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Ever wonder, why there are so many jokes doing the rounds about men being the victims in urban India, although facts often point to the contrary?
Well, unfortunately, the negative fall-out of sexism hurts men almost as much as women. The Indian culture treats men differently. With the basket of male privileges comes a load of differentiated pressure.
We list the top few gender-role stresses that hound the Indian man!
- Career Trap – The Indian male child has his career options frozen before he has time to learn his alphabets. The future ‘man of the house’ has ‘many’ career options (read three, four when the family is liberal). He can ‘choose’ to be an Engineer (the Indian parents’ ultimate fantasy), a Doctor (it will take him time to settle, but hey there’s respect!), a Management professional/Chartered Accountant (own the Corporate sector, of course) or maybe, a Scientist (he would definitely have a Ph.D. from the States, no less). Parents force their sons to continue their ancestral business or profession, with little respect to their personal choice in the matter. Imagine the societal shudder if the prodigal son wants to be a caregiver, a botanist or a street artist! Wait, what is a street artist, again?
- Pressure to excel – The proverbial “Sharma Ji ka beta” is everywhere! Be it at sports, arts or (most definitely) in academics, a son has to be the best! The girl child, of course, has the option to fall back on the successful husband. But the Husband has to be in the top percentile in everything. The impossible standards can get tiring to bear through a lifetime, yes?
- Money matters – A direct corollary of the above is the financial scrutiny. The Indian man is the designated breadwinner, no matter what his ambitions are. A 2016 Bollywood movie which tried to break the stereotype ended up being disrespectful to every Indian community. Even with the right intention, the makers of this movie couldn’t wrap their heads around gender role diversity. A man is worthy of respect only if he earns more than his parents, spouse, and every other human in a kilometers radius around him!
- The unsympathetic workplace – This is counter-intuitive, right? The workplace, specifically the Corporate, is the man’s world, with a glass ceiling on top. Indian men are socially pressured to be domestically challenged, or they are termed ‘henpecked’. There is an emphasis to be sensitive to the woman’s needs at the workplace. Sadly, the same sensitivity doesn’t apply to men. There is cynicism against men who want to prioritize family commitments or indulge in extensive child care. The laws are also ridiculously unidirectional. India’s law on Sexual Harassment is titled “Prevention of Sexual Harassment against Women at the Workplace”, precluding the notion that men can never be harassed!
While I agree that Indian society is partial towards the male population, it is time we cut our men some slack.
Do you agree/disagree with any point made here? Please comment or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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