I speak too often on this topic for me to want to speak anymore on it. But because it’s one of the prompts, I’ll add my own twist to it.
Toxic masculinity, and conforming to concepts of accepted manliness isn’t an abstract concept. It is a lived reality of our lives. Our lives. You too, boys.
You know what made me curious about Fan? Yes, the SRK movie with him in a double role? The fact that at least one version of SRK cries. And it’s not random shedding-a-tear-at-your-daughter’s-wedding-crying, it’s the proper crying session with snot coming out his nose and whimpering kinds.
It’s the girl kind of crying.
One of my closest friends had his first sip of alcohol after his first break up, in high school. Because that’s how “guys drown their sorrows”. The next day we had a bitching-about-the-ex-over-icecream session. And that’s something we do to this day with every new break up.
Alok Nath is my favourite kind of Bollywood father. He’s not as traditional as Amrish Puri, but he’s not as modern as Anupam Kher. He’s the father who offers to educate his daughters against popular wishes. He also makes sure his daughters-in-law are treated like family. Unfortunately, he’s also the one who puts maryaada before any thought of self preservation. It’s expected of him to sacrifice for the daughters till the time he lives. And boy, he never disappoints!
Last year, I met a 10-year-old boy. A son of a friend’s. He wanted to be a chef, but his mother said no one gives brides to baawarchis.*
In a class of 100 odd students, there were 5 boys in my college. These were boys who chose “arts”, or as we would say today, the liberal arts. The common assumption made about them? The dating pool was very large and accessible for them. After all, arts wasn’t a career choice.
I didn’t recognise myself as a feminist for a very long time. I thought the movement, the term were all very dated. I thought the movement needed to rebrand itself from men bashing to something more positive. I am also sitting on the upper echelons of the privilege pyramid. I didn’t think I was ever forced onto any gender norms. So it was never relevant to me either.
Till one day, it all was.
You may think the call for gender equality and dismantling patriarchy isn’t your business. But it’ll fall into place one day. One day, when your life’s choices being dictated by your genitals will be problematic to you too.
*A cook at home.