Thursday, August 8, 2013

Men are not the worse half

“I can’t stand men,” declared my friend Sunita, “they are boorish, autocratic and selfish. They think the world is meant for them and we women are mere slaves. I’ll never go anywhere near a man.”
Poor Sunita. I pity her. She is missing out on one of the most interesting relationships – that of man/ woman. I wonder what has soured her so much!
But Sunita is not the only one to vehemently damn the male species. It has become a fashion to
 ‘ lash out’ at men and call them names and if possible hang them. Thank God I’m not a man.
The Devil is not at all that black though! Men have certainly jeopardised their chances of being worshipped as they’ve posed too long as demi-gods. Backed by certain religious and social sanctions, they had pushed the woman into a corner. But that’s history. Today, the Indian male has come almost as far as the woman and his thinking has considerably altered vis-a-vis her role in life.
More than anything, economic pressures have changed the Indian male’s attitude. Many husbands, who initially dissuaded their wives from working, are now not only encouraging them to take up jobs but also sharing in household chores. They are no more posing as lords and masters but willingly standing in as babysitters or cooks. I know many husbands who start work after the wife leaves for her, hence take over cooking lunch and packing children off to school/ they also help in shopping and other outdoor activities.
Granted there are still many men who make their wife’s life miserable. But there are an equal number of women who are intolerable and drive their husbands insane, yet, no word is breathed against such women as they have this mythical aura of the ‘hounded’, protecting them. Women have this habit of publicising their woes, confiding in other women, and generally broadcasting their suffering. Men, on the other hand find solace in a brothel or a bar, and get branded as ‘licentious’ in the bargain.
What we are forgetting is that human nature is the same, whether man or woman. There will be exploitation or oppression as long as there is a weak person and a strong person. It’s entirely up to the man or woman to stand up for his or her rights. But what is this right, which is in question? Women are now classifying their charter of rights and duties and that’s where the conflict arises. This charter is not a universal one – each couple will have to chalk out one according to individual needs.
What we need to do is bury the hatchet and stop looking at men as adversaries in the battle of life. An innocent request for a cup of tea cannot be construed as a chauvinistic demand. Centuries of social conditioning have perhaps ingrained certain traits in both men and women. It can only be sorted out across the table amicably. We have enough threats from a possible nuclear war or a ‘star war’/ should we add to the tension with a sex war?