The “other” sexism

I say all the ‘right’ things about women’s rights and I am Batman – they should be treated as equal partners, not as minors who always need permission or protection from a male. They should be able to pursue any career or life they choose. They have the right to expect domestic help from their partners, that they don’t have to work all day outside and then do all traditional house chores alone. Telling them they should or shouldn’t do this or that because of their biology, hormones etc is just plain stupid. That women shouldn’t be judged on their physical attributes like weight and looks, but on their brain, personality, and character. That they have the right to earn the same amount of money for same work as men do. All girls love it when I say all this stuff.

But then I ask – should men be expected to be the sole breadwinner because of their Y chromosome? Can they be allowed to work part-time because they really want to spend more time with their young children? Does anyone ask men are they happy working their ass off supporting a family and missing out on family time? Can they pursue their passion of working as an artist or a photographer where they don’t have a fixed monthly salary, don’t earn enough money to support a family on a single income, but with their spouse’s added income the family will be alright? Will you marry them if they don’t have the traditional, stable monthly income of an engineer or a banker? Can men expect working women to share dating expenses when they aren’t married/don’t have a single bank account? Can men expect not to be judged on their physical attributes like height and looks? When I ask this amongst a lot of females, I suddenly go from being Batman to Bane because men can’t/aren’t supposed to do X/Y/X because of their biology/hormones/emotions or because the gender roles and expectations are set in their respective traditions and cultures.

Society (and men) has created unrealistic expectations of women that has been harmful to young girls. They have to act, behave, dress, talk in a certain way to desirable and to be wanted. Men want a tigress at certain situations, and a lamb in other situations. A woman who never lived her life before marriage, but should know how to fulfill her husband’s fantasies after marriage. And of course it is all wrong and unfair.

Yet what about the expectations of men? They are to be strong but not dominating. They are to be sensitive but not emotional. They must be suave and charming, but not a player who has practiced a lot to hone the skills that are so dearly desired. But no one wonders how all this might confuse men and affect their self-esteem.

I don’t get human beings. Every single group on Earth faces discrimination at some place or situation, yet every single group on Earth discriminates when its beneficial to them. I don’t get the psychology of human beings. Of course, not all men nor women are like what I described above. Today we are having a lot of conversations about women’s rights and roles. But we must not forget about men either. Not all men enjoy the “male privilege”, not all women are victims, and men are also victims of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse at the hands of their female partners. The conversation should be about a fair, equal, and better world for both genders.

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