16th December 2012. A 23-year old student was not just gang-raped but tormented and beaten in the most barbaric way possible on a moving bus. The date marked a milestone for the Indian society and its headstrong women protesting justice across India that also garnered international attention and support for anti-rape crimes.
The aftermath of the incident sparked off an entire legacy that drove to improve the culture and bury the misogyny. It led to Leslee Udwin filming “India’s Daughter” under BBC that garnered controversy and received a telecast ban in India because one of the alleged rapists was interviewed.
The interview he gave BBC was shockingly raw and raised bile up throats. His eyes held no remorse, as were the words he spoke in front of the camera.
“We wanted to teach them a lesson.”
The general derivation here is the attitude of men towards women in India – the clear patriarchal reign. But on the flip side, it is the culture that men are “entitled” to oppress females and in turn, use violence on them as a form of manliness is what we call hyper-masculinity. We have spoken much about the ladies, but many fail to realise that exaggerated male stereotypical behaviour can cause as much damage as oppressed Indian women – example, birthing rapists and men who use violence to express “machoism”. If they didn’t thrash her up perhaps, the society would brand him a “whim” or question his manliness, which at that time seemed more intimidating than a death penalty for rape. More than the heinous crime, it was the justification that “this is what men do” and “this is what women SHOULD do” that roots down to hyper-masculine behaviour in most males.
Besides anger, the men are shaped by the society such that it’s not wise to cry or feel any sorts of emotions that women feel because it is feminine qualities. They said boys cannot cry and don’t cry – women face subjugation externally, men fight their demons internally. Male privilege isn’t as fancy as it seems – it bears down a certain set of expectations on men that are rather tenuous, but corrosive on their behaviour and mental health.
Isolation from any emotion, expressing violence and sexual aggression are all society’s mould of “the perfect man”. Any man who strays from this or breaks free to embrace his own individuality is immediately chastised. The stigma of hyper-masculinity sadly is overthrown by then again, the indifference in genders and unbalanced gender roles.
Men would be free when they realise that they are their own enemy. As much as they are conditioned to behave in a certain manner, they should never fail to acknowledge themselves, their behaviour and thoughts despite it being non-masculine. Everyone is allowed to feel, do and say as much as they want without having to adhere to a gender bubble that has imaginary steel grills constricting them.
So, boys, it’s okay to cry.
Featured image source: thoroughlyreviewed.com