Think Patriarchy Only Harms Women? Think Again

Patriarchal society is regressive not only for women but also for men. 

3 min read
Think  Patriarchy Only Harms Women? Think Again

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“Looks like an amazing movie, if only this could happen in real life. If only more people had the courage to go beyond the conventional societal roles”, said my brother as we watched the trailer of Ki and Ka.

This upcoming Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor movie challenges the norms of patriarchy by reversing defined gender roles.


What is Patriarchy?

A patriarchal society is one in which men hold more power than women. This social construct also lays down ground rules of what is acceptable and what is not in accordance with gender, which by the way, is another social construct. Hearing my brother express his thoughts on Ki and Ka, I came to realise how patriarchy affects not only women, but also men.

Yes, this toxic patriarchal system is not only regressive for women, men are affected too.


The Macho Man

The patriarchal system confines the role of each individual according to their gender. While ladies are expected to be “fragile”, men are expected to be “macho”. Never shedding a tear when emotional, being the support system for everyone around; these are some of the things society expects of men.

But what if a man wants to break down and cry or express his emotions? He’s disparaged with labels like “sissy”, or “gay”.

While girls behaving like “men” is cherished by the ‘feminazis’, a man moving beyond the “macho” stereotype is looked down upon.


Where is The Freedom of Choice For Men?

We fight against the restrictions of free choice for women, but think about it, do men have this freedom either?

From the colour of their shirt they want to buy to the career they opt for, men are supposed to make certain choices that are “manly”. Pink shirts, flowers, or career choices like nurse or nanny are all considered “girly” for a man.

Apart from choosing a career that is in sync with their gender, men also have to opt for something that pays well. Because, of course, they are the sole breadwinners of the household.


The Confines of Chivalry

Chivalry teaches men the concept of “ladies first”, and that they should always care for the women around them. While this is a much-needed trait it also sets unrealistic standards for men as “givers”.

Just as much we women love being taken care of and pampered, why do we forget that men too like to be taken care of? They might not show always it, but they also need a little care and pampering at times.


What We Need

Anything that goes beyond these conventional gender roles is considered progressive and open minded. It is exceptional that movies like Ki and Ka are challenging gender roles and trying to address the problem, but we still have a long way to go.

Feminism is not just women’s fight against patriarchy. It is a fight of men and women both for gender equality. Patriarchy discourages individualism and freedom of expression, and is the common enemy for both men and women fighting for freedom from oppressive social norms.

The word feminism needs to be taken back. It needs to be reclaimed in a way that is inclusive of men.
Annie Lennox

When a man decides to stay at home to be a homemaker and it does not attract attention, that will be when we can consider feminism fulfilled. When International Men’s Day (which is 19 November, by the way) gets as much attention as International Women’s Day, that will be when we can call ourselves equal. When everyone is considered an individual – their identities unrestrained by the gender they belong to – that will be when we are truly gender-neutral.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  men   Feminism   Patriarchy 

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