De-constructing the hegemonic masculinities
Speaking to Anand Pawar, Executive director of SAMYAK http://www.samyakindia.org/ he cautions that the way in which the current discourse on masculinity and the need to work with men is being framed, raises critical issues of concern. Working with men has a danger of becoming an end in itself. There is a tendency to use male power and privilege to bring about change- in lives of your mother, sister which is required but it tends to reinforce their role as protector and benign patriarch. The discourse fails to articulate patriarchy http://asap-asia.org/blog/word-of-the-month-patriarchy/ ; it reinforces male power and privileges without challenging the structures of power.
What this approach fails to take into account is the fact that men need to be included not just as allies but also as victims of gender inequality. If we are talking of eliminating sexism and misogyny, then a formula as soft as ‘inviting men’ is not enough, what needs to be understood here is that power and privileges are not so easily given up on invitation.
It is not so easy to recognize and de-construct hegemonic masculinities. What is hegemony http://asap-asia.org/blog/word-of-the-month-hegemony/ it is the prevalence of a dominant way of thinking and being and is all pervasive. We can see hegemonic masculinities being constructed and reinforced through sports and movies, to name just two ways.
And not just adult movies, but Disney films also introduce these concepts so early on that children grow up accepting these unquestioningly. http://ohlawdgawd.blogspot.in/2011/07/hegemonic-masculinity-in-disney-movies.html
Even a global sensation like Gangnam style has an undercurrent of hegemonic masculinities http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grace-jisun-kim/theological-reflections-o_b_5544389.html
Anand further clarified: “In a society like ours it is not easy for men to speak up for gender equality for fear of being isolated. The problem we face today is that individual transformation is not leading to societal transformation. Men get into pulled into competing with other masculinities but do not want to get into discussions on violence against women. The dominant construction of masculinity is worrisome and is also a huge barrier.
Not having safe spaces for men who are willing to change is also a serious barrier and we hope that a forum like Men Engage http://www.menengagedilli2014.net/ will start this conversation !