“Oh, my baby boy is a strong and brave champ!!”
“Come on boy…stop crying like a girl!”
“Cheer up buddy, be a man and move on”
“Arre Yaar! you are not a kid anymore..you need to man up now!”
These are a few things that boys and men across all age groups have been told at least once in their lifetime.
Being a “male” in our society automatically brings so much responsibility on the shoulders of men. They are taught from a very young age to be strong and firm and not be emotional.
Earning, nurturing, and protecting the family are explained as the primary duties of being a male member of the family. To be strict, powerful, stoic, and tough are seen as the essential and desirable qualities of men in the house.
A big deal is made (in a negative way) out of men being emotionally expressive.
They are called weaklings and girl-like and are often tormented. It is usually perceived to be a flaw if men voice their mental states and they are simply told to “get over it” and that they can’t afford to feel that way owing to how much “work” they have in life.
The intentions behind telling men to be strong and firm are not wrong. But I think we have been paying too much importance to all these “ideal” qualities men should be having, that we have almost forgotten even they are human beings before being “men”.
These gender roles and responsibilities that we as a society have assigned to them has become an obligation and is causing more harm than good.
We are ignoring the stigma around mental health and even more around men’s mental health, they stop speaking up and seeking help that it is literally killing them.
And all this is not just my opinion. There have been so much research and study that have proven these facts time and again. Here are a few that I have gathered from various sources.
These points clearly explain how our expectations of men to be mentally strong are unrealistic.
It is probably because of this that men generally resort to unhealthy ways of expressing emotions like explosive anger or displacing emotions. A significant amount of study has also shown that a large number of men succumb to substance abuse and other such problems because they can’t vent their issues directly.
Women find it easier to admit their difficulties and seek help because people sympathize with them. They are seen being sensitive and it is acceptable for everyone that they face problems.
Their problems are not dismissed as easily and conveniently as men’s issues are.
Isn’t it disheartening to see that the rates of suicide are higher in men than in women? This could be large because most men do not know how to go about solving their problems or asking for help. The suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput in the past week just proved that a person, as talented and successful as he also has to fight problems like depression.
So many men do not address their issues openly for the fear of not being taken seriously or being disrespected or being branded as weak.
Probably..if Sushant would have spoken out..even he would have been called names!
This shows that we as a community have not been able to exhibit acceptance for such people and problems.
Incidents like these remind us that it is the need of the hour to pay attention to ourselves and the people around us in terms of mental well being. We need to remember that being able to express ourselves is one of the most precious abilities we humans have and trying to meddle with it could cause serious trouble.
Let us all acknowledge the fact that it is okay to let our guards down once in a while (especially men) and try to indulge in activities that are liberating to us.
I want to reiterate the fact that we honestly do not have any wrong intentions behind assigning roles and duties to men but we should be humane and sensitive towards their feelings and emotions.
It is our responsibility as family members to be welcoming and supportive of how everyone at the house feels and be able to help them in any way possible to us.
The men in our house are true heroes because they get engrossed in working for the family so selflessly, even at the cost of their mental peace and happiness.
This Father’s Day (today is father’s day!) lets us all do one special thing for them.
It could be as small as cooking one favorite dish for them, but it might light up their day, make them feel so happy and loved and bring to their mind that their family loves them unconditionally.
Wishing a very Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there.
This was my way of wishing you all and I hope you liked it.
Please drop in your suggestions and opinions in the comments below!
I’ll see you next Sunday with another post.