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“Boys will be boys”. This is a phrase I have grown up with, every single day of my life. But in my life, I have found that all men do not behave this way.
“You shouldn’t show skin, because boys will be boys.”
“He cheated on her. He is a boy after all!”
“He said things about her that he shouldn’t have. Boys…”
I’m fed up with this mindset, where day in and day out we now talk of men like talking of sharks- that bite at the faintest scent of blood, who have no control over what they do, and have significantly gone back in evolution.
By normalising bad behavior, these sad excuses for human beings take center stage, putting an entire chromosomal type to blame. Soon people who had done nothing wrong began apologising for the ones who had. They too were tricked into believing that there was something inherently wrong with the entire gender.
The need to punish and shame the actual wrong doers is paramount for this very reason – because I have found that not all men fall under this noxious category.
Google the words “Men will be men” to look at the context that they mean it in. Not one picture puts them in a good light. You will even see a picture of a baby boy reaching out to a woman (with her cleavage exposed), with these words written beneath. Men who behave in this way are the ones who need to be ashamed of themselves…They have set a standard so low for people to achieve, that they need to lose touch with humanity to reach to a place where a child’s innocent behaviour gets sexualised.
‘Man enough’ is always associated with aggression and sexism, and vulnerability and kindness is said to be feminine; but if feminism is about equality, this is something that needs to be talked about too. Because I have come across men who were not examples of toxic masculinity.
From the stranger who waited with me at 3am on a lonely road until my father came to pick me up because the bus had dropped me at a point where it usually doesn’t, to my friends with whom I can have actual conversations with, more human to human than girl to boy, irrespective of the time; the ones I respect aren’t the prototype men that they try to sell as brands – these good human beings are all around me. I don’t need to search through history books for them. They are here.
When girls are taught that they forever will be the damsel in distress, boys are taught that they have to be strong because ‘mard ko dard nahi hota’.
Yes, there are people who believe that intentions have the power to change with the position of the sun – that a setting sun can mean a significant drop in moral standards. Like a girl texting at night could mean so much more than just that. This narrow minded thought process isn’t reserved for men alone. There are women who think this way too. Small minds are not gender specific.
The fact is that if men are like the ones the advertisements and media project them as, the fight would have been between men and women. Now that we know better, the fight is against these moulds that we are expected to fit into; the fight is between equality and inequality .
The fight is to be honest to what we are, to be more human.
Published here earlier.
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Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: