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Saturday, 31 October 2020

Be A Man! -by Meenu Ahuja

What does this mean to you? What does it mean to be a MAN? In fact, who is a MAN, really? Is it really just a gender? Well, Yes and No. Yes, because factually, a Male person is called a Man. No, because we, as a society have associated the word Man with so many labels, that it’s no more just about being a Male, it now means being Macho, Stoic, Invulnerable, powerful, unemotional, Strong hearted, bread earner,  etc.. From the very beginning, we are taught this definition, if not directly, then definitely indirectly.

Be a Man”

“Grow a pair”

“Boys don’t cry”

“Boys don’t feel pain”

“You are a ballet dancer?” “You are a cook?” “You are a nanny?” “Did you get your ear pierced?” “Have you put on make up?” – Do boys do that? Bleh! You are not man enough. Why don’t you play some sport, like football or cricket or basketball?

“He is a fashion designer. I bet he is gay”

“Why are you wearing pink? It’s not a manly color. You should wear bold colors like Blue or Black or Grey”

“Neither do you have a beard nor a mustache, are you even a guy?”

“You know, you are too lean. You should join a gym and build a physique. Look like a man.”

“(Hushed) He has erectile dysfunction. Who will respect or love him as a man? He isn’t masculine enough!”

“He is impotent. Who even considers him a Man?”

“Study well, get a stable job. You’re the man of the house and you need to fend for the family”

“Get a well paid job, else you won’t find a decent girl to marry”

When we direct such statements towards any male, we instill in them an image of what an ideal male should be, due to which they adapt these personality traits that don’t truly define them, but we make them believe should be their characteristics. During this process of adaption, they either lock up their emotional self deep down and become stone hearted or just start faking their strength.

This stigma of Men being unemotional and stoic, has not just given rise to patriarchy, but for those who refused to be a prey to patriarchy, this has become a major source of mental health issues. When we give these men a painted picture of what masculinity should be according to us, they tend to hide their feelings, emotions, vulnerabilities, etc in order to not be seen as a weak person because we as a society failed to make them feel secure about sharing and talking. More often than not, we judge them, overlook their feelings and call them a weakling if they show even a single sign of vulnerabilities or emotions.

Even if they do share their feelings, they don’t have many people to share them with as they can’t trust everyone enough to listen them, and understand them without judging and mocking them and hence, despite feeling so many emotions, they act as if they are deprived of them.

While we are trying to destigmatize the taboo of Mental Health, we need to understand that this taboo is worse for men and they too are just humans made up of the same composition of emotions and rationale. We need to adapt the thought that the emotional wavelength of men need not be the strongest and they too can be vulnerable, and sensitive and that does not make them weak, neither does it make them any less masculine. Being a man does not mean that they need to shove their feelings down the carpet.

Let’s start with redefining what a MAN is, shall we?

A MAN is a human who has feelings, can be vulnerable, weak, sensitive, emotional, etc. These are what the characteristics a human should have and so a man should also be able to express them without the fear of judgement.

Let’s start by accepting that men feel pain, physical as well as emotional, men too can shed tears, men can be anything they want, they can wear pink, they can choose to not have a beard, how their body looks is their choice. They are not labelled and their feelings and choices are not a measure of their masculinity.

Let’s let our men know that we hear them, understand them and are there for them. Expressing their feelings, showing their vulnerabilities, and letting their guards down is what makes them strong and that is how we see them.

To all men out there, please start sharing and expressing yourself to your closest people and if you are still not comfortable, please seek professional help. Talking will take all the burden off you.




Meenu Ahuja 

About Author: Meenu is a Commerce graduate with an experience of more than 2.5 years in the same field. She is passionate about mental health, Social Psychology and Stigmas with an aspiration to become a Counselor after doing her Masters in Psychology. She loves reading, writing and is a fan of Sitcoms and movies.



  1. Be a man else what will the society say. Very well put into words Meenu.

  2. Beautifully expressed. Less touched topic but seems you are different and amazing too

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