About Rituparno Ghosh’s passing away last week, someone I know joked about how she sent a condolence message to a ‘pansy’ friend she had. She thought it was apt that all ‘pansy’ men feel sorry for Ghosh. I however think we should all just stand around and feel sorry for ourselves, for patriarchy.
Before you jump at me for blaming everything on patriarchy because I am erm..you know.. feminist, here‘s a very interesting piece on what patriarchy has done to masculinity and how feminism can help change it. Read it, you won’t regret it.
Teachers of children see gender equality mostly in terms of ensuring that girls get to have the same privileges and rights as boys within the existing social structure; they do not see it in terms of granting boys the same rights as girls — for instance, the right to choose not to engage in aggressive or violent play, the right to play with dolls, to play dress up, to wear costumes of either gender, the right to choose.
A part of this is perhaps what men’s rights activists/ masculinists perhaps take up. I cannot imagine my son being asked to man up if he gets bullied in school, while it will be okay for my daughter to make noise about it. If my daughter dresses in boy’s clothes she is a tomboy and if my son dresses in frocks, he is gay or worse sissy. In creating a feminist ideal, what we should not create is a world of matriarchy but a world of equality.
And a crucial piece of dismantling patriarchy involves dismantling not only misogynistic conceptions of womanhood but also misogynistic conceptions of manhood.