Few years back, the entire India was waiting with bated breath as the Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-II fell silent. The mission was not accomplished. The entire world saw the images of an unconsolable ISRO Chairman K.Sivan, the man who had put his heart, his mind and his soul in this project. After the success of Mangalyaan, the expectations were high and hence these tears were more evident. What was more evident was the PM of our country, Shri. Narendra Modi consoling him! This was an important incident on many levels. One man consoling the other man knowing what he must be going through and extending a hand of appreciation for all his accomplishments.
The social media was buzzing with divergent views; one set of netizens expressed support and encouragement to K.Sivan. They understood what he must be going through. But there were these remaining half of netizens who criticised K.Sivan for showing his emotions in public. According to them it was not a sign of a powerful man.
Mind the words, POWERFUL MAN! What or who is a powerful man? The one who doesn’t mind expressing his feelings and moving on to the next chapter of his life or the one who doesn’t express his feelings and keeps himself locked in his own world and carries the burden silently everywhere?
Similar happened when India lost to New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup Semi Final in England. The images of distraught and teary-eyed MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma surfaced. Some of us applauded them for their heroics and the remaining ridiculed them for being what they labelled as “Cry Babies”!
We as a society do not mind if Sushmita Sen cries on the stage when she becomes Miss Universe, but the sight of Harbhajan Singh crying after winning the Cricket World Cup makes us question his manhood! Champions like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and David Beckham along with World Leaders like Barack Obama and Narendra Modi were seen expressing their feelings and were ridiculed by the masses for crying out loud.
But wait … this is not limited to the men in the limelight! How often we see a boy being told off for crying out loud! Boys are told from a tender age that they are not meant to cry, they have to be stronger than an Oak tree. They have to be the support system of the entire household when they grow up and crying only makes them weak. What regressive thought are we putting in the tender minds of these boys? We forget that it is not just about crying alone. Crying is just the byproduct. The real deal is expressing one’s thoughts, opening up about the issues that trouble them. Once the feelings are out in the open, they are followed by solutions. How can bottling up emotions and feelings lead to a solution? It will only lead to a cacophony in the brain. A troubled and unexpressed mind can never give solutions. It can only lead to more pressing issues.
Since time immortal, triumph over emotions by logic and rationality have been seen as a hallmark of intellect and power, and by extension as “Masculinity”! Is this really the case? Does a man have to prove his worth by bottling his emotions? Does he have to find a secluded corner in the house to probably cry without being name-called? Does he really have to be laughed and ridiculed at? The answer is BIG FAT NO!
But all is not as grim and morose as it might look outwardly. There are many people who believe that men can cry, men should express and most importantly men have the right to live their life the way they want without burdening themselves with the responsibilities of the household. Acceptance levels have increased when it comes to men going for grooming;
which was otherwise considered to be only for Women. A small but important breakthrough in acceptance!
In a predominantly patriarchal society like that in India, the man is supposed to be the leader of the family. He is considered not only superior but more than ever expected to take care of everything around him. Man is always considered to be the saviour of the family. Hence our society and our culture doesn’t allow him to show his compassion, empathy, emotions and love either. He is expected to be as brave as a warrior, a breadwinner and someone who offers his shoulder to people around him in times of distress.
We conveniently forget that the man also has a vulnerable side to him and there are times when he needs to express his emotions! We have stereotyped male gender in a rigid role who brings food for the family. Men have the freedom to pursue other roles as per their wish. They have freedom to choose not to be sole bread winner! If this is true then why do we still stereotype our kids into gender based roles. In the present days and times, cooking or doing household chores is no more a Gender specific role.
Let us talk about simple things like making the boy not wear pink just because someone somewhere said that Pink is a feminine colour! We don’t think there is any need to stereotype any colour to the gender? To add to the cooler bias is the day to day conversation which involve statements like “Don’t cry like a girl” or “Dude you are getting emotional; are you a girl?”; portray the mindset of the society in totality.
These exact thoughts crossed the mind of Dr. Priya Parekh. The concept of men empowerment and gender neutrality which would lead to maintain the balance in the society crossed her mind. Men and women are equal in every rights. Priya believes that both of these sexes need to be at level pegging in order to maintain the equilibrium in society.
This lead to the conceptualisation of MeToWe Mission2034.
MeToWe Mission2034 intends to make an attempt to change this mind set in children, parents, teachers and even professionals working in similar fields. One of the many things that we at MeToWe Mission 2034 are working for is the awareness in the society that it is ok for a man to cry. It is ok for a man to not be judged just because he expresses his feelings as and when he feels so. Men have the right to be heard and understood for what they feel is bothering them. Men can wear pink colour with pride and not be judged because of the choice of colour.
A man understood unconditionally is a man who understands unconditionally. And this is what is the need of the hour. If we want our women to be understood, then the man should be understood unbiasedly.
Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) told Kiara (Alia Bhatt) in the movie ‘Dear ZIndagi’; a
universal truth and more than ever the need of the hour. The thought goes as follows:
“Tum agar khul ke ro nahi sakogi, toh khul kar hass kaise paogi!” (If you can’t cry freely, how can you laugh freely!)
Why not men be allowed to cry freely so that they can laugh openly! Why can’t they choose to wear any colour with pride! Why can’t men choose to look after the house instead of being the bread winner! Why can’t men be accepted for what they are?
On 30th April 2022, we celebrated the 2nd edition of our flagship award ceremony I-inspire Awards by MeToWe Mission 2034, gallantly at T3M , Kothrud Pune. The evening was graced
by eminence and elegance overloaded. Celebrity personalities like Bharat Dabholkar (actor, director, writer), Dr. Jayashree Fadnavis (life coach, management guru), Mr Pranav Vijay Sawant ( Thousand Pines Hospitality) Ranjeet Ranadive (actor) Aparna Desai (singer, actress) and Joy Bhattacharya (actor) were present to share their thoughts on the mission and also felicitate the excellence awards. This year we had 19 awardees from various fields, whose achievement has been inspiration, to say the least. Eminent Kathak dancer Shri Jagdish Bhosale performed an enthralling piece to put the message forth that classical dance is not limited to ladies. His expression and energy pleasantly thrilled everyone in the house.
Founder director Dr. Priya Parekh also performed a mono-act to share the theme of the evening that Pink is just a colour and should not be stereotyped with gender and Men can cry to express their emotional and there is no machismo in trying to hide tears.
With this parting thought we leave it to you to make a decision; but we hope you are unbiasedly on our side. We hope you are with MeToWe Mission2034 on this!
We hope you support and propagate the values of MeToWe Mission2034!