What does it mean to be a ‘man’ today? 

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What we need today is to put forward a different narrative of ‘masculinity’ in society. The targets are the minds of the people and their perspective towards ‘being a man’ today. To begin with break the connection between ‘masculinity’ with anger, violence, low emotion state, dominance and labour. The high rates of gender crimes taking place in the world today are for the notions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. However, in the 21st Century, the ideas need an overhaul, and they need to change. Infusing the concept of ‘masculinity’ with manliness characterized by power, control, entitlement, brutality is the main problem here. A look towards the prevention of such crime will have to begin with a shifting dynamic towards flipping the narrative. It seems rather impossible today to all of a sudden change the conversations around ‘being a man’, but the seeds are to be sworn today for our children to break free from the stereotypical notions.

It will be easier to flex the mental muscles of the younger generation, and thus that is where we should begin. The process will start from unlearning that there is no sexual entitlement attached to the male gender. Research suggests that sexual entitlement amongst a male can be of more concern while looking for reasons of sexual assault in comparison to alcohol. It has also been recorded that men say their motivation to sexually assault women are sexual entitlement, fun, anger, punishment, in that order. 

The model for change will only function with the involvement of men’s role in the upheaval and to break the cycle. The idea is to transform the narratives of masculinities. Teach younger boys about sex, sexuality and consent. Inculcate platforms where these men and women can converse with each other and normalize the presence of the other gender. 

The crimes that we see today is not solely against them and not strictly by the perpetrators. The offence is against the whole society and by society. It is time we look at these men-perpetrators as a victim of the community, they were fed into it, and they were expected to ‘be a man’, so here they are. Mobilizing the male gender and sensitizing them to a different thesaurus of gender will stop the cycle. In a dynamic and diverse country like India, an overhaul as expected might take generations to penetrate through, but it is enough time to take the first step today. Remember the victim of the gruesome rape violence in Hyderabad, her body lying in ashes but do not hate the perpetrator. Look at the perpetrator as a victim of the vicious society and the notions attached to it. Think of him of someone who has grown all his life watching abuse in the family, watching all wrong power-dynamics and witnessing deprivation at every stage. His urge to execute the power, that we the society expected him to exercise, has turned into a rapist. Rapists are not born; they are created. I create them, and you create them. We create them. Stop the cycle and reform the system. 

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