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This Season of Satyamev Jayate came to an end yesterday. The topics chosen were marvelous and inspiring. While we may be aware of most of these, what is important is that this program brought about awareness, shared real-life stories of courage, despair and hope and brought these topics back to online as well as drawing-room conversations. The power of the celebrity is being harnessed in the right manner to ensure that people sit up and take note. While we as bloggers write about patriarchy, depression, road safety, gay rights and other issues off and on, it takes the power of Aamir Khan with his excellent research team to teach us something new and make us think and discuss these topics.

Yesterday’s topic of “manhood” was capably handled. Many facets were explored including the definition of manhood or machismo. It was pointed out that over 95% of violent crimes happen at the hands of men. The reasons for the same were explored as well including societal conditioning and upbringing. While patriarchy has kept many of our women curtailed and oppressed, it has done untold damage to our men as well. Not only are they being denied of developing healthy personal relationships, but their own personality is stifled and mutilated as they are pushed to conform to society’s stereotypes. Once again, the focus was brought back as it rightly should to how we parent our sons. Parents can never be less aware of the impact they have on their offspring just by being who they are. At least, every time we spout the famous line “Don’t cry like a girl” we will now hopefully pause and reflect. Do take a look at this video about gender conditioning:

As a country with diversity in not only religion, culture and languages but in mindsets, we have a long way to go before we can truly start cherishing our girls. The deep prejudices that scar our thoughts and minds will take a lot of introspection and awareness to go. Hence, programs and discourses such as these are extremely essential. In addition, the power of Aamir’s celebrity reduces the dissent and increases the willingness to listen. Getting Amitabh Bachchan to convey the message of sensitivity and respect for women was a lovely touch. Also getting Bollywood actresses to speak about their experiences was nice.

That Aamir himself regretted doing work that objectified women was a step in the right direction. It showed that change always begins from within. Do remember to call the number 18008334006 if you wish to petition the Hindi film industry to stop its degrading portrayal of women. This was something which was rubbing me the wrong way since a while. I am glad that someone from the industry has raised this valid issue on behalf of all of us. I say, bring on more such shows. Let us talk and understand.

As was pointed out in the show and something that is my personal opinion as well – Men and women are collaborators. We are not two groups fighting for the same piece of the pie. In fact, we can lovingly share the pie beautifully. Every woman has a right to choose how she wishes to live her life. She has a right to be loved and respected. And the hope lives on that with our combined effort that day is not too far! Do go to the website, SatyamevJayate.in to watch the full episodes in case you missed any. Also read this wonderful post on Why Feminism is Good for Men

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61 Thoughts on “Manhood or machismo stereotypes

  1. Very well put rachna… I loved the episode too…

  2. I don’t watch TV much so missed Satyamev Jayate… but you are right we have too many stereotypes both for men and women.

    While most stereotypes for men encourage them to do better like ” Be a man, be a bread winner… all most all for women are disparaging in one form or another… like girls are not supposed to do this or that, or women in our family don’ t do this. High Time we change the same….
    Prasad Np recently posted…Top 10 things I did in Amazing Thailand and you could tooMy Profile

  3. I agree with your view that patriarchy has damaged men as well. Not everyone accepts this. Kudos to Aaamir for bringing these topics back into focus ! 🙂

  4. A begining is a small step but these things will change only if every Indian household treats sons not as something special and teach them everything what they would have taught their daughter not to have false sense of manhood nurtured! Most problems arise more due to this curse !
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  5. I enjoyed that episode too. Nice post 🙂
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  6. Let’s hope that this is the beginning for things to change for the better. I had watched the episode and thought it approached and handled the topic well.
    Sid recently posted…Drafting WriteMy Profile

    • Yes, it is a really complicated and multi faceted topic. They did approach it quite well. At least a beginning is made to openly challenge societal norms about masculinity which in turn lead to suppression and exploitation of women. I think, it will be a small beginning but at least something.
      Rachna recently posted…Manhood or machismo stereotypesMy Profile

  7. I hope the awareness gives way to change…TV is a huge medium and that added with Celebrities can bring a lot of change… Surely a step in the right direction
    nabanita recently posted…Writing the ‘Uneasy’ Out…My Profile

  8. I didn’t watch the show, no cable at home! But will watch online sometime this week, but I heard from my teenager nephew that it was a very good show. That told me that the message was getting across to youngsters, which is where the change must start! It is good to read in your post here that Aamir felt a sense of remorse about some of the films he had done which objectified women. I think more and more film stars should speak up on this issue and take responsibility for their choices and deny such roles in the future. For good reason or bad, bollywood or films in general have a huge impact on general mindset of the people in our society, especially youngsters. So some soul-searching must be done by the filmwallahs on how they have contributed to the stereotyping and objectification of women and men and also third gender. Good post, Rachna!
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…Cook Pray Love: A RememberanceMy Profile

