More often than not this question has perturbed my mind and ever since I got involved in men’s rights activism, fighting for men’s rights, creating awareness about men’s issues and problems and interacted with abused and victimized men, my understanding of the answer to the above question has improved tremendously and today I am going to write about the same in this article.
Before we delve into the reasons as to why men suffer, it is pertinent to talk about “How Men Suffer?”
It is important to understand how men suffer because the current social understanding about suffering of men is largely undercover. In fact, even after 8 years since the establishment of the men’s rights movement in India and after umpteen presences in the media, by and large, the society is still oblivious to the problems that are faced by men. Even, if sometimes people are aware that the man is suffering, they have nothing to offer to the man. And this is again a reflection of poor understanding of the male psyche and male emotions.
Some of the common forms of abuse of men are,
- Forced to earn manhood: Boys are taught to be ruthless and cruel to other men, view them as competitors but have a soft corner for women. Even our social constructs are so designed that a man must earn his manhood while a woman gets her womanhood by default because of her gender. That’s the reason we see dialogues like “Respect me because I am a woman”, “You are not a man if…….”, “You are not a man unless you……”, “Be a man”, “Take it like a man” etc.
- Conditioned to be inferior: Boys are socially conditioned to believe that in general the male gender is inferior to women and that a man’s life is incomplete without a woman. They are conditioned to believe that it is OK to demean their own gender; in fact they are made to feel proud about that.
- Made to suppress: Boys are encouraged to suppress their emotions/pains/sufferings and as they grow up, the language that takes shape in their minds is – “It is unmanly for me to complain”.
- Economic abuse: This is the most common form of abuse that men are subjected to. It’s been a social tradition to expect men to earn money through hard-work and then others should enjoy it. In fact, men who spend their own hard-earned money for themselves are ridiculed and those who spend it for their family are hailed even though the family is abusive towards the man. Every new anti-male law that is proposed is based on the premise that it is the right of the woman on the man’s money.
- Emotional abuse: Men face a lot of emotional abuse which often goes unnoticed because of the high expectations from the society and the emotional suppression that they face since childhood.
- Abuse in Marriages: Marriages are tumultuous for men. Every year close to double the number of men commit suicides due to abusive and married men top the list of suicides.
- Legal Abuse: The legal system is highly anti-male. There are more than 15 anti-male, inhuman and unconstitutional gender biased laws which openly flout principles of natural justice and many more are coming in pipeline. Also, the legal system is immune and insensitive to the abuse of a man who is victimised and has nothing more than lip service to offer to them.
- Social Abuse: Men face social bias. All a man needs to invoke hatred against him is to have a woman complain against him and it does not matter how much bizarre, absurd or illogical the allegations are; social hatred against men (misandry) will ensure that the life of the man is ruined. And such deep is the misandry that even if the man comes out clean; there is no will in the society to punish the liar woman so as to deter other women from repeating the same offence. In fact, abuse of men by society is like a social service.
- Workplace Bias: Men face bias at workplace as well. Mostly men find it very difficult to get promoted and need to struggle a lot for the same. Most companies hire more women under initiatives like “Diversity” and mostly even if men are as competent as women, they lose out on the job due to such initiatives.
- Cultural Bias: Abuse of men is not a new fashion; it’s a chronic social disease. Men have always been forced to play violent roles by cultures and societies by participating in wars, taking risks, losing their life and limbs and donning the role of a protector. And this very role of protector goes against men which takes away the right from them to fight for their own selves.
This is just a tip of the iceberg about the various problems which men have been suffering from and are either unaddressed or unrecognised. However, let us now see as to why men suffer so much?
Men suffer because of the following reasons:
- They don’t share their problems: Men feel it is unmanly for them to share their problems and fearing social backlash and ridicule, they suffer silently.
- They share their successes more often than their failures: Men are made to feel unmanly when they share their failures with dialogues such as “Dude, you could have handled this much better”. Due to this reason and the first one, the problems of the male world rarely surface. All that surfaces is their successes all over which makes the society feel as if it is OK to snatch from men. But, as it is said, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, same is with the problems and struggles faced by a man. Merely because men are silent, does not mean they are good to go. It’s just that they are resilient enough to deal with the abuse heaped upon them.
- The Protector Role of men: Even if they are being attacked from all sides they won’t forego their “protector” role. Even after getting abused by the very society, men find in themselves a fetish to protect culture, protect society, protect country and such high and lofty objectives do not allow them to take up cudgels against the injustice they themselves are being subjected to.
- Logic of Men: Men are extremely logical and analytical in their approach and thus often they fail to comprehend emotional turbulence and end up getting bruised emotionally. Men have great respect for systems, hierarchies, rules and laws. That is the reason, they somehow think that anti-male laws are fine and they would never be trapped if they don’t do anything wrong and even if that happens, they would use logic to prove their innocence.
- Internal Misandry: This is the biggest reason why men suffer. Internally men hate each other and have a lot of disrespect for each other. They judge each other a lot and are too quick and active in jumping into action to punish a man against whom a woman complains. That is the reason, even after being victimised, most men do not challenge anti-male social attitudes and anti-male laws because internally they somehow feel, these laws are justified, it’s just that, for them, the anti-male laws should not be “misused”.
The solution to end the suffering of men is very simple. It just depends on certain choices that men need to make.
- Men must stop disrespecting and hating other men.
- Men must challenge all such social constructs which force them to earn manhood or suffer abuse because it is considered unmanly to raise voice against it.
- Men must not view other men as competitors in order to get sex.
- Men must challenge all forms of anti-male attitudes, laws and media content.
- Men must understand the importance of “men’s rights”.
Men’s suffering will end if they make the above choices and the choice to make these choices also belies with them.