Will the real gentle‘MEN’ please stand up…
On International Men’s day (November 19), actor Nakuul Mehta tries to decipher what it takes to be a man in today’s world.Updated: Nov 17, 2017 18:09 IST
Just last week, I found myself in a pool of tears on a regular day at work in the confines of my makeup room. They weren’t just tears. It felt as if a wall had broken, which contained within it days and weeks of suppressed emotion.
Years of conditioning, Salim-Javed’s dialogues and pop culture made you believe that ‘men’ don’t cry. Often when chided by friends or my better half, I have resorted to the defence that ‘I save my emotion for my work cause you don’t want the tap to run dry when you really need it’.
Excuses, we men, give our selves!! On the eve of International Men’s Day, I am writing a note with the hope that a lot of us can use this as a reminder because we owe this to ourselves...
Feminist Allies or Woke Misogynist?
The questions I must ask myself are, ‘Am I consciously willing to concede space to marginalised communities, to listen to women’s voices and willing to give up the “power” that patriarchy lends? Am I in thought, word and deed practising equality because feminism is something we ‘do’ and not just a Twitter bio we brandish? Am I holding my friends and co-workers accountable for the sexist jokes they make? Am I calling the person out when I see someone being harassed on the streets? Am I willing to listen, and give women and children around me the confidence that here is someone they can confide in and express their woes without any judgement whatsoever?’
Just by virtue of being born a ‘man’, one automatically qualifies for entitlements which have nothing to do with ‘self’. It is a luxury to us men that we do not have to think about gender in every little thing we do.
Again, privilege is not the same for all men unless you fit the ideal masculine norm. Am I willing to stop taking refuge under them and be willing to create safer spaces for same gender loving communities (LGBTQ)? The next time a woman comes out and complains against an oppressor, am I going to share the same privilege with her and give her an equal chance of being heard and not mocked at. Winona Ryder served fifteen years in exile for shoplifting while we have a Harvey Weinstein who could get let off after multiple charges of rape and harassment. Male privilege? Ask thyself.
Be your own role model
In the past few months, there have been a million skeletons which have tumbled out of the closet, and with each passing day, one can literally sense public falling of yet another hero we might have once revered. Wienstein, Spacey, Affleck, Louis CK, Hoffman, Tesla - the list is endless. Role models are dead. It’s time we invest in ourselves, look for encouragement and inspiration within. Also while we are at it, can we consider not making it a slugfest on social media? In times like these, no one needs another opinion. Maybe, just some compassion.
You can’t always be a Superhero
Being a man in no way must mean that we have to continue to take on the world with a charade of “knowing it all”. We don’t have to be what they told us to be, “Men have to be tough, strong, dominating, no pain, no emotions and no fear.” What if someone was to tell you that it’s okay to be vulnerable? It’s okay to share emotions and feel afraid. With great power comes great responsibility but it never hurts to ask for help. There is ‘NO’ prototype. Can we unbox ourselves please!
Courage is sexy
We live in the times where screaming in newsrooms, protesting, criticising and dissing an opinion, which doesn’t match our own, is the norm. Maybe as men in 2017, we might want to consider having a dialogue over dissent. Try listening instead of mansplaining. Maybe, try ‘standing in’ while the world out there insists on standing out. How about NOT measuring our masculinity by our sexual conquests and bank balance but by the strength of our courage and effort. Courage is sexy! There are some wonderful things about being a man but we need to really challenge, deconstruct and redefine this process, which we know as manhood.
The need of the hour is a revolution that is far greater and more meaningful than anything we have witnessed before – Human Revolution. The need for man and woman, both to raise their gaze beyond one’s restricted, ordinary, everyday world to strive and achieve something more lofty and profound, more all-embracing because we owe this to ourselves... to humanity! And just to remind myself, it’s alright to cry…
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The author tweets@NakuulMehta
First Published: Nov 17, 2017 18:09 IST