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OP-ED: No man no cry

  • Published at 01:16 am November 14th, 2020
Gender equality

A lack of gender equality hurts both sexes

When I heard the news that 80% of Bangladeshi married men suffer from psychological torture, the first thought that surfaced in my mind was the first sentence of Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Similarly, we can say the same about any individual: All happy persons are alike but each unhappy person is unhappy in his or her own way.

It is indeed an interesting and important subject to talk and think about. I didn’t know we had a Men’s Rights Foundation in the country, but I thank them for bringing the subject to light. The foundation's research found that men across the country are psychologically tormented by their partners.

They, however, didn’t mention the sample size of the survey nor any examples of the torture that men have to suffer. The foundation said they receive many reports of men being afflicted and they (men) silently shed their tears but cannot tell their stories to anyone because they think people will laugh at them.

Fair enough. Men’s stories of suffering go untold, unheard, and unreported.

However, the second thought that came to my mind (in the form of a question) was: Doesn’t it sound funny to talk about men’s rights in a country where incidents of rape and harassment against women take place like torrential rain?

If we men claim that we are psychologically tormented, we might as well think that our partners are physically tormented. In a society governed by us, the males, what have our roles been in keeping our women safe, healthy, happy, and satisfied?

If we men consider ourselves to be the breadwinners of our families and play the role of the “head of the family,” shouldn’t we develop a different attitude towards our partners for making their lives easier? On the contrary, to my mind, what we do is make their lives more difficult. Well, when we are making their lives difficult, they would also do something in their defense, wouldn’t they?

What do you think is the main subject of attraction of a male adda in Bangladesh? Or WhatsApp jokes in an alumni group? Sex. As far as my observation goes, it’s sex. Our psyche is shrouded by sex. What we fail to realize is that a relationship is more than just sex, more important than sex. Treating my wife as a person, a human, and not just as a wife, for example.

Do you get my point? I hope so.

And then, kindly think of how glad you become when you see a joke or a post that ridicules the character of “wife.” How many “husband” jokes have you seen in your lifetime? 

A few months ago, there was another survey in which it was found that about 65% to 70% of men in Bangladesh think it is OK to beat up their wives.

Yes, brothers, this is our collective psyche in a country where we are now discussing men’s rights. Isn’t that funny? I believe it is quite funny.

Well, the world has been observing an annual day for men since 1992 every November 19. The initiators wanted to celebrate boys’ and men’s achievements and contributions to their country, society, community, neighbourhood, family, marriage, and child care.

Some of the themes in recent years were “giving boys the best possible start in life,” “helping men and boys live longer, happier, and healthier lives,” “keeping men and boys safe,” “working together for men and boys,” “stopping male suicide,” “positive male role models,” etc.

Tell me, how positive have you been in your family life as breadwinner? You are not just a provider who will return home tired at the end of the day and expect all the comforts from your wife and children!

 If you think you are a leader, please act like one; search your soul to see if you can become one; ask yourself whether your wife considers you a leader.

Yes, there are thousands of instances of wives being dominating and materialistic. Sometimes, financial demands from wives influence men to become corrupt. But, hey, don’t blame everything on your wife. You also had your part in it.

Men are a socially and financially privileged segment of society; we enjoy almost every social bounty first. This mindset of being superior to women leads us to think that we are stressed, tormented, and unhappy in our wedded lives.

There is a better way to reduce your inner pain.

Treat your wife as a human, not just a body, and above all, a friend. Shed your silent tears in front of her; see how she cares for you. 

Trust me, open your mind to her, she will love you and you won’t have to shed tears any more. 

Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller and a communications professional. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.

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