Toxic Masculinity: A Plague Across South Asia

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Toxic masculinity has always been prevalent in South-Asian society. As young children, boys are told immediately to stop “crying like girls” — taught that any feminine act can shatter their entire masculinity and, that because they are boys, they are not allowed to show any signs of weakness or emotion.

As these young boys grow older, the amount of frustration, anger, and sadness built up over their childhoods will only cause them to explode, without any doubt harming themselves and everyone around them in the process.

Toxic masculinity has certainly embedded its roots deep into our society. Often, we find it more curious coming across a male who isn’t afraid to openly express how he feels and cry; than we do when we meet someone cold and frigid. It has certainly contributed to the staggering increase in mental illnesses spread across South Asia.

The South-Asian community orders its men to remain frigid and unresponsive. The stigma attached to mental health certainly plays an enormous role as well. While women in our communities are also neglected and pushed aside, many of us receive a certain type of affection that the boys in our community never do. They are hardly ever taught genuine kindness or compassion.

With globalization, the verdict of what it means to be a “real man” has not been changed, but in fact twisted to fit Western standards. Men of colour and non-binary people often struggle in this area.

One way of tackling this issue is by increasing mental health awareness and encouraging men to speak up about the issues that affect them. South-Asian men have to tackle their own internal battles along with mental health issues; immigrant South-Asian men struggle along with the racism embedded in the expat experience.

It’s important to realize that tackling toxic masculinity in our communities will help reduce an enormous amount of social issues — issues that mainly oppress women. Human emotion is a complex thing but it is also human to feel and this is something we all have to be painfully reminded of.

Himaya Hareed

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