
Of course you’ve got to believe in the equality of the sexes and fight for women rights. But at the same time you are also expected to open the door, pull the chair, wait for half-an-hour and pay the bill. What does one really choose — chivalry or feminism? Or just act according to the situation? There can be no one right answer to this.
The author tweets @sneha_bengani
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