    • Absolutely, Beloo. I am glad that they actively brought up the point you have mentioned on the show. After all, all change begins when you look inwards. The show explored a range of issue from definitions of masculinity to conditioning and upbringing influencing behavior, the stern way of bringing up male children, the growth of aggression and anger that leads to violence, objectification of women, patriarchy being harmful to men and so on. The show format was excellent and it was well researched. I hope you do get to catch the episode.
      Rachna recently posted…Manhood or machismo stereotypesMy Profile

  9. I too liked yday’s episode and am glad you wrote abt it too !
    Lets stop the cliche “Stop crying like a girl”
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  10. Hey Rachna 🙂 firstly, thanks for linking my post here!

    Really well written. I didn’t see the SJ episode, but heard a lot about it from people who did. I think it was high time a public personality brought this issue to the forefront, and I’m glad Aamir did so, to help influence the masses.

    Nothing but advocacy like this can bring about mindset change. Constant advocacy will make an imprint onto the minds of people. The more we spread the word, the more we act as role models, the better and fairer our society will become.

    I hear people saying they’ve brought up their sons and daughters ‘equally’. Unfortunately, most people don’t really do that – they don’t even understand the meaning of true equality. Do we really have equal relationships, even in educated and so-called enlightened families? Who manages the housework? Who gets meals ready? Who sends the kids off to school? Who comes home after work and puts dinner on the table while the other partner sits in front of the TV? Most important, who leaves their parental home after marriage and moves into the other partners’ parental home, thereby having to revamp their entire way of life? And finally, how many men are willing to take a stand against these stereotyped gender roles and have a *truly* equal relationship? Because anything less is hypocrisy. I say this because I have come across numerous people who claim they have raised their sons and daughters ‘equally’, but sadly, ‘equally’ stops when it comes to giving up (in the name of fairness) a few privileges as husbands, mothers in law, fathers in law, brothers, sons, fathers, etc.

    • Ash, you points are all valid. But more than equality, it is equity that we actually demand. We want respect and fair treatment that works for us. I don’t think relationships can ever be equal? What my husband does and there are things he does way better than me can never be equal to what I do. We come with different competencies and in a relationship we try to harness on that. About men taking a stand, haven’t you noticed how things are changing? I have. And complete change can only be brought about as we can bring about mindset change. That will happen slowly. We cannot expect things to magically transform overnight. Till such time, we need to engage and sever these stereotypes one step at a time. What has been going on for thousands of years is not bound to change in a few years!
      Rachna recently posted…Manhood or machismo stereotypesMy Profile

  11. Looks like he is continuing to make good impact. Well let us hope good comes of it.
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  12. I loved the way Aamir wrote on a board what the perception of a true Man is. I hope such shows help in changing things. With the state our society is in right now, we can take all the help that we an get ! Be it through theater shows or TV or talks.
    Ruch recently posted…U.S Chronicles – The Splendor that is Yosemite !My Profile

    • Yes, it was a lovely activity. A fantastic way of showing the mirror. And I am glad that it did not descend into women vs. men. I agree, every small step that creates awareness and generates discourse must be welcomed. Thanks for reading, Ruch.

  13. I didn’t watch it this time. There’s no denying that this is a great show. I’m going to contribute to the portrayal-of-women petition.

    Nicely written, Rachna.

  14. Mr Sumit on November 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm said:

    Not Bad, All are idol for me. Loved the way they used. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
    Mr Sumit recently posted…No ListingsMy Profile

  15. The first mistake we make is to say that Feminism isn’t for men.
    Patriarchy is a double-edged sword which has harmed men and women.. unfortunately, not everyone understand this nor to they want to accept it.
    Fabulous post Rachna..
    I have to watch the episode now on YouTube.

    • Thanks, Pixie. Do catch it on YouTube. The real life experiences shared were heartrending. Sometimes, we have to gently build conversations. I think this show is helping us do that, slowly, one step at a time.

  16. Awareness is the key here. As you said, we may be aware of what the topic is about, but when people come and share incidents, thats when we realize the impact.

    THis is such a great initiative to spread word to the common people. As for the current topic, well people all around us need more awareness and less of stereotypes (Dont cry like a girl phrases should never ever be used)
    Ashwini CN recently posted…When You Can Talk for Hours…My Profile

  17. This season, I think every topic highlighted our lack of sensitivity. How we ignite things and prejudices as society. A very valid point was how the same men who throw acid, rape women, get married ….
    Jas recently posted…Caves of the UnknownMy Profile

    • You are right, Jas. Each episode was sterling and topics that are normally not really discussed openly. I am glad that masculinity and its stereotypes were brought under the scanner. Just this morning I read a report which said that 60% of men in India hit their spouses. How dismaying is that! The saddest part is that this phenomenon is not limited to the uneducated.

