Friday, April 29, 2016

Stereotyping also happens for men, and it is equally bad.

Are men also stereotyped in our society like women? Do they feel pressure to fit in a certain image to define their manliness? Does society expect a certain type of behavior from them or associates certain set of qualities with their personality because of their gender? Do they face any discrimination because of their gender? Normally we ask these type of questions to point out gender stereotyping of women, but we can very well ask these questions about men also and according to me the answer to most of them is a big YES. I am sure both men and women will be surprised to know that men are as much stereotyped as women or transgenders. There is a certain perception about men in our society. Our media and movie culture has built a certain image of an ideal man, a masculine, fearless and ever hungry for sex are some of the characteristics which most of us associate with men. This image is the result of years of stereotyping of male behavior, and males grow with this image in their mind. The effect of this is very strong, knowingly or unknowingly men try to mold their behavior to fit into this image. The effect of this stereotyping is so much that if we come across any post or article adulating men the automatic response is "wish there are more men like this" or "we need more men like this". If you don't believe me then just check the comments section of any Facebook post or article adulating men or describing about any incident which doesn't fit typical stereotyped male behavior. This is strong evidence to show how much our society has generalized behavior pattern of all men.

The truth is that most men are kind and very well behaved people. Patriarchal culture all over the world has put a lot of pressure on them to do justice to their so called 'manliness.' Most of them try really hard to fit into that image, but very often all those efforts are not recognized or appreciated as it is expected from them as a part of their duty as men, especially their responsibility to feed their family. This happens with women also where they are expected to take care of their families and all their efforts in that direction go completely unnoticed as it is considered as their 'natural' duty. But unfortunately when men misbehave, commit crimes like murder or rape their gender becomes significant and many times that criminal behavior is blamed on their gender. Even ridiculous statements like 'boys will be boys' are often used to justify or defend some misbehavior. Sometimes while criticizing sexual harassment incidents people try to put blame on criminal's gender rather than accusing that particular individual for that mistake. The point is, men and women both face problems of gender stereotyping in our society and both get affected negatively because of this. Just because some men are misbehaving with women this type of behavior doesn't become a characteristic of all men. Just because some men are brave and masculine, this should not become a criteria to judge all men. Every person, whether it is a man, women or transgender comes with a unique set of qualities and emotions, particular gender might have a certain type of emotion which dominates in its group, but there is no hard and fast rule for these things. Humans are not robots, they are not manufactured in factories with a certain set of characteristics we all are different. Let's acknowledge and respect these differences. Such stereotyping of any gender can only result in feelings of low self-esteem and guilt among people who don't fit into those descriptions.

Stereotyping men is as bad as stereotyping women or transgenders. It doesn't serve any useful purpose, so we all should avoid it. Just because for centuries, certain things were expected from certain gender doesn't mean we should continue with such wrong traditions. Once we realize that certain traditions are wrong, we should dare to challenge them and change them no matter how old they are. Like women, men have also suffered long because of stereotyping and gender bias. Let's try to end this injustice. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

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