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I can't be your HERO; I am no Superman

Men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men. The society expects that every guy must be “strong, courageous, independent, rich, intelligent, violent, insensitive, less expressive, assertive”. The moment a guy fails to meet any of these parameters, he immediately experiences the challenges, the flip side of being a man.

Equality is an ideal we all long for. Yet the scales tip one way or the other. Gender equality is a question, for the last three decades, wanting a feasible, genuine answer. While a lot is discussed on women empowerment, very few of us wait to see what is happening to men empowerment. 

They are victims of social expectations, as much as women are. The nature of exploitation they face might be different from that of women, yet there is discrimination against men too.

Trust me on this; men can also be victims of discrimination; bias from society and women!

Disclaimer: The writer, here is not presenting the fairness or unfairness of the expectations, society has on men. It is just a perspective that men too are not free of social biases.

I remember watching this Bollywood movie; I would recommend others to watch it. The movie is called Ki & Ka (2016); for our non-Bollywood audience you can read the plot HERE

Synopsis: Kia, an ambitious woman, marries Kabir, a man who prefers the role of a house husband. They enjoy their unconventional relationship until challenges including ego clashes and jealousy set in.

This movie is the true definition of what todays post is all about and much more. Listing down some expectations that women and the society have from a MAN:

1. A complete man – Women want their men to be strong and soft at the same time! They should take financial responsibility, yet be capable enough to change diapers and help out in household chores. In short, all men are expected to be as the tagline says, “A complete man”

2. Be responsible for their basic family unit as well as the extended family – when a woman is a single breadwinner, the extended family does not expect more than what is absolutely necessary. Children also demand only the absolute essentials from her. But if a man is a breadwinner, he is expected to fulfil even additional responsibilities (like marriages of siblings, funerals, etc). His children, too, demand beyond essentials and the list of desirables is long.

3. A man is often expected to juggle between his parents and his partner: It is believed that a good man is one who is neither a mamma’s boy nor a ‘joru ka ghulam’ (puppet in the hands of his wife)

4. A man is always expected to provide more than what his father could provide him: Better education, better living standards, and better quality time are the new social expectations.

5. Holding up a social image for the rest of the family – the peer pressure for a social image and social status is higher on a man compared to a woman.

6. Being sensitive enough to support, but being strong enough to not expect support – most people perceive men asking for support as weak.

7. Maintain the Tough Image and follow the notion “Boys don’t cry”: A man is not allowed to cry or even show some anger. Such drastic change in emotions (or so-called mood swings) is only for women.

When women behave in ways that don’t fit their gender stereotype - for example, by being assertive — they are viewed as less likable. Does that same hold true for men? Are they similarly penalized for straying from the strong masculine stereotype?

The short answer is yes. Research demonstrates that men too face backlash when they don’t adhere to masculine gender stereotypes — when they show vulnerability, act nicer, display empathy, express sadness, exhibit modesty, and proclaim to be feminists.

In conclusion: Men Aren’t Allowed To Be Different From Society’s Expectations Of Masculinity; Men carry the burden of society’s expectation of masculinity

Many a times the emotions of a man are bottled up and when they are expressed they are of rage and violence. Men do not talk about their emotions, in fact they would be rather discussing cars, sports and women!

This topic is too deep to be writing about and a novice like myself shouldn't be really attempting such writings. However, this post was purpose driven from the recent experiences I have been having as a man. For some reason I am scaled and expected to meet up with the society's expectations without considering my disability. I have been put in situations and circumstances that are beyond my control and then blamed for not rightfully addressing OR meeting the expected action of them. It's not like I don't try but trying is one thing and not being able to deliver makes me feel sick in the gutt and a lesser man. Somehow this is entertaining to the people around me; I know it's toxic but I have no where to run to as of now. Perhaps I made it look easy by accepting my disability early and wanting to use my resources to build on my abilities; I have raised their expectations a bit too far by doing this. It is to my best interest to be patient and let things play out as they were supposed to; without emotionally reacting to them else it would trigger other situations and circumstances beyond my imagination, leave alone control!

Dear readers, especially of the male gender - would like to hear from your experiences with dealing with expectations from the society. Did you find the burden to carry heavy? Did you have moments of a breakdown/ burnout? What did you do to keep yourself sane?

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  1. I have heard the old saying, "you can be your own hero." Sometimes you have to find the strength in yourself to continue on.

  2. A great post indeed. For persons with disabilities people’s expectations are really high. If a normal person makes a mistake, it is considered human and natural. But if a person with disability makes a mistake, it is seen as his weakness.

  3. absolutely we have to live up to too many expectations of one self and the society! It's a burden that we need to carry all our lives


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