  18. Saw the episode and loved the way he trashed all the male stereotypes. Machismo is about power when it should be about the power of love and compassion.
    And then comes the news that 6 in ten women get beaten by men. We really belong to a fortunate lot. This is mind boggling, six in ten……more than fifty percent.

    • Yes, I was saddened to see that report in today’s papers. It is tragic that even education and exposure has not done it for some men. You are right; you and I are the privileged lot. I just hope that change will come even if slowly.

  19. Missed out the episode but hats off to the Sj team to bring such critical issues on to the table. Hope awareness starts the spark of change. Off to watch the episode on youtube.

  20. I did not even know.. the series was on ..

    it is good that this show is bringing out a lot of issues and making people think about it all
    Bikram recently posted…TO THE INDIAN MANMy Profile

  21. Rachna,Sorry,but I never watch this slot of AAmir.Let him check his own record before he preaches others.
    b k chowla recently posted…100 DAYS AND MOREMy Profile

  22. That was a wonderful video you’ve shared. You are right, when celebrities come forward, they make an impact and they can influence a larger audience. Btw, I have two men in my life, who cry and emote. I have wonderful relations with almost everyone around. I am talking about my father and husband.
    Saru Singhal recently posted…Winter, sigh!My Profile

    • Thank you, Saru. You know you and I are the blessed ones considering that I just read a report which said that 60% of men beat their wives. 🙁 And this is a disease that is rampant across classes. Gender equality is still a long way to go.

  23. Nicely written. Totally agree that it was a very thoughtfully developed show. Aamir Khan culled out the points very well. Thanks for putting in your comment on my post on the same topic. One more point that particularly appealed to me was Dr Kamla Bhasin’s statement that average man and women are emotionally not different. It is the social conditioning that makes them behave in different ways. If the differences in upbringing are minimized, then the behavioral differences will also lessen.

  24. I did not see this episode but yes India is reeking with misogynist minds.Look at the statement of AMU VC today.If boys find it so hard to not be distracted by girls’ presence then we either shut them up in dungeons or lock in the girls?
    indu chhibber recently posted…#S UICIDESMy Profile

  25. I promised myself to catch up on all the episodes when time permits. Why is it so hard to change our mind sets? I stopped saying quite some time back to my son, “Don’t cry like a girl”. My son keeps telling me all the time, “Amma, I hate it when teachers or people say, Be a gentleman. Hold chairs for girls, open doors etc etc….Why should I do it? Can’t they do it themselves?” I really don’t know how to answer it.
    Found In Folsom recently posted…Another Morning!My Profile

  26. Yes, watch them online when you have time. The first part of not saying those dreaded words is wonderful. We know how strong the mindset is in India to let sons curtail their sensitive sides. As far as opening the door bit or holding chairs is concerned — don’t tell him to do this for girls but generally be helpful, polite and well mannered. In the US, I have seen people holding the door open irrespective of whether it is a man or a woman. Basically we are teaching good manners and that should apply to all. Personally I don’t like men opening the car door for me. It is faster if I do so myself. 🙂 But holding door open for each other is actually just courteous.
    Rachna recently posted…Manhood or machismo stereotypesMy Profile

  27. Well written Rachna ! Hindi film industry’s portrayal of stereotypes is something that needs to stop for people to stop enacting the same behavior in real life. In fact, the entire film industry, the ad industry, everything on media has to adopt a moral code of conduct to stop the stereotyping. I am glad that such issues are now coming to the fore.
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  28. I’m really glad that he had the guts to acknowledge that there is a problem in the industry’s depiction of women!
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    • Yes and he showed a Video which showed the various ways in which women are misrepresented in Hindi movies. And he showed his own movie clips too. I guess change begins at home and good that he highlighted the objectification of women in Hindi movies.

  29. I want to watch a movie where the hero is cute and bubbly and the heroine, the strong, silent type who loves flexing her muscles.
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  30. I haven’t been a viewer of Aamir’s show but I must commend the great work he has been doing for the past few years through his program. May his tribe increase.
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    • You must catch one random episode. The research is quite thorough and the topics he chooses need to be discussed in this country. I agree that he is using his celebrity in a great way to engage people and mobilize support. It is a fantastic precedent for others to follow.

  31. I missed the entire series this time , but now holidays are approaching so might take some time to see the episodes.

    and since reading the post it has made me more curious to make sure I watch it.

    Rachna, how are you .. Wishing you and everyone around you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year
    Bikram’s
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