Mamma’s little boy, daddy’s big guy, siblings’ protector, children’s superhero, wife’s/girlfriend’s best friend/ lover/punching bag, and the list continues. Women have it tough, but it’s not exactly the easiest job to be a man either.

This era has proved to be revolutionary in terms of feminism. While there is an uproar about the issue of gender equality and the struggle continues, you cannot completely sidetrack the male gender with whom women strive to stand shoulder to shoulder. With the world preoccupied with the empowerment of women, the burdens of the sterner sex are often overlooked.

Now, I consider myself borderline feminist, so you may (or may not) be surprised when I say that I actually don’t think it is as easy to live a life of a man as we think make it out to be. Being a man does come with its share of pressures and responsibilities, although less celebrated than those of women. Men are expected to always come out strong, keep their emotions bottled up, be the dependable shoulder to lean on, understand women, and to keep everything together with a macho spirit to boot.

Gender discrimination affects men too, but we rarely look at that page of the book. I’ve had incidents of my guy friends admitting their secrets of liking certain books/ movies considered feminine, liking the color pink, sharing insecurities over their loved ones, and having moments of breakdowns. Any man openly succumbing to such feelings will run the risk of being called a “wuss, and the pressures of not being able to feel what you want to is a discrimination in itself. The unspoken norms of masculinity demand that a strict form of conduct be followed in order to maintain manliness.

To be frank, there are double standards when it comes to feminism.

It doesn’t end there either. Along with the demands of maintaining a macho image and a steady stream of masculinity, romantic novels and movies set the standards to become a perfect high for the common man. In order to be Mr. Perfect, the common man is expected to say the right things at the right time and go above and beyond to make his girl. If you really think about it, that is a lot of pressure.

To be frank, there are double standards when it comes to feminism. I am not trying to offend or upset anyone here but if we are completely honest to ourselves. Feminism does at times teeter into the thought trend of looking for the best interest of women rather than attaining equality. On the one hand women are adamant on demanding equality but are reluctant to do what isn’t considered womanly.

The examples on the left of double standards are definitely not my way of attacking anyone. All I am trying to show is if we want gender equality, it has to go both ways. If the stereotypes need to be broken, it needs to be broken both ways. Men and women indeed are wired differently in some contexts and similarly in others. The way oPriyanka ne wants to behave should be a personal choice free of gender-based restrictions. As writer Vincent D’Onofrio quotes, “To me the definition of true masculinity – and femininity, too – is being able to lay in your own skin comfortably.”

Article Contributed by: Priyanka Neupane

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The Year 1999

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