You hear a lot about what being a woman is like in our desi society. And well, you hear about it from us, mostly. While we don’t forget about our men completely, we decided to shed some light on the burdens of being a man in Pakistan. Because let’s face it – you guys have problems, too.
Let’s discuss them:
1. From a very young age, our desi society expects men to be the primary breadwinners
Even though there’s nothing wrong with expecting men to work, having them believe their worth is tied to the amount of money they rake in is pretty damaging. In a society where more and more women are turning to work, it’s not really fair to have a man bear the expenses at the cost of his mental health and sense of self-worth.
2. Men are told to suppress emotions and bottle everything up
“Larke rotay nahi hain.”
Kyun, bhae? Unke tear glands nahi hotay?
3. In fact, showing emotion is considered to be a sign of weakness or lack of mardangi
We allow our men to believe that repression is a lifestyle and label those who fail to conform to it as weak. Why? Let men cry. Give them the liberty to express themselves. Why are we allowing them to implode?
4. The tough guy act does, in fact, lead to lots of psychological problems for men
Most of the time, it’s a facade. One that leads to an accumulation of bitterness and resentment. More than that, though – it leads to unhappiness. No wonder, suicide rates among men are much higher.
5. Men face a lot of bullying too
Men are bullied relentlessly too. Yes, they may resort to physical violence to sort it out, but why do we not see that as a red flag? We say violence isn’t justified, but when guys brawl, we say it’s just boys being boys, How is this:
6. Men are also body shamed if they don’t fit the standard “manly” look
Many men have been targets of body shaming at some point. However, they’re expected to take it in their stride at all times.
7. And men, too, have certain unrealistic standards to live up to
Men also kinda feel bad about not looking like certain celebrities. Maybe not all men. But some men for sure. This can lead to body image issues.
8. Men are given very strict training for marriage
“Beta, parho ge nahi toh koi larki ka haath nahi dega.”
Shouldn’t we encourage men to study for the knowledge itself and not to get a girl for marriage? Just a thought.
9. Any form of harassment men have encountered is overlooked
Men are molested and raped. They are a target of heinous, traumatic incidents. And, as a society, we trivialize these serious matters. Many people actually believe that men can’t be raped. Or that they enjoy it. A lack of empathy for men in this sphere is highly concerning.
10. In fact, their knowledge about consent, in general, isn’t too great
The idea of consent from both ends has been severely botched for our men. Not only do they not have a great understanding of the fact that no means no, they also have a hard time understanding about how important consent is for them as well.
11. For men, owning up to mental illnesses is a taboo of its own kind
Once again, men are labeled weak for speaking up about mental illnesses. They may even be accused of seeking attention. Some will even call them feminine, though that’s not really an insult. The point is, men need a safe space too.
12. Men are left to shoulder a lot of expectations
Ghar ki expectations, parents ki expectations, biwi, bachon ki expectations – men have to deal with a lot that’s thrown their way. Sometimes, they’re expected to do so without complaining.
13. The patriarchy hurts men deeply with its idea of toxic masculinity
Sab emotions andar rakho. Act like a man. Put up a stern exterior. Why do we ask our men for all of this? When we ask them to internalize their feelings, we leave them alone to fight a mental battle that could progressively worsen over time. Is it really worth it?
Now, a lot of men think feminists aren’t here for them. But we are. We’re here for you, as long as you don’t try to make your narrative relevant when issues women face are being talked about. You’re pretty damaged due to the functionings of our desi society. We recognize that. However, these are just a few of those ways that scratch the surface of the damage. If you have a story to tell or want to let us know how else men are screwed over, let us know in the comments below.
Cover image via: Paragon Production