While we talk about freedom for Indian women, this Independence Day consider the freedom for Indian men from the social taboos that disadvantage them.
“Freedom is in the air!”
Independence-day in India has become big on celebration, thanks to the commercial advertisements. There is still a lot to achieve in terms of quality of life for its people, health, and safety to take a break and reflect back.
Women are the most upcoming entity in India today. Suddenly it is realized by the nation that women comprise half the population of this country and so carry a 50% percent potential of increasing the growth of the country. This aligns with global interest too. Where misogyny, gender equality, wage gap are the hot topics around the globe. Women are to be applauded here for being coming up as a support instead of being critical of each other.
Let’s reverse the lenses this Independence Day and see how we can make our men independent from the social taboos they are trapped into, the taboos that do not get any attention from the society.
Children are mostly raised by mothers, or other females of the family and if each guardian makes it a point that a boy learns as much as it is required to become an adult in terms of cooking, mending small stuff, cleaning and other house chores, he will be a happier adult.
He won’t depend on unhealthy meals from nearby restaurant or “dabbawalas” until he gets married and even after marriage a man who cooks is free to eat food that he likes to eat and shows care when the wife needed.
We often buy balls and cars for our daughters but for our sons we seldom think of buying a doll. Why? Don’t we want our sons to be caring dads or brothers? If they don’t play with dolls hair how can we imagine they would make plaits for their daughters? If they dress the dolls with style they may aspire to become the next Sabyasachi or Manish Malhotra!
Often it is seen that boys as they grow at school get busy drawing superheroes, planes and cars after a short stint of gender neutral figures like house, mountain, and clouds till the age of 5-6 years. A few of them like to draw flowers, intricate paisley designs, and floral patterns.
Please don’t stop them. Let them be. Imagination does not have any gender and by asking your boy to draw like other boys you are limiting his imagination!
This was not an Indian concept to color code ourselves as per our genders. In ancient times Indian Kings were known for bright clothing, hair style and jewels.
In defining our kid’s gender with color, we are aping the West. Let’s come out of that. Please liberate boys (and men) of your house to wear whatever color they want to, and help them stand strong when teased by peers.
Often women in India cry that they are known as the role that they play (mother, sister, daughter, wife and daughter-in-law) and not by the work they do or the women they are. Please look around and see how much burden we put on our sons, brothers, and husbands on the same aspect.
We expect our sons to look after us when we are old, why don’t we do that from our daughters? We expect our brothers to support us in financial crisis, why not the same from sisters? We expect our husbands to keep earning more money, why cannot we pitch in more?
It is time to liberate our men from being the only provider in the house. Taking off the pressure from them to be the breadwinner will give space to women to become the same and men can get some time in life to become doting fathers, hobbyist, volunteers, and daddy-bloggers.
I have seen many working mothers not happy with their sons helping them in kitchen, or new husbands being made fun of if they try to help their wives in the kitchen. This discourages them, and women end up doing all the work, overworked, and becoming an irritated or nagging person.
STOP THAT! Let men in your house pick up equal amount of work at home. Everyone has scope of improvement and so the men. They will improve as they do more. Liberate their lives from your irritation and complains by letting them do more at home.
Recent Hindi movie Ki and Ka talked about the concept of a house-husband and this was nice to see. The plot could have been more mature, but at least someone has spoken the unsaid. If a boy does not want to go for a 9-5 job or be the money earning machine of the house, but wants to care for it – so be it. Let him find a suitable partner and be the house-husband. As we talk diversity at work today, this domain needs maximum amount of diversification.
Freedom to cry
Last but not least, let our boys cry when they feel hurt physically and emotionally. Let them be vulnerable and afraid of things too. Let them burst into tears during an emotional conversation just as we women are privileged to be able to do. Let’s lift the social taboo off the dictum ‘Men don’t cry!‘
Let’s nurture the softer side of our men. Let’s help them to be a human being and not just caged into the formula of a MAN.
Image source: shutterstock