TOPICS: Plight of men

Often, when the topic on gender issues arises, it’s all about the oppression of women and their rights as humans. Forgotten are the men and boys who suffer as much as women do thanks to ‘patriarchy’.

Patriarchy is defined as a ‘social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line’.

Put simply, the term means ‘the absolute rule of the father or the eldest male member over his family’. On a general scale, women’s issues like gender based violence, female feticide and infanticide are the subject that grab headlines. However, silently, even men are victims.

The sole notion of seeing the man as the breadwinner has to change.

The pressure to earn a sustainable livelihood is on all of us no matter you’re a man or a woman. The stress of not making enough money and not being able to give the life that your family deserves takes a toll on men.

Do men really need to be ‘masculine’? This is one question that regularly haunts me.

As impossible and damaging as societal standards for women are, the standards for men are just as poisonous: From birth, men are discouraged from showing emotion, which is seen as a feminine attribute — boys don’t cry, right?

Without a culturally-approved outlet for their feelings, this stifling of emotion has led generations of men to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking and alcohol abuse, which men are more likely to experience than women.

The fear of being seen as ‘weak’ is so deeply ingrained that they drastically overcompensate when they feel threatened.

Domestic violence is assumed to be a female concern. While women do make up the majority of domestic violence victims, domestic abuse can and does happen to men as well.

However, the culture of toxic masculinity is so strong that some men may not even realize that they’re being abused, because they aren’t used to violence being discussed in terms of female-on-male.

Not all men are patriarchs. However, there’s no denying that the patriarchy is set up to benefit men. Though gender norms are just as rigid for men as they are for women the consequences can be fatal.

As much as men may benefit from patriarchal societies on the surface, it’s clear that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.