Samiksha Parhate Monday, 18 May 2020

Preconceived notions on men

Our culture still clings to a narrow definition of gender and feminism. Feminism started as a way to achieve equality in society. Today it is misinterpreted to the concept of 'my life my rules' and has become a way to gain fame for most feminists. Since ages, it has been taught and inculcated in every single human being that this is a patriarchal society, ruled by men. Men can never be 'victims', they are the 'criminals.’ This society today is totally run by a preconceived human mind that condemns men on their actions irrespective of their involvement. The so-called generalizing 'Men as trash' trend had taken over the internet. This stereotypical society has taught boys from childhood not to express their emotions, to “suck it up” and “be a man.” The cases depicting man as a victim are often taken as less serious or a 'joke'. These cases never caught up to a hype similar to the woman cases all over the internet and media.

The reality is- man can be a victim of RAPE, a man can go through DOMESTIC ABUSE, man can be BODY-SHAMMED too and even a woman can be a PERPETRATOR! 76% of suicides are men, 85% of homeless are men, 70% of homicide victims are men, 40% of domestic abuse victims are men. They are the majority victims of violent crime. Men on an average serve 64% longer in prison. They are 3.4 times more likely to be imprisoned than women when both committed the same crime.

1 in 10 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, and on an average 24 people per minute are the victims of abuse. But it is often heard that they are simply not believed or taken seriously when reporting the abuse. The majority of domestic violence stories covered by the media are about male perpetrators and female victims who are typically in heterosexual relationships. Abuse of men happens far more often than you might expect—in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse because they feel embarrassed, fear they won’t be believed, or are scared that their partner will take revenge. The concept of ‘ideal body image’ for women has been around for decades whereas, on the other hand, the concept of the ‘ideal male body’ with lean muscles and a six-pack looms large in the male psyche. Men to get body shamed for being too fat, receding hairlines, height, not enough facial hair to show their masculinity, etc. but men tend to be quieter about their body negativity, seeking treatment less frequently due to shame and are more likely to resort to drug use, especially the use of stimulants, to achieve that ideal body. The gender of being a perpetrator has not been assigned by birth, a woman is as likely to be a criminal. Studies have found out that out of the reported sexual assault each year, 41% of cases involve woman perpetrators. Moments like #Meetoo and #Healmetoo were flooded with women as victims but one has never encountered any such moments rise up to stand for male victims!

It is high time for society to accept the truth. And men need to absorb that it is ok to talk about mental health, it's ok to cry, opening up about your emotions does not make you a less man and make people understand whether you are guilty or not is decided by your history, not by fortune tellers. It's normal to be a Human.