Masculinity since pre-historic times has always been defined for a man, a virtue that was a function of his physical strength, bravado, courage under fire, ability to galvanize many other men under his leadership for attainment of a common cause – chiefly acquisition, land, wealth , crown, throne, stature or any raised societal pedestals.
Times changed, women who forever took the back-seat on all decisive matters began to express themselves. This expression was and continues to still be met with both aggressive and passive remonstrations. In the era of globalization, the world became a much violent place. The violence emanated inside our homes and spilled on the streets and then eventually the psyche of nations. The confrontation between a man burdened with historical sense of superiority and a woman that had begun to break free from the chains of subservience led birth to what the modern day world calls as the “feminist movement”.
This dynamism saw women come out of their shells and conquer every single discipline that until then was a given male bastion. From education to administration, governance, politics, science, religion, medicine, defence, and to policing. You name it and women began not only conquering the frontiers but pushing the envelope all around.
However, with the progress of the opposite gender came abundance of insecurity, and fears of the male fraternity. As their assumed or transcended sense of superiority lay visibly diminishing, the suppressed frustration of witnessing the same came to the forefront and begun fighting back. The war cry of going back to things “as they were” grew louder and louder in these circles. Men felt threatened. Their “masculinity” was at stake. They couldn’t bear to play the role of a “woman” that she had played for centuries. So, first began the ideological warfare. She can’t, she won’t, she shouldn’t, and then catapulted itself to the physical manifestation of it in the most grotesque form, sexual attacks, harassments, abuse, domestic violence, rapes and gang rapes, acid attacks, gender inequality at work place. Men stooped to levels and hurt her when she was most fragile, carrying a child in her womb that was both his and hers. Nature had clearly sought this as a moralistic superiority of a woman, else a man could bear a child too, but travesty lay in the truth that man took this as an opportunity to assert his manhood.
Many independent women with flourishing careers pushed their personal dreams to raise a child and what should have been viewed as the ultimate sacrifice and repaid with a lifelong commitment of respect and unflinching support, sadly slipped under the rug of patriarchal prejudices, as to why the woman wasn’t doing BOTH! Raising and earning and yet being second to the husband.
Religion, which has always been the most potent weapon of creating a wide spread hysteria and reaffirmation of diktats was conceptualized and promulgated, supposedly by men. Since all restraints, rules, and dogma propelled can rationally be demystified to have created a boundary for HER!
She couldn’t enter temples and mosques, she shouldn’t pray during her menstrual cycles, she should not have a choice on her own pregnancy , she should always walk behind a man, her existence is complete only if she bears a child, she should be laid on the funeral pyre on her husband’s demise and innumerable other ritualistic regressions.
Religiosity coupled with age-old traditions of viewing man and woman in non-fluidic, rigid roles affected even the most aware and conscious minds.
While growing up in an environment with both parents as working, even as children we knew what were the things we were supposed to be looking at our mothers, which was almost everything. It was a subconscious understanding that school uniform, washed and ironed was her duty, food on the table was her responsibility, staying up when we were sick was primarily her job. We held our fathers accountable for less or nothing. Our mothers too, walked through life in perpetual acceptance of their place in the society.
So, it brings me to the most important question, who is a real man today?
Or what does one do to become a real man in a world that’s fighting with itself mostly to define or redefine those standards.
And it is solely my opinion that I state here that to begin with, there has to be clear understanding acceptance within men that there could be no talk of equality, because women were cosmically configured to be a superior design. Not every woman wants or needs to be a mother but that doesn’t take away the fact that its only HER that has the power over the future of the entire human race. Men counter this argument that a zygote is formed only when the sperm fertilized the ovum and hence the equality. No, the ability to carry a woman ends with the man donating his sperms, that too during an act of pleasure. What follows next was a capability enshrined upon her and her alone. So the abject renunciation of that argument.
All further understanding on the matter stems from this fundamental acknowledgment. Once acknowledged I think, a certain headway could be made in the matter.
First, a real man has respect for ALL women. Beginning from his mother, the first woman he encounters after birth , to his sister, aunts, cousins, the house help, the school mates, the teachers, the girl he likes, the woman he falls in love with, the lady he marries, the co-worker he works with, the stranger on the street. ONE and ALL.
A real man has real respect. Respect can be a very superficial thing. Wishing a lady as ma’am is also a form of respect but his respect shouldn’t ever be restricted to that. Real respect lies in patience, politeness, civility, acknowledging the woman’s perspective wholeheartedly, extending utmost attention to her need, want or expectation. Respecting her decisions, choices with an open heart and a lot of dignity.
A real man should understand that being a man also encompasses the responsibility of looking out for the women. Women don’t need protection or have to be salvaged but to reverse the status quo on matters a man would have to proactively take on responsibilities that are assumed to be hers. Making food, doing dishes, children homework, staying up with them when they were sick, grocery shopping, planning holidays etc and doing this not as an EXCEPTION but as a routine as she has been doing with an infectious smile all her life.
A real man would always let the women in his life know; he stands with them in all their decisions. He believes in their dreams and aspirations and is forever willing to make any and all sacrifices for the same, as she has been doing for men all her life.
Humility and honor should be his driving principles and he should rise above insecurity. A more qualified partner, that is financially better placed than a man, should be a matter of pride and not insecurity and acrimony. Women have long marveled in the spotlight being a wife or mother or sister or girlfriend of successful, famous men . It’s a real man’s test of character to extend the same sense of attachment and belonging while he continues to aspire for his own goals in life.
Intolerace for Violence
Real men have no tolerance for violence against women. Inside the domestic circuit, no matter how strenuous relationships get or acidic the environment become, its for a real man to hold his sense of calm and never ever report to physical, mental or verbal violence to underscore his argument. The same should hold true in all spheres and walks of life, work, social and elsewhere.
The real man will see the inner and physical beauty in the woman he claims to be in love with. Women don’t need affirmation because they are crafted for elegance, but it’s a nice feeling to know that your man feels you are perfect and exude radiance. He will be as smitten by her at 60, as he was at 30 and shall always let her know, that she was a blessing in his life.
Pen ultimately, the real man shall never lay claim on what rightfully and morally belongs to her, her time, her emotions, her belongings, her body. It’s one of the most important virtues that define a man, How strong you are in times of her rejections, her aloofness , her slipping into her shell without a wavering of your own emotions of love, fondness, attraction, loyalty, respect you have or had for her!
Lastly, a real man, is REAL. He is a mortal too, he is burdened to prove extra because so many before him have left such a bad taste in the mouth, its hard to believe, he is the one, harder to trust whenever he has inadvertently made a mistake, everything for him is thrice as difficult now, as it could have been. A real man will take all of this in his stride, fight the realities and not the woman, accept her in all her forms because it was his commitment and not hers, not demand reciprocity because he didn’t when he first set out to become a man.
As Justin Trudeau says,
Let feminist not be a way of defining a woman, let’s all of us be feminists!
This isn’t a blog on relationship advices. There are many other facets to relationships across men and women and women also play a role in the success and failure of them, neither its an attempt to declare women as martyrs or demonize all men.
It’s just one man’s journey and his realisations, broadly painted on how to become a real man in a world that is shadowed by so many dogmas’, driven by convenience and propelled by diktats that somehow thwart a woman’s growth and the changes he could incorporate to ensure the balance is shifted towards the most beautiful creation of life!