Stop Raising Your Male Child As A Symbol Of Patriarchy
It is due to our persistent behaviors at the time of upbringing a male child when we inculcate traits like sexism, masculinity and superiority in them, but this patterns needs to be changed to develop them into human beings who are sensitive toward the other gender.
When somebody bullies boys in school, mocks them, tells them to ‘be a man’, and ‘are your going to cry like a girl’?, then that’s a sign of a deeply embedded problem. By saying all this, casual sexism is embedded in young minds very callously. We ought to say things like, ‘are you going to bowl, bat, run, shoot and dribble, like a girl? You sissy, Mr. Sensitive.’ Such connotations are used in school and all the way through college.
When a teenager boy is loving and sensitive towards his girlfriend’s needs and wants or if a husband is cooking, cleaning the house, changing the diapers, he is again ridiculed as, ‘wrapped around her little finger.’ Again, his masculinity is ‘challenged’. So here, two very dangerous mindsets grow. First, ‘a girl is inferior to a boy, and if she ever does better than him, then he is the biggest failure ever. Secondly, as she’s inferior to him, she’s objectified as a sex toy. Therefore, you don’t heed to do everything she demands and asks for. If you are at loggerheads with her, slap her to put her in the right place.
At home, a young boy learns about entitlement because he sees it on a daily basis. He’s given special preferential treatment compared to his sister. In any choice in his life, his number will always come first and he will always be a top priority. Hence, he develops arrogance and his own heart becomes hardened too. He’s taught to be selfish and he sees the same entitlement owned by his father too when years after years, he sees his father coming in first in line of priority and his mother coming in second place all the time.
Such boys may have morals and ethics at times, but they are never softened enough to help others. They may not be atrociously mean and malicious but they would never be kind and empathetic either.
That’s why when a young professional sees a female colleague going ahead in her career, his ego is severely squashed. And that’s why it’s painfully hard to report to a female boss. And that’s why it’s hard to swallow a wife’s career successes too. All these traits of toxic masculinity stem from entitlement and threat to male supremacy.
Then, we have boys who endure physical abuse by their fathers. They are beaten but warned not to cry. They see their mothers getting beaten up by their dads. It is often seen that physically abused young boys grow up to be abusers themselves too.
Bullying dipped in severe misogyny and entitlement seeped in patriarchy never lets a boy to be a sensitive and caring person. His sensitive side is never fully developed. Tears are expressed as a sign of weakness that ‘threaten’ to shred masculinity into pieces. We blame men constantly for all the atrocities on women these days.
However, it’s not a gender vs. gender issue. It’s a sensitivity issue. If only the parents collectively would learn to teach respect and empathy as well as equality between genders right from the very beginning, this wouldn’t be the case. What’s the point in sending your boys and girls to A-class private elite schools if we are not teaching them how to respect a woman, how to deal with a wife’s success, how to help in raising children and doing household chores? In this day and age, I am still appalled to see immensely qualified girls play themselves short, just so their husbands’ fragile egos are not hurt.
We need to teach our boys that it’s okay to cry so that they can pour their heart out, or tell their parents that they are molested by a cleric, that they are bullied in school, or are depressed, and they feel attracted towards the same gender. Whatever, you have a fight going on inside your heart, you can let it all out and cry. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It makes you lighthearted. It makes you more tuned to your inner feelings, insecurities and shortcomings. When you cry and let it all out, you are strong enough to see the mirror and face realities. Because unless and until you won’t face realities, how else are you going to find solutions to your problems. Crying in front of your siblings, parents, friends, wife is all okay.
We need to break this typical mighty strong image of men to make them human first. We need to teach little boys to express all kinds of emotions: fear, anxiety, happiness, joy, sadness, anger. It’s okay to let it out. That’s how we learn self-expression. That’s how we are able to navigate through our challenges and problems. That’s how we understand the gravity of various situations.
Hence, overall, our emotional intelligence is increased and we are better equipped to deal with our circumstances, challenges a lot more sensibly. Bottling up inside doesn’t help much in the long run as it only leads to frustration, anger, regret and overall depression in your life.
To young men in their 20s exploring love and relationships, I would like to say that there’s nothing sexy about a guy being an insensitive super macho ‘grabbing a girl by the hair’ type. Chances of you landing with a date and ultimately a long term relationship are a lot higher if you show niceness and genuine sensitivity towards life at large. That’s what truly defines a man.
So the next time you see your 15 year old son crying, it’s okay to let him do so. He will appreciate it that a nurturing parent is there with him, understands him, supports him. Then, you build a lifelong bond of trust with your son, enabling him to become a better and decent human being too.