Feminism – the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sex .The text book definition of feminism defines us to be having equal grounds and for us to be working towards it. The only reason it emphasizes on women’s rights is because it was visibly certain that women were the ones who were bound and ill-treated. However, are things really still the same? Have we not come across new developments which question this movement? Or rather come across recent events that show men under equal amount of fire? If equality is what all feminist activists strive for, isn’t equality a privilege that should be given to either sides of this species? Why is it that when it is men’s rights, they are always ignored?
For years, it has been said that patriarchy ran the system and that it is functioning on the pillars of misogyny. But how do we believe anything when everything said against men now is just to show them equivalent to the devil without realising what their side of the story is? Men have been dealing with misandry since inception but it is seldom talked about.
In light of recent events, men’s rights have been a topic people(mostly men) have been extensively advocating for. It came into account – the harsher treatment in courts, illegal and unjust lawful decisions against them and most of all, lesser life expectancy due to various reasons.
The anti-dowry law was and is being misused against men and has become a common practice to extort and harass husbands. The law states that if a woman complaints of being treated with cruelty(pertaining to the definition in the act), the husband and his family is arrested. Also if the wife commits suicide within seven years of marriage, the husband’s family and him are considered albeit to the death. The woman can complain and the arrest takes place without a prior search or warrant. The sheer number of points of this act that can be misused are in abundance. The amount of men who are wrongfully charged guilty of dowry came out to be 9%. That is a huge number of cases when looked at in figures. This results in men losing their jobs and often ending their lives, not being able to bear the burden of shame that comes with false accusations of dowry.
It is said that mothers are the natural born care givers. This however does not state that fathers are not equally able or committed to taking care of their children. The divorce and child custody laws provide no accommodation to men in the writ. The mothers can stop the fathers from even meeting their kids and proclaim the need of police action if necessary. The custody of the child is given to the father if and only if the mother passes away, leaves the kid to him or is mentally unstable, which the court still manages to ignore as women, even unstable, are supposedly better at parenting then men, according to most court judges. Women get alimony even if they are working and are able to raise a kid of their own. The income of the woman verses the man is not taken into account at all. If feminism is all about equality, why not pay for your own kid if you are able to? Men’s rights activists say that if the woman earns more than the man, she should provide for the child and alimony should not be charged. The condition fairly looks at both sides and gives a clear solution.
Since the gruesome gang rape case in Delhi in 2013, there has been a sharp rise in the reporting of rape cases across the country. Police has been taking more and more precautionary measures to curb the number, and thankfully so. However, a study shows 54% of the reported cases being false or inconsequential. Even then, the men get arrested, repeatedly lawfully harassed and often end up losing jobs or having to pay heavy fines.
Domestic violence. Two words when spoken flash the advertised, media influenced and tailored image in our minds – a woman with bruises. So does that mean only women get beaten up? Definitely not and the statistics say so. It is so shameful for men to supposedly speak up about getting beaten up or abused that hardly anyone bats an eye about it. Domestic abuse comes in many forms from verbal to emotional, physical to sexual. Mental abuse is something that takes almost your entire life to get over and majority of the lower middle class suffer from it on a day to day basis. Indian Social Awareness and Activism Forum (INSAAF), and Confidare Research have drafted a bill which aims to protect men and boys from domestic violence from their spouse, girlfriends and parents.The central region of Madhya Pradesh has a large number of sadhus who come from married families. Almost 70% leave their married lives and walk into the path of self-inflicted hardship because they want away from the abuse that comes with being married. If there can be laws and multiple safe houses for women getting abused and harassed, why can they not be made for men?
The concept of rape culture is unisex. Hence the use of the word “culture” in the name. So why is it that it is only women who speak up? True that men get raped less than the women but that is definitely due to the fact that they are always so looked down upon whenever they try to report them. Men are often shamed for speaking up and are told to quite down. Oh the hypocrisy! The results of men reporting rape cases are grotesque. They often end their own lives for having to deal with the stigma that only women get raped. No laws or acts protect men when they report cases against them yet.
The Save Indian Family Foundation(SIFF) shows studies which results to the number of men committing suicide being more than women. Unmarried men killing self were 8178 more than women. The number of married men who committed suicide was 32680 more than married women. This and other statistics summed up show that 89129 men kill themselves verses a total of 42521, which is almost half in number. So what is going wrong in this country? The lack of resources for help and shelter for men; false accusations leading to loss of jobs and difficulty in getting new ones; increasing quota for women – deserving and undeserving, both; all these are few of the causes of increasing number of men committing suicides. Majority of the most stressful positions in functioning of multi-million companies are often men. The sheer work load also causes harm to their mental health. Men are more willing to let go of their private lives and work on their jobs, even though they are silent slow killers.
It is also seen that men are treated more harshly in jails and are sentenced for longer durations than women who committed the same crime.
Among the few men’s rights activists, there stands a women supporting their stands by the name Deepika Bhardwaj. She is an activist and documentary maker who, thankfully, believes that men face discrimination and have problems too.
There have been a few works which depict men’s plight and suffering in this misandrous society but the one documentary that catches the most eyes is a documentary called “The Red Pill” by Cassie Jaye. She is a feminist activist and film maker. She set out to interview men’s rights activists after coming across their website and ended up questioning her feminist views and ideologies and the documentary is bound to have a same effect on you. It leaves you questioning your own morals and about your behaviour with men. It shows clearly the problems men face on a day to day basis and how they it is made sure that they aren’t allowed to talk about it, quite publicly. If you are a firm believer of equality, that documentary is a must watch.
It is rightfully said that if you have an abundance of something, you stop cherishing it. It looses it’s value and tossed around like a worthless thing. This is exactly what we are doing with the men all around the globe. There are so many of them that they are constantly fed that it is okay if they die because their deaths would serve other people or that their deaths would be written in history books and they would be remembered. It tells them that their lives are worthless and that they are disposable to the needs of other people. And what’s worst is that it is done to men right from the very age they learn to talk. It is the most pathetic thing to say to a child and somehow it is considered okay since he would grow up to be a man and should toughen up. We forget that men need compassion too. It is a human need and not gender based or biased.
If men’s rights activists can listen to women’s activists’ needs and see eye to eye with them, why can that not be done for them as well? Why do we always lack when it comes to taking care of men or in the least, listening to them? In this age, when everyone can be heard and spoken to, why are they shushed at every instant they try to speak? Growing feminism has costed everyone the true meaning of it. People have forgotten what the movement actually was and why people rose for it. It is not hate speech which leads to and supports hate crime against men. If we all tried to rise from the era of misogyny, we are leading to an era of misandry.
The concept of soulmates was given by the Greeks. They said that humans were full creatures. Two sets of eyes, hands, legs. Two mouths and two noses. But Zeus thought they were too powerful to be humans so he cut them all in half. Thus came into existence man and woman. If men and women originate from the same person, why are they looked at so differently? This is a constantly evolving world and the only thing we can do to protect the rights of everyone living on this planet is to abolish the practise of gender bias. If all laws were made based on the crime committed, everyone would be prosecuted equally. If all provisions would be made gender neutral, there would certainly be less suicides. People would lead better lives if they stop looking at other people in binary, ones and zeros – man and woman, because when we don’t, everyone looks human.
This Article is Written By : Vidhi Tiwari