Why aren’t men angry?

I can’t tell you anything new about how half our population would become an invaluable resource if we were unfettered by conditioning and conventional ‘womanly roles’ as well as the violence that is necessary to keep us ‘in check.’

But perhaps some of us still have the patience to hear why this is so necessary for men.

My brother and I were home alone by ourselves for about a week, and by the end of the week, we started a furious clean-up before the parents returned. He’s the kind that unquestioningly shares these tasks with me equally.

At some point, as I was standing with my knees on the wet floor, hands deep in dirty water, I saw him trying to sweep a different part of the house, as he inadvertently ended up dirtying the bedspreads. We burst out in a fit of laughter at the craziness of the situation – the two of us not being able to manage the task of one – at which point he remarked, “I clearly can’t keep up with more than one task at once.” I responded to him, alluding to how women tend to be better at multitasking, that yeah, it apparently has to do with male biology. And laughed heartily at his shortcomings.

He was quick to respond, with a sly grin, “At least I’m aware of my own limitations.” I chided him “Ooooh! Mr. Emancipated Man!” Followed by guffaws of laughter from us both.

I told him later that I wasn’t kidding. Nor did I mean my last remark negatively. Having him around, a male sibling who knows what he is and isn’t capable of, will listen and find the best solution before dividing up tasks, and feels no hesitation in asking for help, is a blessing. I asked him about this once, whether this pattern of behaviour put too much pressure on him, and the question honestly puzzled him. He doesn’t know any other way to be.

There’s a fabulous TED talk by Tony Porter along these lines, also embedded below – which I suggest everyone watch. He explains from his own experience, how we must lose the chains of what we normally call ‘manhood’; one of its essential elements being the subjugation of women. According to him, it is a box that keeps men confined in certain patterns of behaviour that stop them from being all that they can be.

He says of women’s liberation, “My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.”

The point he makes cannot be stressed enough. The convention that deprives women of the right to be respected requires that men not be respectful beings – they are two sides of the same coin. It demands that men derive happiness from domination and subjugation. It stops them from learning, as learning demands that we be open, vulnerable and free.

What perverted idea of manhood is this, where you are deprived of the right to learn?

I’m angry as a woman because these patterns affect my freedom. But if I were a man, I’d be furious.

I’d be furious at being deprived of my right to learn.

Before you watch the compelling talk below, I leave you with this question: why aren’t men angry?

It certainly baffles me.

This post is my contribution to the MustBol Men Say No Blogathon, part of 16 days of activism against gender violence.

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2 thoughts on “Why aren’t men angry?

  1. Finished listening to the TED talk just now.

    Honestly, I am tired of hearing how patriarchy victimises men too. While I applaud Tony Porter for having the courage to talk about his dastardly behavior, I cannot condone his refusal to prevent a mentally challenged girl from being raped.

    Yes, he was 12, and yes, he wanted the approval of his peer group. That’s always the reason for male violence, isn’t it?

    Most men desperately seek approval from other men and are willing to do anything to secure it.

    Men are supposed to be brave, strong courageous.

    1)Well where’s the courage in beating up women who are usually physically weaker than you?
    2)Where is the courage in raping a defenceless person and then glorying in it?
    3)Where is the courage in exploiting, objectifying and humiliating somebody who is more vulnerable and has less social power than you?

    We women have been giving men the benefit of the doubt for centuries. I think we do not wish to acknowledge just how much they despise us.

    Here is what men are capable of:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/14-year-old-girl-raped-set-ablaze-in-Nashik/videoshow/9820523.cms

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/16-year-old-gangraped-in-Delhi/videoshow/9165401.cms

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/Bihar-Woman-beaten-with-hot-iron-rod-raped/videoshow/9906913.cms

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/woman-raped-at-gunpoint-in-kolkata/videoshow/11901729.cms

    When women read news reports like this, we say to ourselves, “Well, not all men are such brutes.”

    We try to absolve men of the responsibility and say it is an INDIVIDUAL man’s crime.

    The truth is that when one man rapes a woman, the entire male sex tacitly participates in it, by refusing to acknowledge that ALL men are taught to view women as objects, ALL men are taught that women are playthings and ALL men are taught that it is macho to disrespect a woman.

    In reality, men are not really strong, brave or courageous. They are insecure, weak and cowardly. Only insecure people feel the need to disrespect others to feel superior.

    But, men do this all the time. They insult women and say derogatory things, and other men look on approvingly.

    Where is the bravery; where is the nobility in such actions?

    Men close ranks and protect their own and we women make allowances and try to explain inexcusable male behavior.

    I am tired of trying to understand why men behave badly. All my life, I have been told that men are not responsible for their own bad behavior. That they cannot help it.

    Well, then they should be locked away in cages or put away in institutions. We institutionalise the criminally insane, we lock up murderers and car theives.
    Why do we look at sex crimes differently?

    Sexual crimes are seen to be less heinous because women are the overwhelming victims. As long as it does not directly affect them, most men could not care less.

    The day men become targets for rape and sexual abuse at the same scale as women, will be the day when the world’s men will finally do something about it.

    Untill then, we will continue to hear that “men have biological needs” and that “they are brave and strong”.

    Brave and strong my ass. Weak, immature and cowardly describe them better.

  2. Dan Husain says:

    Dear Bad Indian Woman:

    The violence against women has reached such frustrating proportion that any outburst against it, or why just outburst, any deterring action against it, any punishment for it, is completely justified. And unfortunately, the visual culture that technology and media is perpetrating is only worsening the violence.

    However, to bash a 12 year old Mr. Porter, though his connivance in that moment is unpardonable, for that heinous incident now is irrelevant. What is commendable is what Mr. Porter did post that incident with his life. Deep seated prejudices, attitudes, biases do not leave us with one epiphanic moment. We need to hear repeatedly from women as to what works for them and what is acceptable to them. Even the most liberated men may be in for a surprise when they hear a woman’s “acceptable” checklist. So, it is important that we get more women to talk about gender violence and how they perceive it’s elimination. We also need to encourage men who’ve broken or are willing to break the male stereotype. Your thoughts on the same would be invaluable, and would only help us be more sensitive towards women.

    Thank you.

    Dear Amruta:

    Thank you for this note. Indeed it is a blessing to have a sibling of the opposite gender. And thank you for sharing Tony Porter’s talk. Yes, our liberation lies in women’s liberation. And indeed it is baffling that men are not angry enough at their own stunted existence.

    Warm regards,

    D

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