Dear Men, We Know It’s Really, Really Difficult…

Men often face jeering or even anger from family, friends, society - when they share women's chores and support them in their fight for feminism. But isn't it worth it?

Men often face jeering or even anger from family, friends, society – when they share women’s chores and support them in their fight for feminism. But isn’t it worth it?

Dear Men, We know it’s difficult.

We, Women talk about feminism everyday. We think about it, write about it, work for it, celebrate it, there are blogs and organizations that deal with it. We feel like we are part of great revolution, and it’s rewarding.

But that’s the point. We might seem like a small group fighting against a centuries old, deep rooted male chauvinistic world, finally we know we stand to gain a relatively better place in the world with every passing year and effort, and also we believe in the process. So there is motivation both in the process and the result.

But for men it’s the opposite.

The other day I was talking to my recently married friend. In her first visit to her parents’ home after marriage, with her in laws in tow, they decided to let elders enjoy the day and took charge of the cooking – the couple cooked together for both the families.

Men, out of their comfort zone?

Think about this situation.

He not only has to lose the comfort of sitting on the sofa having food served to him, but also has to bear the comments the others might make about being a ‘joru ka ghulam’.

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By deciding to discuss every decision with his wife he not only loses his ‘authority’ but is also laughed at by his peers for ‘being submissive’.

By washing clothes and utensils not only he is taking extra effort, but is also being teased for being the ‘woman’ of the house.

By saying no to dowry he is prompted to know his worth, and worse, sometimes he gets questioned about his health – “why is he not taking dowry, is something wrong with him?”

By being vocal about feminism among friends, he ends up facing questions like “whom you are trying to please?”

By not seeing anything wrong with his wife going out with her male friends, he is questioned about his masculinity.

By being supportive of women’s reservation he has to face the wrath of his colleague who thinks that another eligible man’s job is lost because of this. (I can write another whole article about why that notion is unfair. But that’s for another day.)

Male allies of feminism

Every time men take a step towards feminism or breaking this gender stereotype, they get to suffer double time. One for taking the effort and then get looked down for doing the same sometimes by women also.

But this was the case with every change in social structure. It is like upper caste people fighting against caste oppression.

Take for example, Subramania Bharathiyar, the Tamil Poet.

By supporting the cause of the oppressed class he not only lost the comfort and authority other people of his time were enjoying, but he was also being laughed at and ostracized by some of his family and friends for doing the same.

For those belonging to oppressed classes, though there is no way to really measure their ordeal and pain, at least they have the satisfaction that their effort will give their future generation a better place to live in.

So men, don’t lose heart or get demotivated – you are taking a very essential step towards the right direction and it’s definitely not a favour you are doing to women. You are just doing something right which has been done wrong for a long time.

Kudos to all those men who are taking that difficult step everyday!

Image source: a still from the film Tumhari Sulu

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