Do you know how patriarchy hurts men? Why toxic masculinity, patriarchy, violent manhood rituals actually hurt men in the end too? Do you know why you are surprised to be reading an article discussing how patriarchy hurts men and not just women? Let’s come back to that last question later.
A tall, strong, breadwinner for the whole family and a peak sexual performer is the societal definition for the perfect man. However, none of us really know a lot of men who fit this definition. And what becomes of those who don’t fit in? Are they not men? How are they not, in fact, better men than most? And at what point does not fitting into this definition prove to produce serious consequences?
I’m sure you know of the lakhs of farmer suicides in our country. Poverty has been concluded as the cause behind it. But there is also another silent culprit - toxic masculinity. It leads to thoughts like, “What kind of a man am I? I couldn’t even feed my own children, my own family.” And what happens when a man cracks under such pressure? What happens when any man or woman cracks under any such societal pressure? Suicide.
Let’s take another example.
Men don’t cry. This directly implies men must not feel or show any emotion. Explain to me- how is it possible for any living being to not experience emotion? To not express these emotions? More importantly, how do you differentiate between something that is living and non-living without emotions and physical-biological processes? What we expect of men when we ask them not to cry is inhumane, impossible and superhuman.
What are the consequences of this? If you remember your early teen years, a time of extreme emotion and an inability to understand or express them, then you will also remember feeling extreme anger and confusion. We all came out of it stable and mature when we learned to understand and express these emotions in healthy ways. Imagine being restricted from doing that and keeping all of it in. It’s bound to eventually drive you insane. It’s bound to make you erratic and irrational.
Not being allowed to manage your emotions is not normal. Not being able to communicate love or care is not healthy. It’s not healthy for you and is definitely not for anyone you have any kind of relationship with in your life.
On a more serious issue, did you know more than one billion women in the world are victims of physical assault? These crimes stem from a violent machoism and patriarchal lines of thought that permit them to behave in this way. What drives a person to the point of violence? At what point do they dismiss the fact that the person in front of them is a living being and is in pain? When they lose self-control, it is because they couldn’t manage their emotions and didn’t care to. Why would they, when they can use violence instead of venting? As society taught them to.
At this point, this article begins to sound like misandry. So let’s revisit the question mentioned at the start of the article. Why were you surprised to be reading an article discussing how the patriarchy hurts men and not just women?
It’s because men and women are not two separate divisions. The only division amongst humanity is equality and inequality. Not the inflicting and the inflicted, but the inflicting and the affected. When violence is committed, it doesn’t just hurt a woman. It hurts a boy’s mother and a man’s daughter too.
Even though there have been significant changes in the last decade, it hasn’t been enough to bring widespread change.What’s missing is men standing up to patriarchy which hurts not only women but also men. The biggest and most important change begins by questioning yourself and I hope this article has nudged you in that direction, beginning with not just blaming poverty but also toxic masculinity when you see a picture of a poor farmer with his child.