Do men have it easier? From not having to experience the excruciating pain of periods and childbirth to given more opportunities because of their gender, it is a common belief that men have it easier than women. Well, for starters, they can drive around the city at late nights without having so much to fear as women do, and put themselves out on the internet publicly without the fear of their pictures being misused or their personal messages getting flooded with creepy, sexual comments from random strangers.
Patriarchy has existed for long enough and a son is still considered to be the pride of the family and looked up to as someone who would take the name of the family ahead. Living in such a society has ingrained in our minds the idea of all men having access to better opportunities, getting things easier and handier.
The question is ‘Do men have it easier?’ Not just women, even some men believe that yes, it’s always easier for a man.
Is it easy for men?
While we do not blatantly shut out our eyes to the male privilege that is clearly visible, we also agree with the fact that this privilege doesn’t exist in a lot of situations and it shouldn’t be thrown at men’s faces claiming that they always get everything easier.
Well, a double-edged sword cuts both ways. If men do have privilege in certain cases, there are times the same privilege turns out to be negative, frustrating, and self-loathing for them. Man hating is really common today. It takes a single bad experience for a person to shout out to the world that they hate all men.
While it is true that people go through awful and horrifying incidents sometimes, and it is natural for them to become repulsive to the entire gender at large, but on the other hand, when a man says that he hates all women, we do not believe it is taken up in such a welcoming way. With the glorifying rise of social media in the world today, such incidents of casual man-hating have become all the more common. The answer to the question ‘Do men have it easier?’ cannot be decided just based on the situational advantages that they have been experienced in the past years.
Misogyny is one of the most serious problems that exist, but you are simply insensitive if you ward off men’s problems as “Women go through a lot more than men do, and we have to speak up on women’s issues first”. Misandry does exist, and we cannot be and should not be ignorant of this fact.
Myths about men
Let us talk about a few things we feel are important to discuss before any reader concludes whether it is really easy for men.
1. Does ‘innocent until proven guilty’ only exist in theory?
It is true for almost every gender that they are subjected to strong castigation, or even boycott, at the mere conjecture of having done something wrong, all thanks to our judgmental society. However, you cannot disagree with the fact that this castigation gets enhanced by multitudes when it comes to men. Accused of rape? demanding dowry? domestic violence? Eve teasing?
Well, a man is accused implies he is guilty, doesn’t matter if he is acquitted later. Men are presumed to be guilty in almost all cases, their image is ruined and character lost.
2. “Men are trash”
Go to Twitter, search the phrase ‘men are trash’, and you can find n number of people ranging from teens to older women, having tweeted something or the other about it. While the phrase reeks of hate towards the gender, the popular reply of ‘not all men are trash’ is just equally wrong. Power dynamics do exist in society. Men also have problems that they face doesn’t imply that they haven’t been the more powerful gender through all these years.
It is better to understand why a woman is saying all men are trash and try to deal with the problem.
3. Having it easier also depends on a person’s individual background
A young boy who is beaten up by his family because he isn’t as academically bright as they wanted him to be, or because he loves art and dance more than business and outdoor work, doesn’t have it easy. Generalization of anything isn’t good. Men too come from abusive backgrounds sometimes, from places where they didn’t receive love and affection, from families where they were expected to be manly.
Instead of hating them for who they are, let us give them the love and respect they have missed out on.
4. Men can’t display their vulnerability
Men are socially designed to be emotionally perfect, not showing any vulnerability, not crying, because crying is a feminine character. If they do so, they are somehow considered to be weaker or lesser in status and are asked to act and be strong and masculine. Studies show that men who display their sadness publically (i.e. who cannot hide it under the veil of being strong) are believed to be less deserving of that emotion as compared to men. Such gender biases must come to an end, for all genders.
So, do men have it easier?
We leave it up to you to answer whether men have it easier or not. And while we do appreciate whatever your answer to the question be, we also believe that it is about time we understand that gender equality works both ways, and while it might be okay to keep the long-oppressed victims of social standards at the forefront, it is not okay to trivialize issues of the other. Any shift or imbalance in power dynamics is not what we need, a balance between the genders, equal opportunities to all is the need of the hour.
Let us be collectively broader in understandings of gender stereotypes and let us educate others on the same. Let us start appreciating people for who they are, rather than inflicting hatred on them for what you believe they are. Let us widen our ambit of masculinity and let us not reproach men who do not conform to our societal standards. Let people be who they wanna be.
Live and let live, maybe?