During a popular TV show, discussing social issues,one person in the participating audience put forward an interesting point which sounded very relevant to the topic that was being discussed- Domestic Violence.The question, put to the audience was,'Why the men thought that it was fine for them to be violent towards their wives?'.To this a gentleman answered that the basis of such a thought ,is in the generally accepted definition of masculinity.He said that manliness has always been associated with risk,violence and performance.The view, if seen broadly, deserves a thought .
Masculinity by definition is possessing qualities and characteristics considered typical of or appropriate of a man.The appropriateness has been defined in different worlds and in various periods.Scholars in ancient times had suggested integrity and equality as values of man-man relationship and only virility in man-woman relationship.This may sound primitive and it indeed is, considering the fact that man had just started experiencing culture.But this ancient concept has percolated down into the present day thinking.
In the later periods,men with wisdom or courage,knowing things other men didn't know and taking risks that other men dared not were considered heroic by the women.The ones who couldn't had to become socially subservient. Medieval masculinity, primarily the English ,was relatively polished;it was described as the quality that was Christian and chivalric.These were the knightly qualities like being attentive and caring to women.
Then,definitions mutated into the 'Hegemonic Masculinity',which one write-up describes as 'something the men are expected to aspire for and the women are discouraged from associating with'.It somehow became a norm.The men, even as children, were trained and forced to exercise it.The fear, that non-conformance would be considered a disability and would be brutally subjugated, struck men early in life.The matter of the fact is that even women ,instigated the fear and the anxiety attached with it.
'Complicit masculinity' is a category of men who though fit into hegemonic masculinity, do not completely belive in it and are careing and loving towards women.It is beleived that this section of men don't command the benifits enjoyed by the pure-hegemonic s.
These definitions of societies, drive men and women into an identity crisis.Their inability to fit themselves into the definitions make them act and behave in a certain awkward ways.Some end up with personality disorders,which shape into various psychiatric disorders.With the subconscious urge to maintain his hegemony, the man looks for the easier routes to gratification.The women and children at home become the easy prey.
What is it that drives young men, get into a running bus or a train?Why does the speed thrill?Why are men aspire power?Why are young men attracted to politics and rallying?Why do most of the men as kids wanted at some point to become a cop or a soldier?Why are young men rebellious and arrogant?Why do they have to love sports?Why do they take pride in drinking,smoking and losing virginity?
These actions help young men confirm to the idea of masculinity and gives them a feeling of acceptance.But when this imagined self contravenes the actual personality,limited circumstances and other's opinions,these young men start living a dual life.In one of these lives ,they are the epitome of hegemonic masculinity;and thus feed and satisfy the barbarian by actions causing pain to others.
The masculinity and femininity are a set of attributes,behaviours and roles generally associated to and displayed by the genders.The superiority shouldn't be of these sets.The superiority should be of the better behavioural traits.Gentleness, empathy, sensitivity, caring, sweetness, compassion, tolerance, nurturance should be respected ,considered a superior trait and thus imbibed into the psyche of children.They should be taught to respect their own personality and that of the others.Else with the archaic cognition and underdevelopment they would,as younger men,find themselves in a state that would between an hunting animal and a human.As an adult,with wrenched personality, he would be uncertain about his identity,confused about his emotions and struggling to face his inner demons.