QuoraED! This is when we pick up a trending or interesting thread from Quora and spin a story around it.
Men are often at the giving end of sexism, with them belittling, repressing, mocking women and generally giving evidence that the road to equality is still a long and obstacle-filled one.
There are several instances of men being involved in some form or another of sexism, sometimes it is intentional and some times, which is slightly more concerning, are those times when the man does not even realise his sexism.
However, it would also be a little strange to think that only and only women experience sexism. It has been long the society’s way to simply brush off the wrong things that happen with men with abuse, rape, and more being dismissed as not being as severe as a woman’s.
Some even say that a man cannot be raped, which is just not true, rape is rape, it can happen to anyone.
On this line of thought, I stumbled upon an interesting Quora thread that deals with the question, What are some common forms of sexism that men face?
And the answers within it, might surprise you a bit.
#1. I’m A Feminist, But The Man Should Be A Man
Abhishek Kumar, working at Microsoft, gave this answer on the thread that shows not just sexism against men, but also confusion some women have with being a feminist but also adhering to societal concepts of what is acceptable.
I have a female friend, aged 26.
She is being forced by her parents to meet some guys and get married.
We had this conversation at a coffee table:
She : Oh! my parents. They want me to get married.
Me : Ya..this happens in India with every girl who turns 25
She : Why girls? You are of my age. Are your parents forcing you for marriage?
Me : No. Not yet. I think they will do in a couple of years
She: Exactly. I too want to get married after a couple of years. I have some career plans, want to travel like you and do lot of things before I get married.
Me : That’s nice. Try convincing your parents once.
She : I can’t understand my parents! They are so orthodox. I mean..we all talk about gender equality..and this is how our previous generation thinks! Kuch nahi ho sakta is desh ka (Nothing good can happen in this country). You boys have all the privilege. I hate this system.
Me : Hmm..anyway did you like the last guy you met?
She : No.
Me : Why?
She : (Chuckles) Utna to main kamaati hoon. (I earn almost equal). The guy I will marry should earn more than me and should be more intelligent. In the end, these are basic requirements.
Me : Oh…I thought we were talking about equality!
End of conversation.
#2. Ekela Aadmi = Suspicion
Quoran Shraiya Malik, left this personal answer on the thread about how these days, a single man is constantly looked at with suspicion and an air of danger.
The suspicion that comes attached with being a single man in this society.
A few days back I was out for a movie with my friend. A little pretext, it was a good movie hall in a good area and we were sitting on really good (see expensive) seats.
The row we were sitting in had 6 seats, we occupied two, the middle two were empty and there was a couple seated in the other corner in a way that the girl sat next to the empty seats. In came a gentleman, well dressed, with popcorn and an iphone 6 in his hands and sat down on the empty seat next to the girl.
The man looked decent enough, but alas, he was alone. The moment he sat down, that couple on his right shared a look and exchanged seats among themselves in a split second. The man obviously looked a little hurt and shocked.
As if being alone somehow makes him a rapist, as if he needs a female with him to get some kind of a social security clearance. The guy I was with was flabbergasted by this too, even more after I reminded him that this could have happened with him if I wasn’t there.
I see this kind of sexism in little things everyday. Women avoid single men at bus stops, railway stations, in shops, in queues, everywhere. If a single man offers you his seat in metro, he is looked upon with suspicion. If a single man smiles at you, your defenses go up. And lord help him if he tries to strike up a conversation.
One time, a male friend of mine tried to help a girl who fell down from her scooter in front of him, she wasn’t hurt but still he wanted to make sure. He had just started to ask her if she was okay when the girl got really scared and shouted at him to go away. Would she have done so if he was not a man?
While this may not seem that big of a deal, it is.
Think of it this way, you’re a girl and you see two seats in front of you, one is next to a couple and the other is next to a single man. Where would you sit? In today’s society, us girls are tuned in a way that most of us would sit besides the couple.
We tend to associate a suspicion, a risk factor with a man who is by himself, no matter how decent he looks. No I’m in no way implying that this, as girls, is our fault. It’s not. In today’s times, we cannot let our guard down, one cannot ignore one’s own safety just to be nice. But yes, being overly suspicious of everyone around you is helping no one.
EDIT: Everyone who’s been feeling I’m a snob needs to relax a bit. I am in no way implying that if a guy has got an iphone or is rich he’s better than people who don’t have those luxuries. I just mentioned those details to give a better idea about the man, I just meant that he didn’t “look like a threat” in any way, he looked like a decent person.
Read More: QuoraED: Why Don’t Indians In Foreign Countries Return To India?
#3. Stay At Home Dad
Another Quoran Seth Uttley, who is apparently a stay-at-home dad, recounted his own experience with sexism just because he does not have a common 9 to 5 office job. It truly highlights how men too have their own battles to face.
