Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it,” the simple yet powerful thought by George Carlin, the puissant stand-up comedian, helps in reviewing gender biased stereotypes and celebrating International Men’s Day (November 19) with a new broad perspective.
It’s not about gender but about being a person in their purest and natural form. Men have always been tagged with the prerequisite masculinity which narrows down to being either muscular, stoic, emotionally strong or even impassive.
The common old phrase of, ‘C’mon, be a man!’ raises the question: But, what is it to be a man? Is it just being masculine or are there other layers to it?
Influencers from different walks of life express their views on the dire need to get gender out of the picture with all its bizarre definitions of masculinity. Kiran Manral, author and blogger, says,
“I think we are all now redefining our concepts of what masculinity or femininity means, and the traditional concept of masculinity as being 'physically strong', stoic and inexpressive has been totally done away with.
I grew up at a time where masculinity meant something quite different from what it means today, and I am quite delighted that we are no longer boxing folks into pre-decided notions of attributes to a specific gender.”
Masculinity should not be defined because it is extremely fluid, believes Sushant Divgikar, model and actor who was crowned Mr Gay India and represented India at Mr Gay World in 2014. “You cannot label something as masculine or feminine.
These unnecessary tags and labels we attach to individuals need to be done away with. Men come in different shapes, sizes, colours, emotional capabilities, physical appearances, sexual orientations and those are the different shades of men.”
Do not force masculine prejudices upon men. From “To Be” to “Let them Be”, Jaya Misra, author, focuses on redefining equality for both men and women by changing perspectives towards certain issues. Misra says, “It’s about time.
There has been too much pressure on men to earn, be the CEOs of family and life, to be the unmoving powerful forces for women to look up to. Men need to shrug off this mantle of playing God and be human.”
Misra goes further adding, “If women are asking for equality in decision making and economic power, then men must strive for emotional equality as well.
This means the burden of being Hercules and holding the world on their shoulders can go! Men also get hurt! And, they need to feel emotionally and be free to express themselves without the traditional baggage of stoicism and masculinity.” Manral adds, “Men can be emotional and women can be stoic and unemotional if that is how they are.”
Men can be caring, understanding and supportive, Troy Ribeiro, film critic, says, “I have always been a balanced man with the traits of being soft and understanding towards my family.
Earlier, the ‘man of the house’ was designated as someone who was not approachable but now this is changing. I have seen my mother in pain while my father was aloof and we as children could not go to him with our complaints. So, I picked up sensitivity and the need to be caring from my mother.”
Vikrant Pundit, a young professor and educationist, shares, “I have tended to my baby just to give my wife a little rest from the hassle of 24x7 babysitting.
I cook along with my family on a regular basis and also, I have my mood swings and shed tears out in the open when I am hurt. But I am still a man and I accept all my traits openly. I have my shades which go beyond any definition to be categorised under a certain tag.”
Jovita Aranha, a young feminist, declares, “My father is the best person of my life. And he has his own colours where he has been caring, sweet and supportive of all my endeavours.
He is a more of a human first than being a man or even a father. And honestly, I love his sides which are surreal, hidden and unheard of, they surprise me to know that there is more to him.”
Breaking stereotypes across the globe, Carys Afoko, co-founder of Level Up, a community for feminists working together to end sexism wrote in The Guardian, “Women are not all delicate emotional flowers who need to be protected and rescued.
Men are not all violent and sexually aggressive brutes who are only after one thing. Some people do not even identify as women or men.” And just in time, Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest video on ‘Bring out the #GentlemanInYou’ adds to the art of celebrating men for who they are rather than what and how they are supposed to be. It’s time to redefine definitions.