Man’s Man? No thanks.

So I attempted to have a nice, quiet Diwali this time. Without the crackers, you know. I’ve always considered Diwali a great festival for a lot of reasons, but the noise and smoke is not one of them. I dislike crackers with a passion, and I’d be lying if I said Eco-Friendliness is the sole reason. It’s very much personal – I simply don’t like the noise and the burnt-potash smell associated with most consumer grade pyrotechnics. Now, there are many who believe that such views are incongruous with my (perceived) identity as a twenty-one year old up-and-coming whippersnapper, including most of my relatives, some of whom had no qualms about telling me what they thought. They thought it was a girlish opinion.

I, uh, disagreed. Strongly.

I mean, really? Really, people? Why are so many people insecure about their gender identity? Why the hell is it almost compulsory to subscribe to the cheap pop sociology that tells guys they need to be unfeeling macho idiots in order to, I dunno, “earn” their place in the gung-ho male world. Why do they feel the need, the itch, to assert their “maleness” to totally random people who care to look?

News flash: If you have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome and have no issues with that state of affairs, you ARE male. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to prove it. You don’t have to shout it from rooftops. You won’t get any trophies for it. You are not entitled to any special benefits for being it. You don’t get to order people around. Others don’t get to order you around. You are entitled to emotions. You are entitled to being human. You, sir, are just another self aware organic lump with integrated support systems, cognitive thinking abilities and the potential to do as well and better than any human has done before you. Nothing more and nothing less.

Needless to say, our culture has problems with that kind of thinking. You hear the same old counter-arguments all the time. You hear the same rotten, beaten, broken, anachronistic Victorian era crabshit all around you, every freaking place you go in this broad land. The same torturous definitions of gender turn up again and again AND again, like a bad penny. It’s stupid, it’s false, and most of all, it’s time is OVER. Done and over.

Embrace yourself, for fuck’s sake. Be yourself. Be who you are. You are not a definition. You are not a labelled entity. You are a person with thoughts, emotions, dreams, ambitions, abilities, needs, desires, wants, illicit thoughts, noble thoughts, gentleness, charity, ethical systems, virtues, faults, issues, good bits and so much more. Don’t get crushed under the weight of labels churned out by little minds with little to do other than sitting around in stuffed armchairs, doling out dime-a-dozen social commentary to everyone else with nothing better to do. Screw the images hoisted upon you by TV marketing. Begone with images and labels. Be special, be one hundred percent, be YOU. Because YOU, sir are quite unique in this world.

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34 thoughts on “Man’s Man? No thanks.

  1. A very interesting post that according to me should be read by everyone. Not just men but everyone, so that people who worry about being a MAN (in behaving a certain way or making certain choices) take a break and start behaving like a normal human being.

  2. Wow, I had to pinch myself after I was done reading this.

    Could this really be written by a man and a Punjabi one at that?

    Do you get a lot of flak for your refusal to comply with unwritten codes of behavior, especially in a rigidly patriarchal community (Punjabi)?

    I do not mean to imply that other linguistic and caste-based communities are any less so, but I do think most Punjabis like to wear their chauvinism on the sleeve, at least the Punjabis I know do.

    This is a wonderfully written blog. You should have been a Creative Writing major! 🙂

    • Heh, thanks a bunch, Bad Indian Girl! Just so you know, this is probably one of the more flattering comments I’ve ever recieved, online or offline. You made my day.

      The amount of flak I recieve varies massively, depending on who I’m talking to. My parents are pretty liberal for the most part, but the rest of extended family is not. They do tend to, you know, wear the chauvinism on their sleeve, like you said.
      It can get annoying, of course, but the truth is, when you’re breaking convention here in India, being a guy helps. A LOT. Apparently, men, unlike women, are allowed to have “strong personalities”. For us guys traditional mindedness is a desirable trait, but not compulsory. Woe betide any WOMAN who breaks the code, though.
      At worst, family members see me as a sort of eccentric oddball who needs to be “Indianized” a wee bit, and I guess I can think of worse fates than that.

      Welcome to the Blog! Love your comments over at IHM’s too.

  3. You are a MAN?!!!! I am impressed. I know, I know, I was judging by stereotypes, but stereotypes exist for a reason. I can see hope for the great Indian change we are all striving for now. Good to be here, though. Came over from IHM. 🙂

    • Lol. Yeah, I know. I get that a lot, even in real life (where, far from being a set of pixels on a computer display, I’m a six feet tall, walking, talking lump of complex hydrocarbons whose gender is, uh, kinda obvious). Like I said, Victorian era crabshit gender divisions.

      The great Indian change… isn’t happening anytime soon (“cynical” is part of my username for a reason, you know). I don’t see it happening. Indian society is still decades away from even the rudiments of gender equality on a wider scale. Isolated pockets of the younger NRI/R2I types and upper middle class yuppies exist, of course, but that’s about it, so far. :/

      Welcome to the blog!

  4. I really like the title of this article and this part:
    News flash: If you have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome and have no issues with that state of affairs, you ARE male. That’s all there is to it.

    I am into thrill-rides at the amusement parks and if there is a male in our group who is scared of doing it, others use my example to put him to shame, “Look at her, she’s a girl and still trying it”.

    So much for gender stereotypes!!

    • Yeah, that “logic” irks me.

