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"Balancing the roles between men and women"
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"Balancing the roles between men and women"

Naaz Fahmida“Come, let’s discuss men!” encourages Naaz Fahmida, 27, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Bangladesh, who states that both sexes need to acknowledge their roles in the perpetuation of how society understands traditional gender roles.

As reports of a Danish woman being gang-raped in Delhi created headlines around the world at the beginning of the year, I remember having an argument with an older female relative over a meme shared on Facebook showing a woman holding a banner which read: ‘Do not teach us what to wear. Teach your sons not to rape.’

Her argument was that we as women should not shun the responsibility to dress decently, as an important way to ensure we did not attract the wrong kind of attention.

“Offering a fresh stack of meat in front of a lion and expecting it to walk away responsibly is an act of foolishness,” she said.

I found this comment, especially coming from a female, quite derogatory (to say the least) because our men are not lions and I would like to think women are more than a stack of meat. Our men are expected to exercise restraint from an act of coerciveness because they are they are humans. However, I think men are misunderstood, labelled through incorrect social messages to appear more like apes, still stuck in the first phase of evolution.

Through such messages from women, we are not only further deteriorating harmony between the two sexes but endorsing violence. There is therefore a need for increased interest in the male psyche from females before we can hope to achieve development in this area.

I have often mentioned in my writing I never wish to be reincarnated as a male and I meant it for more than one reason, including the pressure of expectation every man is born with. From the moment men come into this world, there is an immense pressure to display physical strength (if you are weak you get bullied in school) and an inherited form of responsibility from their fathers, who set a certain standard that the successor is expected to equal, if not exceed, in order to carry the family name forward.

And the pressure just keeps on mounting.

Once the men have proved themselves to their families, then comes the wife and children, as well as the expectation-mongers either cheering or booing in the background. Women from some cultures, namely South Asian societies, are exempt from these responsibilities. I believe this is a form of male discrimination, since men are constantly living inside a pressure cooker, with heat coming from both family and society to prove success.

To a certain extent, women in our society contribute towards pressure, if they assume a nonchalant attitude on their financial responsibilities toward the household. Furthermore, the absence of such pressure on females automatically adds to the men’s burden.

When I was in university, a female friend blatantly asserted she could never ever settle for an unsuccessful man. My question to her was simply this – why was it important?

Her response?  “It was disgraceful for a man not to be successful.”

The memory of that conversation always make me wonder if some of us are not a little childish deep down in the way we think about leadership roles, allowing us only to accept successful and powerful men into our lives, while men are expected to take us ‘for better and for worse.’ It is perhaps not chivalry then that has survived in the form of displaying honour, but the eyelash-batting, helpless damsel-in-distress attitude that still make men offer that seat to us.

photo credit: streunna4 via photopin cc
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About me: I am an Accounting graduate and HR specialist, currently a PR and Communications person by the day. Donning my superman outfit, I invade the writing world once the clock strikes midnight!

I am Bangladeshi first, Australian second, have a fair dinkum accent and accentuated Bangali-ana, a Muslim name and inheritance. I’m a firm follower of Rama and Dharma, which makes me weak in the knees for Buddha, and I love Christmas. For everything else – you must follow the white rabbit!”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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