The Synopsis of Ideal Male virility
by Shreya Purdhani
With the establishment of society, came the inception of ideal behaviour of then recognised and accepted genders, male and female. While man was termed as the Alpha expected to be dependable, assertive and confident, a woman on the other hand was desired to be timid, enchanting and frail. These ideas laid the foundation of human behavioural norms and people not conforming to them were considered bizarre. Now the question is, are these age old practices still prevalent in the world which has abundantly progressed in every aspect? Let us find out.
It is pretty evident that we have been living in a patriarchal world, a male dominant society and no matter how adamantly we state that we have effectuated a world without gender inequality, we all would, low-key, agree that women are the supressed section of the society. We live in a world that starves gender equality where people actively participate in gender activism, however the fact that gender inequality prevails due to people’s inability to defy the acceptable norms of the society is concerning, there are several renowned personalities who got frowned upon for bringing light to the topic of men not being assertive, being sensitive and graceful. In order to bring equal representation there have been several movements, revolts and activism but amidst all of this we’ve very conveniently ignored the other half. Due to age old practice of dominance shown by men, even young boys are expected to behave in a particular way and are made fun of, if they don’t. The society has brought us up in a way that the mere thought of men wearing skirts, being expressive and applying makeup is peculiar. We’ve been taught that the colour blue indicates male and pink female, boys being taught to play with toy motor bikes and girls given Barbie dolls and kitchen sets, these little things since childhood influence the behaviour of children. Movies play a major role in influencing the lives of people. Children are shown cartoon movies at a very young age where usually a damsel in distress is rescued by her prince charming giving out a message that boys are supposed to be the strong protectors of not so strong other half of the population. This indicates how an ideal man is supposed to stay out of any sort of distress while being saviour of others.
Boys get bullied and tormented by their own peer group for being sensitive and liking other artefacts that are supposedly correlated with girls; they are often called names and termed as queer. According to the journal, Evolutionary Psychological Science, victims of bullying are more likely to be sexually inactive compared to bullies. Bullying leads to emotional distress and hinders mental health of a child at a young age. Lack of education and age of mentality of parents encourages a child to bully others who they think aren’t fit. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who did not go to school at least one day during the 30 days preceding the survey due to safety concerns ranged from 11% to 30% for gay and lesbian students and 12% to 25% for bisexual students.
While talking about ideal male virility, I could not help but recall the story of a smelly skunk where the skunk tried so hard to fit in with his other animal friends but constantly got rejected, ending up begging a wish granting wizard to make him get rid of his original odour. Here the proverbial skunk is the person who faces the bitterness of the ‘society in disguise’-the animal friends and gives up on his originality just to be accepted. It is conventional for us to see a woman weep and express her grief, but as soon as a man does the same, the society asks him to “man up”, but I fail to understand what exactly acting like a man means. Is not expressing any emotion and keeping everything bottled up in your little self-human sacks till you finally break down manly enough or is it being physically dominant to express your every need? A rhetorical question I ask myself every day, I guess I’ll never know!***