Sexism is an evil that spares no one. Undoubtedly, women have suffered greatly over the years due to the prevalence of the toxic patriarchy in our society. But, it does not mean that men and boys are safe from it. There are even cases where this sexism against men has been quite evident. The patriarchy affects both genders— perhaps one more than the other, but it does. The problem with the discrimination against men is that mostly it goes unnoticed, and other times it just becomes a comic plot. When we demand equality, we cannot let these horrendous acts go unpunished and must draw the attention of lawmakers and human rights activists to this issue.
This sexism against men affects men both physically and psychologically. One might even say that toxic masculinity not only endeavors to oppress women’s rights and voices but also men’s freedom of living their life as they want to. Starting from our families to the entire country, this toxic idea of how men should behave has caused more damage than any virus or weapon of mass destruction could ever do.
For example, our state policies or social norms dictate that men should be more encouraged to join the armed forces, whereas women are not. On one hand, it is preposterous not to let women join the forces if they have a desire to serve their country, and on the other hand, it is unjust to force men to join, even if they are unwilling. Moreover, in countries where women are encouraged to join the forces, they are treated leniently. In Indian society, it is still the man who is burdened with the responsibility of earning bread for his family.
Even in the poorest household, boys drop out due to financial difficulties and are sent out to work and earn a living. It is true that in such households, the girls won’t even be allowed to study, but they also won’t be burdened with the responsibilities that are forced upon men. It would be morally wrong to even say that girls enjoy more freedom here because they don’t. But one also cannot overlook that boys suffer, too. Some feminists tend to overlook this unseen side of sexism.
It is not new news that cases of sexual harassment are usually filed against men and that in almost all cases, men are the real culprits, while females are the victims. But, the fact that even males get molested by other males, and sometimes even females, cannot be ignored. Such cases rarely see the light of justice, but oftentimes, these voices succumb under the pressure of toxic masculinity and societal evils.
Nowadays, with increasingly heinous crimes, laws are being reformed, and serious action is being taken against perpetrators, which should have been done long ago. But there are some women who fail to understand the need for these steps and how they were taken to protect women and their rights. There are some women who think of these laws made to safeguard them as weapons they can use as per their convenience to get what they desire. In recent times, many such cases have come to light wherein an innocent man has suffered punishment, embarrassment, exclusion from society, and legal punishment, because of a false allegation made by a woman. Men are being punished just because they are men.
If we want equality, if we desire to live in a world where there is peace and justice, then we need to see individuals as individuals who are entitled to the rights granted to them by the constitution and not view them as one different from the other. The policymakers must ensure the safety and security of each individual, and they must safeguard the rights of each citizen irrespective of their gender by punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent.
Written by: Rituparna