You must be wondering how this topic is valid to discuss as a Pride Month special but indeed this is as important as talking about queer community in June because this month also marks the significance of promoting the wellness of men in our society, especially the ones who always suppress themselves under various gender roles, social statuses, societal influences, traditional approaches, cultural norms, physical appearances, personal affairs and psychological stabilities. We all say men will be men but have we ever thought about why men want to fall under that particular roof where they satisfy everyone around to believe them as men but nothing else? Is there any particular set of rules for being a man?
Regrettably yes! Not rules but typically drafted stereotypes that celebrate masculinity in a restricted form with extreme rigidity of being strong and emotionally unavailable. We live in a society where parents raise their male kids by saying, "Boys don't cry" even though those kids suffer both physical and mental pain, only to make them sturdy enough and to imbibe toxic masculinity. Of course, in this current, modern scenario, things have changed drastically and men started to embrace emotions the way they are but deep down they always think about those very stereotypes forced by society, men from previous generations and sometimes masculine traits that only depict being unaffected regardless of situations.
Society has designed a particular protocol for men to behave in a particular way including their gestures, postures, dressing patterns and even the colours they must choose. From a female perspective, living in a man's world is easier because everything is available, allowed and accepted but it doesn't feel that way until and unless a person gets into the shoes of a man to live like a man according to the very societal expectations. A man's mental health issues are mainly caused by these stereotypical norms:
The portrayal of vulnerability is invariably gets considered a weakness but practically it eases a man to feel emotionally right.
Sharing one's troubles always gets treated as a sign of dependence but indeed it is a sign of relieving stress that every man must consider in the process of clearing difficulties.
Shedding tears while encountering hardships makes a man feel less manly by the people around but the question is, why can't a man cry in those extreme situations that any human feels hard to bear?
Toxic masculinity gets celebrated by people around as if it is exceptional for a man to behave toxically even though everyone knows that man is flawed. But why? Are we used to such behavioural patterns from ancient times or else are we encouraging men to be that way, especially mothers?
Free-spirited bringing up is always observed as reckless parenting when it comes to a male child because the world expects parents to be tough on their sons. Unfortunately, all the toughness vanishes off when a son hits puberty and from there his behaviours will be tolerated no matter what instead of corrected and sorted to be an upright gentleman.
Chivalrous men are directed forcefully under a dilemma and confusion because a few feminists don't want men to open the doors for them, pay bills for them and shower princely behaviour as strong support systems but on the contrary, women also want the same men to behave with all love, passion and affection. Should they be gentle or harsh with a woman?
Everyone desires a gentleman but no one advises how a man to be gentle enough. Ironically, the society that forces a man to hide one's emotions and act tough, also expects that man to be gentle, well-mannered and well-behaved. This stereotypical norm of making a man stoic often makes a man unbearable, unpredictable and untameable.
The showcase of love and affection is habitually gets considered feminine and female-inclined which is such a wrong perception that affects a man to behave like a senseless person who doesn't show whatever he feels for another person.
Brotherhood is always about protecting sisters and younger siblings but it is never about taking care of those very brothers emotionally and psychologically in return because the elder brothers or elder sons are always pushed on the giving side and always expected to be strong pillars even though they crumble internally.
Two males can't express love and affection without getting considered gay or homosexual; we live in such a disgusting society where bromance is depicted wrongly even though there's nothing sexual between those two males. Why are we so rude and rigid towards men unlike how we stay unaffected when two females hang out regularly having girls' time or whatever?
Speaking of men being romantic towards other men; if the scenario of straight men is being this rigid in society regarding one's whole masculine personality, then don't you think it gets tougher for gay men for their choice of romantic partners, choice of dressing patterns, choice of colour palettes, choice of being effeminate, choice of being outspoken and open about one's sexual identity, choice of being unisexual, choice of being themselves as gay men but still society don't consider them as men at all as they don't fit in the stereotypical boxes of being a true tough man.
Until and unless these stereotypes get eradicated from society by making masculinity embrace the feasibility and flexibility of leading one's life on one's right choices, things won't change and men always suffer dealing with their mental health issues. Surprisingly, no one wants to talk about it because many believe that men don't face mental health issues, which is the saddest thing possible in today's life and lifestyle scenario. Men become strong not only with their muscle strength but also their mental stability because men aren't inevitably about bodies to facilitate reproduction. Their mental health matters for society to run stress-free, crime-free and care-free. Embrace it accordingly!