When we talk about patriarchy, we usually mean male superiority. Most of us relate ill effects of patriarchy to the way it treats women and rightly so. However, patriarchy does effect the so called superior gender too.
Patriarchy sets definitions of masculinity and femininity, and gives each gender rigid rules to follow. It enforces the idea that gender exists in binary. Needless to say patriarchy effects the entire spectrum of sexuality.
Though in lay men’s term patriarchy only impacts women, but if we dive a little deeper we would understand that it does impact the one holding power, that is, straight cis-men. Patriarchy puts men in a box. Thus men too need feminism to break the flawed structure of patriarchy.
Refusing emotional literacy to men
Patriarchy in its very essence sets certain stereotypes for men. Men should be physically strong, should not show emotions when sad, should be sex- hungry, they should be the bread earners of their family and so much more. This puts an excessive amount of pressure on men to satisfy their norms and abide by these stereotypes.
A million times young boys are told to “man up” , “be a man”, “man do not cry”, thus enforcing in their minds that they must behave in a particular way to be a man. It wrongly portrait that men are stronger and showing emotion is a sign of weakness.
Over time it has lead to lack of emotional literacy in men, as well as, lack of support to show their true emotions. This in long term creates a great vulnerability to mental health issues, ranging from anxiety, depression to even suicidal tendencies.
Restricts men’s choices
Patriarchy restricts almost every choice that a man makes, be it a serious career choice or a much simpler clothing choice. There are unsaid rules that men should choose manly stuffs. If they make choices that are even slightly feminine according to the traditional patriarchal notion then are often ridiculed and are subjected to a lot of bullying.
We as a society have set norms which restricts men from making certain dressing choices, certain career decisions and even having certain hobbies. “Man don’t wear pink”, “no floral prints for men” are some common sentences each and every man has heard in some point of their life.
Patriarchy usually do not welcome straight cis-man in certain professions, such as fashion designing or makeup artist. It also looks down upon men who takes interest in activities like cooking, clearing, grooming, applying makeup and so much more. Such patriarchy narrows down the playing field of men too.
Men getting raped
Patriarchy turns a blind eye towards men’s issues, such as men being subjected to physical or sexual assault. Patriarchy explicitly asserts that it is men’s right to dominate women. However men exposing weak and vulnerability is highly condemned by patriarchal norms.
It is clearly portrait by mass media and literary works that women are damsels in distress and men have to be the macho saviours. A lot of times we totally discount the fact that men too can be raped. Our pre- established notion that men are some kind of sexual predators who are always up for action stops us from believing that men too can be victims.
In fact media often usually the serious issues of men being subjected to assault as a comical instance. Which is not only wrong but also extremely gross. Maximum men don’t even come out with their assault stories in the fear of being ridiculed and consider less manly.
The nuances of patriarchy is so ingrained in each one of us that we don’t even realise the ways we ourselves promote the stereotypes. We have started considering all this as normal, though it is not.
We as a society should take a step towards gender equality. Yes patriarchy has direct impact on women, but it’s effect on men can not be discounted. We should collectively promote feminism and realise that feminism is not only about women, but it includes the entire spectrum. Equality is what we should strive for.