This young man I knew said he resented the luxury of ‘choice’ that women had. He loved cooking and he claimed he would have kept a great home and made a great stay-at-home-dad. He did not want a career.
Social stereotypes take away our choice to do what makes us happier and more satisfied... perhaps also content and hence better people. Creativity and talent also thrive when we are not fighting our natural abilities, just to confirm.
So when non confirming women entered the so called male bastions, men also got the opportunity to barge into fields like fashion designing, modeling, dancing, music and cooking. And much maligned beauty.
Little boys have always been obsessed with their hair and their muscles and hats and helmets, and their dad’s belts, shoes, sun glasses and after shaves. Yet one hears of the metrosexual man (e.g. David Beckham and Shahrukh Khan) being put down by those who believe he’s not macho… Maybe there is some envy in this? But the metrosexual man like most non conformists doesn’t care. He makes his own rules. He makes his own breakfast in his fancy, squeaky clean kitchen, if he wants to. He will wear pink if he likes pink. I guess he is happier.
Now come to think of it, why should men not wear pink? Traditionally, anyway, India did not have much gender-bias when it came to colours. Krishna is known to have loved a bright yellow. Pink turbans are as common as brilliant blue and outrageous orange.
Unlike in the West, Indian men were always free to show emotion, though they were not really free to shed tears the way women could. An unnecessary taboo. Because if crying was a sign of weakness, most women would be weak. We know they aren’t, not really. Vulnerable? Yes. Lacking in courage? I don’t think so. Courage has no gender. Yet sometimes we expect little boys to be born Bollywood heroes.
When we were young, my brother and I were terrified of the dark, of most insects, of reptiles and of ghost stories. I was reassured and comforted. He was criticized and lectured.
How was saying “Don’t be a girl!” going to help a child get over normal childhood fears? I was afraid of the same things but I once looked up paryayavachi (synonyms) for coward to tease him.
Years later, when my son was four, he was playing alone in his room, and he started shrieking hysterically. After many reassuring hugs he pointed at a dead bee on the bed.
I called my brother. He did remember my list.
Individual liberty lets you be you. It’s a only antidote for the unfairness of stereotypes. So are men in Pink :)