Masculinity means being tough, to not show emotions or pain, to be a breadwinner, to be the ultimate authority and to be a dominant part of the equation. But does this all need to happen in achieving an ultimate goal becoming a man? If we agree that these norms and demand are the manifestation of patriarchy, should we tolerate it? Why should men always be men and boys be boys? Why do men bond over misogyny and sexism in day today life?
So we set out to find a few answers and we found ourselves in a traditional Akhada. The Akhada was a men only space. Here we interviewed some of the wrestlers on what they think about exclusivity of men in Akhada. The response was simple; Woman is honour of the house and family and honour stays inside the house not outside. Woman’s space is inside house where she should take care of the household duties and children. Men will go to work and provide for the family. When we contested it with the fact that, these days so many of the girls from Haryana are going out and winning medals for the country and reaction we received was: Those women must be doing it but our women DON’T.
During the filming we stumbled upon the ideas of good men and bad men, good masculinity and bad masculinity. Considering no one would want to be tagged as ‘bad’, when people tried defining what makes a good man, they were falling back on certain duties a man should fulfill. They were all the tasks that an ‘Aadarsh’ (ideal) man would do, take care of the family, provide enough money at home so wife can take care of household responsibilities. It struck to me then, if masculinity divides men and women unequally what’s the point in finding good qualities of masculinity?
We met group of men who believed in beating their wives, they said that’s the only way to keep a woman in her limits; her duties and work is inside the house. Children around us were also listening to this and seeing this every day in their lives, growing up with the same masculine and patriarchal mindset their fathers and grandfathers set them for.
In a world where equality is preached at every stage; guaranteed by law in most cases, we can get rid these practices of making a ‘man’ and instead focus on being good human being. We must create a new path for boys and men to follow, which shall lead to a gender equal society.
Process might be slow but it needs a desperate start.