Being manly has its own pros and cons. When you decide to cook your favourite food, you are expected not to enjoy that privilege. Your masculinity will be questioned, you will be told how improper it is for a man to love the food cooked by himself, rather than by a woman.
I have been told many times how inadequate my definition of manliness is, more often because I don’t fit into what is supposed to make a man feel stronger, larger and bigger. I don’t have a beard on my face. I don’t have a height which stands taller as compared to other men in society.
Masculinity, once upon a time, was just a word we studied in school, whose sole purpose was to differentiate the binary gender in society. Now, masculinity is a criterion of a certain job – that a person has to be called or termed.
men are entitled to be messy, untidy and lazy.
I am told how my job is to earn; how a man’s job is about filling the banks with paychecks at the end of the month; there is no choice for a man to introspect that. I am told that I can sleep around and I won’t be questioned because I fall into the category of masculinity, and not an oppressed gender.
When I couldn’t a take bath for 2 days straight, I am not told I should go and get fresh, I was applauded for following the norm of a man always being untidy and messy. Yes, men are entitled to be messy, untidy and lazy. Believe it or not, that is what should be followed to be a member of that certain institution of manhood.
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They clapped and welcomed me when I tried following what a man supposedly should do. The power of rationality is slowly being overcome by blindfold beliefs and attributes we claim for one specific gender.
I have attributes which shake the threshold of years of gender roles. I must say that is scary for all. I can’t walk on my own. I am often criticised if I choose a shirt whose colour doesn’t fit into the societal construct of gender. How does standing up for your own gender identity bring about a crisis? And we have to try to fit in because this is what society demands from you.
How hollow is our decisive nature for any specific gender! My gender is no more mine. My body is no more mine. And I am not allowed to love it, until I satisfy all the criteria of a normative society.
My gender is no more mine. My body is no more mine.
Me being male is more of an issue for me today, than for anybody else.
I am being decided against, laughed at, talked about. I told them I should be what I want from myself, not what you are expecting of me.
Most of the time I don’t choose my gender; society chooses it for me.
Ritwik Dutta is an Engineering student, a poet, writer, blogger, transman and one of the co-founders of Transmen Collective.
This was previously published here and has been re-published with consent.
Featured Image Credit: Very Good Light