      “Look, she’s a girl and still trying it” makes absolutely no sense as an argument unless one assumes that guys should be able to do everything that girls can and more (which is a very dumb thing to assume).

      As a kid, I’ve seen my own workaholic mother managing to type out two emails to her PA on a similar ride while I and many adults near me screamed our guts out in excitement. It’s about who you are, not what your gender is.

  5. Oh I enjoy the firecrackers but haven’t burst any for years now, because I came to know that it is hell for dogs, cats and other pets and animals. And yeah, I don’t see the point of gender coming here. It is about being your self

  6. Came in here through Shail’s share. Love this…I had to re-read it just to confirm this was written by someone with an xy chromosomes.(forgive this skeptic) I dislike associating genders with any of the “Can do/Cant do” stuff. I do think its a matter of what each prefers and what rocks their boat. Like you, I leave the Gender out of it…

    • Lol. As a skeptic myself, I can absolutely understand that.

      To be honest, my views ARE a bit unusual among males, especially the ones around my age (early twenties or so). Both men and women give far too much currency to rigid gender roles, even in these days of enlightened thought and that’s sad.

  7. Superb!
    What IS indeed so simple and straight forward, the state of being a male, has degenerated into something that a huge majority seems to find the need to PROVE.
    One question that would be a logical sequel, is WHY does this need come about? I am sure you’ve done some thinking. I believe it would be pertinent to explore that line, a look forward to reading your thoughts on this.

    • Well the textbook answer, of course, is that it’s a direct result of extrapolating pre-industrial social realities and norms into the present, kind of a flip side to the “women should be gentle and submissive” line of thought. If one believes that women are weak and submissive, logic forces one to also believe that men should be strong and fearless. And from strong and fearless, it’s a slippery slope to reckless and idiotic. That’s where we lie right now, I think.

      Popular media representations do the rest.

  8. Awesome post, way to go due! Hopped on here from IHM’s blog, and glad I did! I am in my 20s and most people I come across have a sexist stance on almost everything.. It’s so refreshing and such a relief to read this coming from a guy in his 20s – tells me that some day attitudes will change!
    And yeah, I haven’t burst crackers since the last 11 years.. When I was in class 8 in school, I took an anti-cracker pledge to protest against child labor and pollution!

    • Thanks for hopping over, kinmin!

      I’m afraid THAT particular someday is still far away.
      Your experience is quite typical. A belief in gender equality continues to remain a bit of a fringe opinion in this country and many of those who do profess to hold that belief dear do not do much more than provide lip service to it. Even the lip service is important, of course, but I think we’re still years away from the beginnings of any kind of broad-based feminist movement.

      And once again, congratulations on thinking beyond yourself, and making Diwali just a little bit better for a lot of people (not to mention cats, dogs and assorted fauna).

  9. This post warms the cockles of my heart ! Its so heartening to know that people like you exist- and are not afraid at all to express their so called unconvetional views so openly ! We need more like you !
    A very very well written post – this post deserves to be read by all – am sharing it !

  10. Am sharing this amazing post ( came upon it via Ruchira Shukla). This deserves to be read and am gonna make sure all my friends do…..:-)

    Posts like this and people like you reinforce my faith in life…..

    kudos, felicitations and happy diwali 🙂

  11. *Giggle* Good one, XY. I’m sure lots of guys think about this stuff but simply don’t think it’s XY enough to blog about it. Glad to see a male blogger choosing to write about this rather than some godawful Arsenal football.

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  13. Agreed! Great post!

    My dad faced the same thing when he changed my diapers or bottle fed me when I was a kid–‘men aren’t supposed to do that!’ [1980s, Nepal]

    My fiance had to literally scream at one of his friends that he didn’t want a bachelor party and there’s no way he would spend time away from me a few days before the wedding. The friend had previously thought that there’s no way a man could feel that way until my fiance kinda yelled at him. It’s sad that this kind of gender stereotyping is widely prevalent in Indian society, even among those in the younger generation who’ve had access to the best private schools money could buy and university degrees from abroad.

    • Ack! Bachelor parties! I don’t like them either.

      I mean, I’m not one to give up any opportunity to completely chill out, but the kind of “fun” that happens in bachelor parties doesn’t really appeal to me at all.

      Like your fiancé, I’ve known plenty of men AND women who think it’s just crazy that any male might NOT enjoy bachelor parties. It’s not even an exclusively Asian thing. Sad, yes, and I’m used to it by now. :/

  14. Let me join the female bandwagon in welcoming you into Blogosphere.
    Like most others I hopped over from IHM’s blog.
    I know I am late.
    It is refreshing to see a budding engineer write the way you do.
    I am also an engineer like you but my carerer as an engineer is almost over.

    I share your views on crackers and gave them up years ago.
    Deepavali is supposed to be about lights.I wonder how noise crept in.
    I am reading all your posts one by one.
    You can look forward to my regular visits and hopefully, I will leave behind a comment each time I come here.
    I have just Subscribed to your blog.
    With Best Wishes
    G Vishwanath
    (aka GV)
    Age : 63
    Location : Bangalore

    • Well, I can only thank you for hopping over!

      I’ve liked reading your long, considered comments on IHM’s too, but I didn’t think my own blog would be engaging enough to play host to the stalwarts like you (and IHM herself). I’m honored.

  15. Pingback: RESULTS: Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards – 2011 | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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