Today, young men in urban India feel pressured into sacrificing their own passions. The men are expected to complete their education and step into their father’s shoes to become the provider for the family.

A study by Rohit Nilekani Philanthropies, taking young men as their focus group, delved into the challenges and anxieties they face regarding their role in relationships. The burden is more for the boys in the lower economic strata of society as they are expected to settle their younger siblings as well. 

Restrictions Above Everything

In order to achieve a well-paying job and a stable life, the boys are encouraged to pursue their education in conventional courses. The passions such as arts or bodybuilding have bleak future prospects according to the families and hence are not allowed to be pursued.

Not only in career domains but also in the emotional realm the boys are restricted to express themselves fully. They are allowed to show strength but the fear of being seen as weak refrains them from showing tears, and sadness, which often shows up as anger outbursts. According to the study, this bottling up of emotions leads to violent, aggressive, and loud behaviour. 

Living Up To Expectations Of The Society

men wives wife worthy

The study reports that society expects men to earn more than their would-be wives which build more pressure to work harder in their careers. The preconditions of marriage which include a respectable job, a house in a good locality, and the ownership of a car made many of them feel overburdened. Most of the participants cited marriage and settling down thereafter as their ultimate goal but having a decent job and a respectable image in society is seen as a prerequisite.

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According to the summary report of the study published by India Development Review, “Many boys stated that the freedom they enjoyed at a younger age was gradually reined in for family roles. Tacit norms and predefined gender roles together contribute to the expectations placed on men”.

Success Rate Higher Than Their Ancestors

The familial and societal burdens and pressures existed in previous generations as well but as the competition in the job market is increasing, young men have a long journey to cover. One has to study more and earn more to be seen as more successful. To earn the respect of the family, men have to be a winner in everything they do. The report also said, “Mukesh Ambani came up often as a role model—an individual who is not only successful but also has status, while being a true ‘ family man ‘”.

High expectations lead to more scrutiny. Young men’s outward appearances are judged and policed. They are expected to listen to their elders even though they themselves are adults. This scrutiny often ends up in punishment like being slapped or being hit by parents or teachers. “So deep is the social conditioning that many believe they deserve physical punishment. They justify this by highlighting their own ‘inadequacies’,” said the report.

Gangs As Bad Company

Being a part of the boy gang offers the boys to be at a place where they can be themselves. This close group has camaraderie and protection from outside harm. In the quest of proving their masculinity, the group often leads to teasing, abuse, body shaming, and roughhousing.

The boys are always looked at with suspicion and warned of being a part of the bad company. The abusive behaviour of the group can ultimately lead to the creation of bad company that the elders warn the boys to stay away from.

The study shows that the responsibilities that men are burdened with, at a young age are similar to the restrictions planted in women by society. The surge in expectations and competition has led the men to believe that they’re not enough.

Society is created by individuals and when individuals decide to change, society changes as well. When everyone feels burdened by restrictions the prime question arises- Who is responsible for the restrictions and who will be the first to raise their voice and bring the change?

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Money ControlIndia Development Review

Find the blogger: Katyayani Joshi

This post is tagged under: men, indian, urban, pressure, wife, emotions, study, focus group,indian men, economic strata,stress, career, passion, responsibilities,bad company,judgemental, women, restrictions, young men, urban India, gender, society, roles

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