I'm a man, I'm so insecure
Saad Adnan Khan
The following piece is a satire on men and masculinity. Why does it take big, violent loss of lives in India and Bangladesh to understand the prevalence and intensity of rape? Is it a new phenomenon? Daily doses of sexism leads to oppressions like rapes. We should start off fighting sexism by ridiculing and laughing at men and masculinity.
I am a man, and I'm so insecure. I'm so insecure that I have to prove my masculinity every step of the way, whether through my pumped up muscles or by whipping out my penis at every opportunity I get (the bigger, the better). I talk street and I talk cars. I have so many privileges that I will not trade for anything. I'm aware of all these privileges. See, being born with a penis gives me limitless privileges. I'll continue to bask in my privileges, and will choose to ignore the fact that being born with a penis is actually an accident. Oh no, I should not let the secrets spill.
Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
I can't let anyone know how insecure I am. I have to prove my masculinity to myself and more importantly, to other men, my bros (no homo). I have to show them that I'm virile, strong and a REAL man. For that I chug booze and talk cars. I work out like hell, because I have to look like a man. When I see girls on the street, I stare at them to make them uncomfortable. Their discomfort makes me feel like a man. That's the way it is, that HAS to be the way it is. Their discomfort boosts my masculinity. I whistle, pass comments, touch them inappropriately. I feel strong. That makes me a stud in front of my peers. The more promiscuous I am, the better it is for me—I won't be called a slut, whore or prostitute, no worries. Even if I am, that sounds like a cool tag.
But I'm insecure, and I should stop saying that (shush me). I laugh when my manly male friends make sexist jokes, even if I don't want to laugh. If I don't laugh, if I don't contribute by saying something sexist, dear lord, let's not even think what will happen to my reputation. So, we talk about body parts of women, we love songs and TV commercials that talk about and show body parts of women. Breasts, hips, lips—we cover it all. That's what real men do. Men who don't are faggots. Our brotherhood is a brotherhood of glory. We have to keep the torch shining. We have to pass on the torch (like our fathers did). We teach our younger brothers to be like us. We teach them how to not respect women, how to equate women with sex ALL THE TIME. We teach them how to be real men. We are so grateful for raunchy, sexist music on TV, it boosts our manly spirit. Such hot Bollywood actresses, dancing to please us men-- feels so nice. That's the way it should be, women should please us, on TV, in bed, everywhere. That's the norm. They should look hot for us. Thank goodness for these item numbers, I feel like a man. Oh have you listened to Honey Singh, the latest boss in the hood? He's joss. His lyrics are mind-blowing-- “Excuse me Miss, kis kis kis kiss se tu bhaagi gi?” (Excuse me Miss, but how many others will you run from?). Such lovely words, men like him keeps the torch shining.
Are you kidding me? Why will I stop my bros (no homo) from teasing women on the streets? I mean, I don't want to be called gay or a faggot. Besides, women don't mind a little bit of teasing. They love being coy. If they show repulsion or disgust or anxiety, it's just their way of saying that they want it more. Jeans or salwar kameez, they are all the same, and they all want the same thing. I mean, that's only natural isn't it?
So, my privileges, ah there are so many, where should I begin? I can do whatever I like on streets, and no one will raise a finger at me, because I'm a man, and it's only normal. If I gawk at a girl with my tongue out, it's only normal. I HAVE to do it, that's the way we keep the legacy of the brotherhood intact. I have to stick to my clan, to feel like a man, I hold onto my privileges, to feel like a man.
I have to hide the fact that reducing my unearned male privileges can enable the world to become a better place. I have to hide the fact that masculinity is actually an empty shell, and that it is very easy to defuse. We men feel like men, when women are at our feet, when they are in item numbers, when Honey Singh sings, when our bros (no homo) pat us on our backs and express their pride when we have slept with many women or when we lovingly tease a woman on the street. Oh, so many chores in order to feel like a man. But hey, at least I feel like a man. I mean, I am man.
(The writer is a Reporter, Star Campus, currently doing Master's in Gender Studies: Intersectionality and Change at Linköping University, Sweden.)