Today is an apt day to re-share this article that I had written some time back for DNA
When we focus solely on how feminism benefits women, we leave out a hugely important part of the conversation: How patriarchy affects men.
Now, Mumbai is the city of dreams and every one of us is in a race towards success — including me and some women who board the ‘general’ compartment of the train every morning, that too during peak hours. I understand that if the whole family is travelling together; or even when a lady is travelling alone late at night.
In this crowded situation, we are forced to ‘maintain’ our innocence by keeping the lady at a one-arm distance lest we be accused of insulting her modesty, because you know, “ladies hain!”. Sometimes, the man is expected to give a seat away to a lady — no matter how tired he is. My question is: There are clearly designated compartments for ‘ladies’; why can’t there be one for men?
Then there is this scenario: You’ve been standing in a long ticket queue at the railway station and suddenly a family arrives. The husband asks his wife to go to the ticket window directly (ignoring those standing in the queue) and buy the ticket, because ‘ladies hain’. We stand mum as per patriarchy, because it’s ‘ladies first’. This trend is very prevalent in many places of worship, banks, airports, etc. Standing in a queue is hard work, thus it’s a man’s responsibility.
Take sexual assault, for instance. How many male rape cases do we hear about? It is seen as something that happens only to women, perpetrated by men. And when men do confess they’ve been raped, it’s often laughed at. Sometimes they are congratulated for being ‘lucky’ (if it’s by a woman), or ridiculed for being weak (if the assault is by a man).
The minimisation and outright dismissal of male sexual assault doesn’t exactly encourage men to come forward after an incident, and it can seriously impede recovery.
Is all these because of the increasing number of rape cases being reported by women of late? Is it because the rape cases are reported by women, that men are not seen as victims and their complaints not valid?
It’s the same for domestic violence. While women do make up the majority of domestic violence victims, this can and does happen to men too. However, our culture of toxic masculinity is so strong that some men may not even realise they’re being abused, because they’re supposed to be strong, right?
How can a woman abuse a man? There are plenty of ways that patriarchy hurts men, many of which hide in plain sight. To find them, all you have to do is look.