The Enfranchisement of Men From Indian Patriarchy: Queer (conscious) Men Breaking The Stereotype


The development of Indian male stereotype follows the cultural norm (tradition) at home. While the brutal, tyrant mask of masculinity is prevalent in the daily reports of media, a deeper study of the life of adult Indian male reveals that most of the Indian men are still carrying forward the burden of the ritualistic stereotypical culture nurtured in themselves since childhood.

A change in culture since 1990s, provoked by the era of globalization has been able to bring out changes in the attitude of Indian men, and they can now be seen taking part in cooking, household chores, and taking care of the children. However, these activities are limited to just a certain number of people in the society, while a bigger percentage is still following the patriarchal mind set and propagating the same to the next generation with unfortunate insensitive results.

As the boy comes out of his homely and protective nest and steps in the scrutinizing society outside, the ‘man’ that comes into existence often proves to be another stereotype. Perhaps a little sophisticated in the attitude form the earlier generation, but still carrying the similar notions of masculinity. Thus it is seen even in progressive, open-minded husbands to have different parenting attitudes towards sons and daughters in term of expression of their emotions and wishes. It becomes news, till date, if a man chooses to stay at home, to do the household work and depend on his wife’s income. From dressing style to walking style, from conversation to showing affection, from the insight on life to choosing life partners, Indian men are still preferred to follow the convention. Only a slight change in attitude is considered feminine and is not promoted or encouraged. The succession of the chronological stereotypical role play of an “ideal” son, brother, father, friend, boss, colleague fails to come out of the system that is already constrictive of change.

Typical gender roles are taught to us since birth and the objective of such a role is essentially to maintain the status quo. The change in sexual orientation comes into conflict with the traditional gender roles where the body function does meet the expectation of the body anatomy. A term, “genderqueer”, has been proposed for a wide range of people who do not follow the male-female gender binary. If a queer man comes out wearing a dress of “feminine” style or colour, or if he shows off affection and emotion in public, or does not choose a female partner, he creates a mark on the backdrop of rigid social patriarchy. While a change in attitude and flexibility can be observed in young Indian male regardless the sexual orientation, we need more understanding about the live narratives of queer males in the society and the trend of redefining the “male” gender in contemporary Indian society.

Asp Auplish

Image Source: The Viewspaper