Masculinities and femininities

So recently there was a discussion on chastity and morality of women on Feminism in India (Facebook page/group). They had put up a picture that said “nobody’s dick is so important to change any part of my identity”. Utmost importance is given to a girl’s virginity and “purity”, which is why it is better for a rape victim to die instead of being a survivor, especially in India. The Delhi rape case in 2012 ((in)famously known as the Nirbhaya rape case) was a slap on feminist movement in India because the middle classes were mobilised to protest not because she was raped but because she fought her rapsist so hard that she was “a Zinda lash” (a “living dead body” Sushma Swaraj’s words which were supposed to compliment Nirbhaya’s valiant efforts to save her dignity and honour). Compare this with a Rameeza Bee, or Mathura who fought so hard for justice, and no one talks about them. They aren’t the standards we want to match. 

I am not belittling Nirbhaya. She was a braveheart and it was because of her that the middle classes finally moved out of their cosy homes to figh for a girl’s right to loiter on streets (with company of her choice). It worked out perfectly fine for their sensibilities that she died and the guy was also beaten black and blue. She didn’t die as a rape victim but as a goddess so pure that she chose death instead of her life. When feminists across the country advised young women not to fight rapists who are violent, they were called impure women, whores, and what not. Everything boils down to a girl’s purity. How many times have we not heard people say, it doesn’t matter what a girl’s qualifications are, if her character is “bad”? And what they mean by character is not her personal integrity, honesty, and the principles she has in life but her in tact virginity. Girls who have friends who happen to be boys are a shame to our society and apparently this is all because of western culture. I find it extremely distasteful that parents who protect their girl’s character by restricting her movements think it’s perfectly okay for her to sleep to with a near stranger on their wedding night.

This is the context in which that statement was made. How can one’s identity revolve around her hymen?  Isn’t being a virgin a person’s individual choice? 

A guy promptly replies why the post reads only about women and that noone’s sexual organs are important enough to change anyone’s identity. On a feminist forum, on a post that is about women and their purity, a guy thinks “men too” is important. Excuse me? Are you kidding? 

It’s a compliment for a man if he is not a virgin. After all, being labelled a playboy is an amazing identity marker but being a slut isn’t. Clearly you don’t have the same standards for men and women. 

Unfortunately for men, doubts arise if they are virgins. I mean no man worth his salt should remain a virgin, unless he is on the spiritual path.

I just attended a UNICEF-NIRD led consultation on Social norms enabled transformation. Most stakeholders spoke of these very social norms and one interesting bit was about who carries the onus of lack of kids in a marriage. And more often than not, it is the woman who is held responsible for it. Not the man, because every man is fertile– he can perform. Here fertility is confused with potential to perform. 
So, anyway, I wish people would stop saying men too for everything. The men too bit is everywhere on every forum, every post that is about the welfare of women, right from menarche (their early onset and ensuing problems) to female foeticide, to abuse, some MRAs come up with men too. From when have men started menstruating? Or from when have women become the abusers? Or from when have people started killing male babies in the womb? Some people even go as far as putting raw rice grains in a girl baby’s mouth and wait for her to choke and die. In a country where girls are a burden, and characterless girls as good as dead, men think it’s ok to say not all men and men too. Urgh! 

An exception is not the rule. Please remember. I hope the masculine rationality can digest the logic? 

I said this on the forum, I say it again, we don’t mind discussing hegemonic masculinity or toxic gender stereotypes (yes, including the unholy standards men in the country are expected to live up to, like men should earn enough money for the family, he is useless if he doesn’t, he is not a man if he cries.. Yes, all of that) as an issue on its own. We even empathise with men on such issues, but you cannot bring up men too every damn where when men across the world are usually the abusers. I know not all men. But there are enough men who are like that. This is not to say women don’t abuse. They do. We know that. A mom beating her child is just as shameful. And I have discussed this elsewhere on the blog. But MRAs, men too doesn’t work everywhere. 


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