Even though it might look like patriarchy is giving men advantages as a group, the truth is that patriarchy is harmful to men too. Patriarchy supports the idea that men should not show their emotions and it is a sign of weakness. Additionally, it promotes the idea of men fighting with one another to compete and prove themselves. In short, patriarchy robs men of their humanity on a big scale.
Discussed below are three ways in which men suffer in the hands of patriarchy.
1. No freedom to express emotions except for anger
Patriarchy removes emotional literacy from the life of a man by asking them to be physically strong and emotionally numb. According to the stereotypical notion of patriarchy, men should be expressing their emotions and similar behavior is encouraged with phrases like “you are crying like a girl”, “man don’t cry” and “man up”. However, men are not discouraged from expressing all the emotions, the only emotion that men are allowed by patriarchy is to vent their anger, which is considered masculine. This, in turn, pushes the men to behave in an emotionally numb and indifferent manner which results in a lot of suppressed emotions.
2. It limits their career and clothing choice
Patriarchy creates societal pressure on the type of jobs that men can do and cannot do. For instance, men are accepted in the job of being restaurant owners but not as a cook. Further, there is an exceptionally high pressure on men to draw a monthly salary that is equivalent to the winning sum of Lottery Sambad or Manipur Lottery. Similarly, the job of a school teacher works fine for females as it allows them the time to do both their office work while managing the household work but it is not something that is encouraged for males. However, a man might look good in the position of a principal. Also, when it comes to clothing choice, even if a man wants to wear pink, he cannot wear it without being ridiculed by a certain section of society.
3. Violence against men is taken as a job
Patriarchy supports the idea that men need to dominate women and if a situation arises, where vice-versa happens, the victim, the man, in this case, is ridiculed or not taken seriously. Perhaps, this is the reason why men being raped does not get enough limelight. Sadly, men being raped is not even considered rape and people find it natural to laugh about such a thing.
Patriarchy, in short, supports toxic masculinity which is harmful to all the gender including men. There is no argument about the fact that patriarchy benefits a certain section of men, but it needs to be remembered that it is suffocating a certain section of men because patriarchy supports rigid gender norms for all genders. This can result in poor mental health for all too.
How Patriarchy Can Be Fixed?
Patriarchy cannot be fixed, it needs to be eliminated because the entire idea on which patriarchy runs is wrong. The very first thing that needs to be done is to acquire knowledge to free oneself from what one is conditioned to believe. Knowledge is power when it comes to changing your conditioning to move in the right path. Secondly, simply gaining knowledge is not enough, one needs to work towards creating awareness in their societal and immediate circle about the same. Found someone cracking a sexist joke? Point it out and tell them why there is nothing funny about it.
Also, one can try to eliminate patriarchy by giving the right moral values to the young boys by allowing them to pursue a career in whichever field they want to, without any judgment. Allow them to wear a color that is considered feminine if they want to and further, allows them to express themselves. One should also be mindful about the type of content that one is consuming because what you consume is what you become.
In addition to teaching the young kids about feminism, it is also important to educate the older generation the same to ensure that they do not go around pushing their patriarchal ideas in the mind of the young people. It can further help one to remove the burden of patriarchal expectation from the present generation too.