I’ve been thinking a lot about how is it that we’re free when everybody is just out to get each other down with them? There are just too many misconceptions about gender, too many instructions from this invisible voice of ‘society’ that screams and shouts at all of us to tell us how to live, breathe, function, talk and dress.
Women have started to make their space in the society after being persecuted for just being a woman for centuries, and no matter what anyone says, that fact is undeniable. But, we’re not the only ones who’ve been suffering all along, are we? Instead of learning from the past, we’re too busy chasing after the future, which nobody knows. But we’re all hoping it’ll be ‘better’, it’ll be ‘peaceful’. Will it?
I’ve been turning these thoughts in my head about how men can be helped, can be understood. How can we, as women, help them, empower THEM. It might seem that we’re the only ones being clawed, and torn and quartered for demanding empowerment. But men, they’re not that different. Our problems are different, but the essential aspect is, we’re all suffering and we’re all doomed. And who is raising their voice for the struggles that men go through? Just because we have problems to overcome, doesn’t mean we stop to recognize others’ problems too. We all have to help each other.
These are some proven to work suggestions on how to treat/understand/empower boys/men.
1. Let the boys feel that it is okay to cry, it’s okay to be sensitive, it’s okay to be romantic without being stoically manly about it.
2. It’s okay to want to be a prince, let them know that they don’t have to only want to be the king. Tell them it’s okay to love flowers for the sole reason of them loving it, not because they bring it for you to smile warmly at them.
3. Tell them it’s okay to feel weak, tell them it’s okay to love their body, they can suffer from self-hatred too, we’re not the only ones being targeted for body shaming. We aren’t the only ones.
4. Tell them it’s okay to feel heart-broken. They feel grief equally as us. Yes, they do. Just because it is “said” we are more emotional, doesn’t mean they don’t feel bad at all. They do. Maybe even more, perhaps.
If you’re curious about what empowering things you can tell women, I wrote a list about them as well!
5. Tell them there is nothing weak about being crushed. There is nothing wrong or “lame” with missing their girl for months and pining for her. Tell them it’s okay to want ‘forever’. They don’t have to have the mindset that every girl is like a ‘bus’, there will always be one after every five minutes. Tell them they CAN love just one person for their entire lives. They can. They often do. Don’t think they all move on EASILY. They are not that different. Tell them they can LOVE again and again and again.
6. Tell them it’s okay to not constantly try to undermine themselves to make you feel empowered. Make them feel that you understand how much they just want to be the support for you. Tell them they can RELY on you too. Tell them it’s OKAY to tell you when they have trouble figuring out how to get through life. Nobody is strong enough to not break even once. Nobody.
7. Tell them it’s okay to want to win arguments. Tell them it’s okay to feel stronger than you. They’re not supposed to deny their biological strength to make you feel stronger. You can be strong for each other. Instead of competing at who is stronger, figure out how to help each other in ways that you’re not.
8. Tell them it’s okay to not deny who they are, because every one of us is different. Every single one of them is DIFFERENT. They’re not all the same. Even if the majority of them might do the same thing, that doesn’t mean that they’re ALL like that. Some are fighting against the prejudices inflicted by their own gender. Some are fighting for you. Don’t label anybody just because you can.
9. Tell them how much they are capable of love and respect. Tell them they’re not their past, tell them it’s okay to not be what this ‘society’ screams at them to be like,
10. You can be the umbrella that protects them. They too need to be protected.
11. Tell them it’s okay to be careless, tell them it’s sexy when they’re graceful about how they live. Tell them it’s okay to not constantly try to save everybody because they have been told that they have to, because they’re “stronger” than most. Tell them it’s okay to not want to take responsibility for things that aren’t their faults, that aren’t their mistakes, that aren’t their burden.
12. Tell them it’s okay to be themselves. We aren’t the only ones being strangled by patriarchy. We aren’t the only ones.
Oshin Ahlawat is a young poet and writer based in New Delhi, India. “I believe people who write are like tornados and cyclones. We wreck a lot of lives; for better or worse. It all depends on the people who read our work. They decide where the damage is going to be; the heart or the mind and whether it’s going to be for the good or for worse. I wish to give them the choice to decide that. I’m just going to focus on doing what I want”, she says.