“Let’s Talk About Men” is a tagline I saw on a blog that had articles about the men’s rights movement in India. I immediately connected with the tagline and I thought what would be its implications when we ask a commoner?
What are the images of a man that are formed in the mind of the “Aam Aadmi” (ordinary male) and the “Aam Aurat” (ordinary female) when we say, “Let’s Talk About Men”. I did a sample survey of this exercise and the results were,
90% of the audience drew a blank on what to say. They had nothing to share about men!
When the audience was given further hints, why don’t you share your views about men and then the responses improved slightly and the results were,
At least 70% of the respondents could connect men to crime and responded that men shouldn’t commit crime and they should respect women.
These results were appalling as they reflected the social imagery of men and the expectations society has set from them. Strangely enough, it also gels well with the treatment meted out to men in general. Since, as a society, we over-focus on the vices of men and thus, in turn, set high expectations from them, men are at the receiving end and encounter a lot resentment and dissent.
And, in this process, we completely forget the wonderful contributions that men make towards society in general.
So, when we say, “Let’s Talk about Men”, I would say, let’s talk about the wonderful contributions men make towards society.
Every society needs a lot of construction to be done like constructing residential houses, constructing business houses, hotels, and many more such buildings and it’s a hazardous task. By and large this task has been carried out by men historically and even when women have been involved, they have been involved in low risk tasks. It’s predominantly, the men who have undertaken the risky and the high-risk tasks and in that process, many a men lost their lives and limbs.
It doesn’t end at simply constructing the structure. It needs to be maintained as well and in that many a times it is required to climb to great heights and repair stuff which is mostly life-risking and is undertaken by men. This work includes painting, plumbing, or repairing broken pillars and also cementing structures. Many times men have lost their lives due to poorly maintained structures.
Relief and rescue work:
In times of natural calamity and disaster like earthquake, floods, cyclones or even man-made disaster like building/bridge collapse, it’s the men who mostly do relief work and many relief and rescue workers have lost their lives while trying to protect people.
Men make the most of economic contribution to the society by undertaking all types of painstaking risks in order to build businesses, promote trade and commerce and improve the economy in general for the society by often sacrificing their personal likes and interests. This economic progress has led to general improvement of lifestyle for women, children and elders and has also led to scientific and technological progress being made available to the one and all.
Owing to their protector syndrome, it’s the men who generally ensure that traditions, cultural traits and social structures are preserved. Men also provide a solid and sound backbone to the family structure by holding all together. More often than not, it’s the men who take the responsibility of binding the family together and provide for the security of all in the family in the form of cash, kind and property.
Men have undertaken the menial and denigrating role of a bodyguard. Men are protectors by default. It’s not at all an uncanny sight to see some self-proclaimed volunteers coming out and guarding the contours of a procession going on and giving directions to vehicles and the procession to keep order and discipline. Women never do this because psychologically women lack the protector syndrome. And more often than not, men lose their lives; get abused for lifetime for donning this dangerous protector role. This protector role is the root cause of abuse of men and also the prime reason why society ignores contributions by men and focuses only on their shortcomings using them to condemn, belittle and insult men time and again. It’s this protector syndrome which makes men take all the abuse and yet feel guilty in being a man and at the same time keep on sacrificing their lives to make other lives’ better. Had it not been for the protector syndrome of men, the human race, as we see it today, would have been long extinct!
Science and technological contribution:
Science and technology touch our lives in a unique way and also make life easy to live, with gadgets and appliances. However, the underlying principle behind most of this technological advance is complex coupled with the fact that it must be made user-friendly camouflaging all the complexities with easy-to-use user interfaces. This also involves a lot of experimentation which means embracing failures and many a men have ruined their lives trying to experiment with science and build something tangible. What we see as the end result has a tale of sacrifices of human lives of men and their toil. It’s a wonderful contribution that men make towards the building of societies.
Putting others before self:
This is yet another reflection of protector syndrome in men. Men have donned the role of a breadwinner ever since human civilization has taken some shape and form and this role is not at all an easy one. It’s not easy to sacrifice one’s likes and interests, move out, take risks, deal with strangers, do business and make money so that 10 other people can, not only be fed and provided with shelter, but can also get a lifestyle. This only comes from the selfless “Put others before self” behavior in men; yet another wonderful contribution by men for the society.
Above are just some broad categories of contributions that men make for the society and is just the tip of the iceberg. It would be a behemoth task to enlist all the wonderful contributions that men make towards society.
So, the next time, before we condemn men, let’s understand they make some wonderful contributions towards and when we say, “Let’s talk about men”, it’s the contributions that should take the fore.