Growing up as a man your ‘mardaangi‘ will be questioned repeatedly and you will have to prove that you are a man. From appearing to be tough to having masculine personality traits, it seems that everything you do or say is a measurement of how much of a man you are.
Family members and friends tend to make hurtful comments in good fun without realizing the effects that they may have on young men
These young men are quietly dealing with the immense pressure to conform to society’s very strict image of what a “real man” is supposed to be like.
Umair talked to us about growing up with a slim physique which was caused by a medical condition.
“I was called ‘Kangri Pehlwan‘ on multiple occasions among other things. I looked younger than I was and people used that to overpower me often.”
Similarly, younger boys take a sense of pride in their facial hair and some of the late bloomers feel left out when they are told, “tum tou itnay chiknay ho… larki lagtay ho!” or when they are told they aren’t man enough because they can’t grow a beard.
This is because we have instilled in out boys that it takes a certain amount of aggression to be called a man.
Even young boys get bullied for their complexion. Their own friends say things like, “tum tou raat mein nazar nai ao ge!” and this seems funny to you but imagine hearing this constantly as a child.
Such comments are guaranteed to hurt anyone’s self-esteem and confidence among other things.
A lot of these young boys may grow up to have mental illnesses, such as but not limited to, social anxiety, because they have trouble communicating how they feel
Being constantly told that showing emotions or talking about your troubles is a sign of weakness creates psychological issues that affect their relationships later in life. We need to realize that men are also only human and human beings should be allowed to cry, feel and express all kinds of emotions freely.
Even with regards to a choice in profession it is unacceptable if you are a man and aspire to be an artist, chef, musician or teacher. All these professions are somehow considered feminine even though they are perfectly respectable fields of work for both men and women.
In settings without any female presences, men tend to be brutal with one another, calling each other out over being less of a man
There is constant competition regarding who is a bigger man and is often based on who gets more women, or who has a bigger paycheck. These are often casually called ‘dick measuring competitions’ and tend to be taken very lightly in social settings.
So what really is the idea of being a man?
If you identify as a man then nobody has the right to question it no matter how masculine your traits and appearance are. The idea of what can constitute “acting like a man” is purely a societal construct because, physically you are born one, unless you choose to identify as something else, yourself.
Women can have masculine traits and men can have feminine traits. You have the right to express yourself, behave in a manner that you prefer without any labels, and choose the profession of your liking. Start being fearless and more secure in your manhood.
If you want to learn more about gender roles, then “Here’s A Simple Guide To Sex And Gender That’ll Help You Understand “Things” A Little Bit Better“.
Cover image via: bradnsynario.com