Raising your head shyly, you stumble over your words as you ask if you can marry a woman instead. Instantly, your lungs seem to fill with a tsunami of panic, as you witness his usually warm eyes crackle – the first grey clouds of a storm saturating the brown hue of his eyeballs.
In this mid-month issue we bring you some more interesting and intriguing articles on masculinities and sexuality starting with Mona Mishra’s thoughtful take on masculinities and vulnerabilities. Shikha Aleya interviews Daniel Mendonca who self-identifies as intersex and is a gender rights activist who engages with diverse groups of people in India and other countries to expand awareness, build empathy and foster an environment that is accepting of diversity.
This immense pressure to perform masculinity throughout each day and night not only impacts men’s wellbeing, but it also inevitably impacts the way they interact with the world around them. These interactions – this performance of control over oneself and others – reinforce the social norms and norms of power that drive gender inequality.
In a society that restricts one’s expression of sexuality and perpetuates patriarchal gender norms, there is little room offered for open exploration. With no Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools and no conversation about sexuality with parents, children are ill-equipped to navigate their puberty as adolescents, and dating and relationships as young adults.
People make assumptions about both mobility and sexuality and quite often reduce them to a few simple, unidimensional concepts. Sexuality is reduced to sex, marriage and the gender binary. Mobility is reduced to ableist concepts of body and capacity, and access to, or the possession of, a vehicle to get from point A to B.
The patriarchal system strictly enforces gender roles and social norms that privilege men over women. This sense of male entitlement over women and girls' bodies have insured their confinement to spaces where they are stripped of power, threatened by harassment and discrimination, and extremely vulnerable so that men get to play the role of protectors.