Patriarchal trauma has been passed down to us for centuries and has even been challenging for men. We cannot talk about eco-feminist concerns without valuing men as equals. It’s not about domination or superiority, it’s about harmony.
Embracing Harmony over Domination: The Sensitive Side of Masculinity | Priyanka Singh
The human existence is a sentient experience. If we weren’t capable of feeling and expressing our emotions, life would be hollow. We long for connection and a sense of belonging yet some of us are encouraged to show emotions while others to conceal them.
Women and men share a symbiotic relationship. Still, there is a polarity in the expectations of our existence. ‘The law of gender’ is one of twelve universal laws. Contrary to human judicial laws, these laws are applicable to all matter and energy. According to the law of gender, everything has feminine and masculine energy. Even a flower won’t bloom on this Earth without these energies. We are created in the feminine womb that is fertilized by masculine energy. Nature exists because these energies work together and make life thrive through procreation.
Regardless of our sex or gender, we all carry both masculine and feminine tendencies because we were created from them. We need both these elements to find a balance within ourselves.
However, men are directed to feel less, provide more and act like machines. According to the latest research, men feel as emotional as women do (Forbes), but they are conditioned to hide these feelings. ‘Men don’t cry’, ‘act like a man’, and ‘man up’, are some of the common catchphrases that we all have heard. Puberty is a difficult period for anyone but these sorts of catchphrases during adolescence and even through adulthood often lead to the toxic masculinity that creates a deep psychological impact on men, and thus society at large.
The ability to feel something is what makes our existence wholesome. It’s not only joy but also despair that is necessary. The Earth has both light and dark, so why should we expect to feel emotions only associated with light? Human life is incomplete without experiencing sadness. Imagine someone who never cried, the weight they carry in their heart must be unbearable. Tears are nature’s way of transforming human hearts, so a phrase like ‘men don’t cry’ seems unnatural.
Men often hide psychological problems and are reluctant to report symptoms (National Institute of Health) Between men and women, men would not seek therapy even in cases of severe depression, presumably because having a tough exterior is considered necessary in order to survive in our capitalist society—one that benefits from emotionless beings focused solely on productivity. Patriarchy is not a god-made phenomenon, it was created by man to benefit from their supremacy by dominating not only women, children and nature, but also other men. Toxic masculinity can intensify emotions of competitiveness, violence and aggressiveness rather than kinship and empathy. Even the strongest of men could be lonely because they are not able to move beyond their tough exterior and conventional norms.
Patriarchal society is overbearing for men, pressuring them to be dominant; to be the bread-winner. This pressure exists in all parts of the world, but in the global south men are more vulnerable. Climate change affects farmers, intensifying the feeling of helplessness, and increasing financial debt due to a lack of resources. The suicide rate in these parts of the world has increased in correlation to long periods of draught (The Guardian). In a patriarchal society that benefits from suppressing others and encourages dominant and aggressive behavior, men often become prone to suicide due to their inability to express emotions. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, ‘the global suicide rate is over twice as high among men than women’.
Men are considered the providers while women are supposed to be the nurturers. Our viewpoints have been twisted and narrated to fit the patriarchal system. The idea that men were hunters and women were gatherers is also being challenged now. Prehistoric burial sites in Peru have discovered women with hunting tools. “Hunting would likely require as many able-bodied adults as possible to increase safety and efficiency—regardless of their biological sex”, said Kathleen Sterling, Archaeologist at Binghamton University (via National Geographic).
Any willing human being can be a nurturer, regardless of their sex. It’s up to us to look beyond the rigid and binary division of emotional and physical ways of being.
The participation of women and non-binary communities is more notable in climate justice movements, and they are more willing to change their lifestyle if required. However, the lack of presence of men is not entirely a coincidence. They are conditioned to care less and to numb their emotions. Because climate change is affecting us all, we cannot expect to find solutions without being inclusive.
As much as we need men to participate in the movement, we must also provide them a safe space to be their sensitive selves, and to share their vulnerabilities and concerns with acceptance. We must embrace the sensitive side of masculinity.
We all have a connection to Earth, regardless of our sex or gender. The inability to understand this connection is a source of grief that leads to the suffering of human and non-human life. We are all interconnected and we must take this journey towards an understanding of ‘Oneness’. When we finally begin to trust each other beyond all barriers of race, religion and gender, we may then find the ability to tune in to the source of life. It’s easy to fear the unknown and see something different from us as threatening. For too long it’s been about men against women, men against queer communities, men against men, and men against nature. Now it’s time to acknowledge that there are also men who support others, and each other, with their strength and sensitivities, and with pure intentions of being a protector and provider.
It takes serious courage to change the conditioned mind and we must change these narratives to bring generational healing for everyone. Patriarchal trauma has been passed down to us for centuries and has even been challenging for men. We cannot talk about eco-feminist concerns without valuing men as equals. It’s not about domination or superiority, it’s about harmony.
Art Direction and Words by Priyanka Singh @priyanka.parihar16
Photography by Irbaz Ali @Irbaaaaz
Featuring Nikhil Upadhyay @nikhil.upadhyayy