I’m a stay at home dad. It was a practical decision that my wife and I made together. I was a musician who started working toward writing and held odd jobs to pay the bills, she got a degree on IT and has a job with benefits. So her income was more stable and I’m, generally, the more patient and intellectual one in the relationship. I’m an emotionally supportive person and it doesn’t exhaust me in the same way it does her to deal with highly emotional children all day. So it all seemed logical and pragmatic to us.
My children both have mild developmental delays so we got them into therapy programs early to mitigate any long term disadvantages that may be caused by these delays. Even though I’m listed as the person to call for my children’s appointment changes, or anything else of that sort, almost everyone calls my wife first.
She has to act as a middle man on a regular basis and no matter how often she tells them to make sure I’m the primary number on the account, and to call me, they call her. Mothers usually try to sit as far from me as possible in the waiting rooms at therapy. I often go out to the truck and listen to NPR because they’ll talk to each other but I feel like my presence is making them uncomfortable.
I get asked by women if I’m babysitting on a regular basis. Men tell my wife I’m a deadbeat and try to convince her to leave me for a “real man” who’ll take care of her (of course they almost always mean themselves). I get weird looks at the grocery store on a pretty constant basis. Women will stop and talk to my kids and wave at them but if I do the same many mothers will shield their children from me.
It’s really hard to find groups for stay at home parents when you’re a man, at least in Houston it is. Many groups are all women and they don’t really talk to me while my kids play. I sit silently while my children play with theirs. I did find a group that was more inclusive and it was apparently shocking for them to find out that I’m not just some stereotype incarnate.
I was at a birthday party for a 4 year old a few weeks ago (my oldest son is 4 as well) and a child fell down and got hurt. His mom wasn’t around but we’d been talking earlier and her son kept asking me questions so I knew he responded well to me.
Since his mom wasn’t around and none of the other parents were responding I went and scooped the kid up and carried him toward the house where I knew his mom to be. She thanked me for soaking myself (it was a pool party) for her son but all the other parents responded with shock and consternation that I wasn’t his father.
The conversation stayed on the subject of my comforting someone else’s kid for a good five minutes, to my great discomfort. I’ve seen women do the same thing at many playgroups and parties so I was baffled, it just seemed like the right thing to do to me and no one else was doing anything at all.
So, I’m not a babysitter, I’m a dad and I love my children just as much as any mom. I’m not a deadbeat, I spend more time with kids than any other father I know and I feed, teach, and clothe them the same as a mother would.
My four year old has been reading since he was about 2 1/2, can count to 100, knows basic addition and subtraction, knows his colors and shapes (including rhombi, parallelograms and dodecahedrons); I don’t say this to brag (there’s no guarantee that being ahead now will mean anything later so bragging would be pointless) but to point out that I’m doing my best to prepare them for the world the same as any mother would.
I work at it 24/7 the same as mothers have since time immemorial and it’s harder than any paying gig I’ve ever had. The safety of children is more important to me than your comfort with my gender or gender role.
I am not less of a parent because I’m a man and I don’t understand how we can bitch about dads that aren’t there for their kids on the one hand and then negatively judge the dads who are there for their kids just because their family didn’t follow traditional gender roles.
#4. Let The Guy Pay
Divyamani Gupta, a college student recounted how she first-hand saw that even men experience certain bits of sexism.
When I was in college, I used to hang out a lot with two of my friends. One boy let’s call him B and the other was a girl let’s call her G. We were always together, may it be classes, corridors or canteen. Canteen was the place where the problem surfaced.
Our canteen trips became more frequent and somehow it became a responsibility of B to pay every time we eat and that too just because he was the male member of the group. G never offered to pay or even agreed to contribute to the bill.
I couldn’t say anything on our first few hangouts in the canteen, but after that I either paid for myself or didn’t eat at all. This created an awkward situation and I tried to point out that B shouldn’t be the one who pays. Conversation among the three of us went like this.
Me: Hey, this isn’t fair. B shouldn’t be paying every time. Let’s contribute or else let’s pay for ourselves.
G: Pagal hai kya? Ladko ke hote hue ladkiya pay kare.
(Are you crazy? Why should girls pay when they are accompanied by boys)
Me: But it’s only fair that we should pay equally.
B: Nahi, nahi, (No, no) it’s okay I’ll pay.
Me: No, if we ever hangout I’m not letting him pay anymore.
G: But he’s the guy. He should pay. Divya, I thought you were a feminist.
Me *face palm*
On one side many girls talk about equal rights. But all goes into the gutter when the question of the bill arrives. We were all students then. All of us had limited resources. Talking of equality, it should be prevalent in every aspect of life.
Thus, it seems that it is not always women facing sexism, men too have to face their own share of it.
Do you have any stories where you or a male acquaintance has gone through something like this?
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