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It behoves us to inculcate a sense of positive masculinity in all our boys and men, starting from early childhood, for a truly gender equal society.
A fortnight ago, all the newspapers were afloat with the news of violence against women, ranging from J& K in the north to Chennai in the South. Several such episodes in between were unreported, unnoticed, while you lapped up that news over your morning coffee.
The way that crime against women is reported is a matter of great ethical concern, but, we will save that discussion for somewhere in future. Right now, let’s just dwell upon the palpable ironies of our daily existence as women!
Since her birth, a girl child is given a million pieces of advice about eating, sitting, wearing clothes,… basically about just existing. All this isn’t always considered as a bias, but as a statement of fact – a supposed sheathing of women from potential harm, to have them ‘remain safe’.
However, what goes unnoticed all this while is the fact that the ‘predator’ feeds in the same home, aware of these arsenals, honing his counter attack. He is not sensitised to his his privilege being unfair, and there is no ‘advice’ given to him on how to behave better, or what he can or cannot do to ‘remain safe’. The assumption behind this being a grand: ‘thou being a man, no harm shall come to you!’
Now leave that for a while. A lot has been happening if we go by the newspaper outcries on social media revolution, some real life activism, some well meaning hunger strikes, and some feeble ‘consideration’ in the law for improvement of the situation.
However, in all this seasonal upheaval, a very important point gets missed. Are we only going to act on the curative side? Who will cater to the preventive? Clearly, our volley of advice for our women folk is not enough for the prevention. But, isn’t it also a fact that despite being a pro at advising women we are still unable to control the blight? Are we then, not missing something very crucial?
We indeed are! While a whole side of a gender is critiqued, abhorred, despised, abandoned to counter the gender violence narrative, there is nothing by the way of positive intervention that is in place to tackle the menace.
While bravado comes through the privilege of birth and teaching to men, neither their households nor the school curriculum caters to the notion of positive masculinity to address the imbalances in the societal paradigm. Although it’s considered pretty brave for a martial male to kill a buck in the forest, standing up for a woman or speaking up against any violence towards her isn’t considered very macho.
Thus it’s not just his fault, nor the fault of her skirt, shorts, or burqa! It is our collective fault of undervaluing, and not inculcating and teaching the concept of positive masculinity to our children. We do not teach this to them in school, let alone our homes. Moral Science is all full of heavy chapters of Harishchandra or Vikramaditya, but it fails to weave in the tale of positive masculinity in the character of great men who are marketed as role models.
Moms and Dads are responsible for not making their sons masculine in the positive sense of the term.
Teachers are responsible for not teaching them this in such a manner that it sticks for life.
Media is responsible for glorifying only the cigarette soot kind of masculinity.
Police and Administration are responsible for leaving out such an important aspect of social law and order.
Government is responsible for never considering sensitising everyone worthwhile enough for it to be in our school and college curriculum.
Society is responsible for let it pass post every successive curative knee jerk solution.
And since we all have ignored it we all have to suffer; if we decide not to suffer we necessarily must take the cudgels in our hands.
Positive Masculinity isn’t just a mere subject of the book of Rollo Tomassi, but something which we must all ingrain in our lives to have a healthy society. Nor is it a counter narrative for the crime against women. It is an essential ingredient for positive outcomes in a just social order, and more than anything it is crying to be born in our homes so that yet gain you don’t have to sit up in the morning with a newspaper, feeling helpless and enraged!
I don’t think much debate is needed for incorporating something so basic and essential to us all as a society and this deserves a chance in each house and domain!
Image source: pixabay
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Career Bureaucrat/Mother/Wife/ Workhorse/Hedonist writing under the pen name Tamiyanti Chandra
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Gender Violence: We need Collective Action
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