I know what you are thinking (keeping true the ridiculous myth of what psychologist can do). You are thinking of Amitabh Bachchan on his horse fighting all those villains. This dialogue was definitely met with applause by most men and eye rolls by most women.
The almost instantaneous reaction to this statement is what do men know about pain when they can never experience labour pain. True but they have to endure women go on and on about labour pain and that must be painful enough!!
The basic requirement of a psychologist is the ability to empathise. To put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their point of view. So here is me trying on those ridiculous socks and shoes of the men around me and feel their pain.
So what pain do men go through (apart from wearing shoes and socks the whole day even in the summers 😉 )? I think their primary pain is the pain of being misunderstood. Talking about women issues has become equivalent to abusing men either directly or indirectly. In our bargain of fighting for women’s rights we forgot that it is unfair on men to label them as wrong doers all the time.
Let us look at the statement “Women in short clothes will get raped”. Boils my blood not only because it is offensive to women but isn’t it offensive to men as well? Men are not creatures with no sense of control or logic. They are not untrained savages that are not responsible for their actions. This statement is as unfair to them as it is to women.
Talk about marriage and we have our swords pointing to the throats of our husbands. Dig deeper and most women will tell you that their main problem is not the husband but the mother in law (either her or his)!!
Actually if we honestly look around our society the main enemy of the woman is not the man but other women. From frowning at short clothes, to judging someone because of choice of fun or restricting independence, women are perhaps more likely to all of the above.
We talk about how girls face discrimination since childhood. I believe it is true about boys too. There was a small boy of five years crying after falling off his bicycle. What was his mother’s way of consoling him? You are a boy don’t cry like a girl. Poor kid! Imagine not being allowed to express his pain. Tearing up in response to pain is a natural biological response. Why are the little boys expected to have control over it? And how else do you express pain then? by screaming or kicking the offending ground or punching someone? How do you expect this little boy to grow up to be a sensitive husband and understand why his wife is tearful during her periods? Are we not being unfair?
There is this universal belief that girls are more sincere than boys. A guest in my house with two adorable boys saw my daughter helping me around the house. “You are so lucky to have a girl, boys are of no use. They don’t even keep their school bags after coming home.” And whose fault is that? My daughter did not learn helping me in the womb. She was taught to do it. I would have done the same with the son if I had one. Or do you mean to say that the male species of humans is not trainable?
A male child who hears day in and day out that boys are insincere, careless, unhelpful will suddenly by the swish of a magic wand will become caring helpful husbands who put the wet towel in the laundry bag?
All of us talk about the importance of girl education. We talk about reserving seats in colleges for girls, free education for the girl child and financial aid for them. All excellent and very important steps after all an educated woman is the key to a stable society. Both men and women should have equal opportunities after all. Just one question though are we as accepting of a man without a job as we are to a woman without one? You will willingly get your son married to a girl with no job but will you allow your daughter to marry a man without one? So are the opportunities really equal?
We talk with pride of a girl who is a tomboy but we would ridicule an effeminate man.
Ask any mental health professional and they will tell you that over involvement and excess pampering are as bad as ignorance and ridicule. We teach our boys to be dependent on us. We teach them that women are weak. We teach them that they are superior. We make them feel that doing small household work is a favour to the wife. And then one fine day we expect them to be loving, sensitive and helpful.
Let us be fair to our men. Let us teach our boys that it is alright to feel pain. It is alright to cry and it is alright to gossip.
If we want an equal society let us accept that mard ko bhi dard hota hai!!!