January 6, 2021 at 10:58 am #3042Huong NguyenKeymaster
Assignment 4, Male Roles in Society!
A role is a concept defined by people. When a person has a role, a person has to behave, work, represent that role visibly in the eyes of people. That is how our society works. People in our society collectively provided roles for everyone in every situation. These roles became obligations, duties, beliefs, and leading factors for a person. Males display roles in society. They do not usually cry in front of people. They do so call man jobs. They show little emotions. A male is expected to live as a manly man for and in society. But it is not right, and change can happen. A male is a whole lot more than a lion that is in a position to fight each other for pride, always. The conservation between man can be more than boots, babes, and backs. To be a strong and normal man, a male does not need to be smelly, dirty, porn addict, lazy, drug user, rude, angry, unintelligent, and troublesome. A male can treat a female with respect rather than as an object. A male can protect and be protected. A male can have any career they want. These are all choices, but our societies do not allow it at all.
Topic – 1
Stereotypes and Cultures
Stereotypes can hurt males. Culture can hurt males. This topic will highlight stereotypes and culture that can hurt males in Myanmar. Besides, the breakdown of the mentioned stereotypes will come. And discussion on changing them will carry on.
Identifying Male Stereotypes in Myanmar
Traditional Burmese saying, “The hen’s crow will never bring the dawn”. A regular Burmese concept, “Husband do the business, Wife keeps the house”. Overall, Myanmar society favors males. Another traditional Burmese saying, “Husband is god, the son is master”. These sayings and concepts are still using popularly in modern Myanmar as the same as old Burma. Myanmar society, in general, sees the man as a superior. Society assigns males to do the outside job. If a male cook at home or clean the house (even just on one occasion), society will judge that family. If a male shows a weak sign of having toxic masculinity, he is weak. These stereotypes occur because the social learning process is very close and slow in Myanmar. These stereotypes occur because they give a quick and common sense of role for society regarding the situation of males in society.
Breaking-down aforesaid Stereotypes in Myanmar
Breaking-down stereotypes in a difficult job. But doing that is important after identifying stereotypes because it will provide a different element that is wrong with the thinking process of society which is hard to see as a whole. The Husband does the business, the Wife keeps the house is a regular Burmese conception and if a male is keeping the house instead of going out for business, society will think that male is wrong or not taking the role, seriously. How did this assumption occur is an interesting case? Firstly, understanding the scene of seriousness that society expects males to take is important. Society thinks throwing the garbage out of the house or the yard work is acceptable. When it comes to carrying the baby, shopping in bazaar or market, cooking, ironing, doing the dishes, and others then it is a problem. These became the jobs males do not have to do anything with. There are two main factors behind that and both of them are interrelated. The first one is society thinks males are better for office work rather than housework. The second one is society thinks females are better for housework rather than office work. In linkage, the stereotypes like males do tough jobs outside where females do soft jobs appeared clearly in society. But in reality, for example, taking care of a baby is one of the tiring jobs in the world. And a dad’s role is very important in nurturing a child. If a dad is living with male roles set by stereotypes of society, the child development will face difficult issues. The family relation, the image of the family, and tangible as well as intangible costs will occur. Overall, the Husband does the business, Wife keeps the house which is one of the male stereotypes in Myanmar holds the consequences like injustices and sufferings in a family.
Changing the Points of Views
One very clear thing is the society did not strategically consider theories of fairness, justice, or others while making assumptions about aforesaid stereotypes. Most of them accept and live these stereotypes without even themselves knowing that these cause pains and sufferings for a lot of the people. So, changing the points of views should not be a difficult job but it will not be easy as well. To continue with the mentioned Burmese conception, the husband does the business, the Wife keeps the house as an example, both of them should start the change to break the stereotypes about it. Firstly, the husband starts questioning his thoughts upon the male stereotypes of society, simply.
1. What if I change the baby diapers?
2. What if I tell the bedtime story for the kid?
3. What if I go grocery shopping?
4. What if I attend a teachers-parents meeting?
5. What if I do the half of laundry and dishes?
If the work appeared after these what if-es, then it is the change. There is no denying that the judging eyes will appear but the support from the wife and the love from the kids is a lot stronger to deny them. On the other hand, the husband can also ask and allow the wife to have a career. The modern has a better understanding in these days. But changing their stereotypes need strong males and females. The next challenge is changing the point of view of the older generations. Even though middle age and working people have the knowledge and courage to accept the change, the elders have some resistance. The most important thing is “the talk”. The following are some tricks to make “the talk” work.
1. Right time, right place
2. Show that you care
3. Use humor
4. Appreciate their experiences
5. Highlight the benefits with respect
If we show them these stereotypes are harming younger generations and the change can make it better, they will accept it within a time dimension. These tricks work with anyone.
Topic – 2
Healthy versus Toxic Masculinity
Emotion, compassion, strength, ego, blaming, giving, and taking is important factors for a living male. Males have qualities and characters, and society tends to judge on how they showcase these factors. Imagine there are two males in a room where one is highlighting aggressiveness and domination while the other is highlighting respect and fairness. What is the difference between these two? One clear thing is both of them are not inherently wrong with what they highlight as their qualities and characters. The difference is the masculinity spectrum because one is showcasing a more toxic aspect of masculinity while the other is showcasing a healthy aspect of masculinity.
Toxic Masculinity in Today Society
As mentioned above toxic or healthy masculinity is not inherent. So, the question is that it is socialized violence or not. Before the answer to it is socialized or not, understanding toxic masculinity in today’s society is very important. A guy is crying and an elder is talking that boy to stop crying and to act like a man which is not to cry. This guy cried because he got bad results or got bullied or fight with his loved ones or facing a mental health challenge or his father died or can be a whole lot of other things. The experience of stress, depression, vulnerabilities are a part of being a human. But males are forced to hide these things with toxic masculinity. So, toxic masculinity is still evident in today’s society. There is no denying that traits like being strong or having control are very good traits. But the toxic extreme is very bad and the society thinking it is right is what makes it even worse. Moreover, there is one thing that needs to occur. And that is unlearning this toxic masculinity in modern society.
Unlearning Toxic Masculinity
It will not be always easy to unlearn a thing that is widely accepted at a societal level. Individuals who have experience changing their bad habits understand how uncomfortable and challenging it is. But according to the observation, movement is requiring. Three levels require to unlearn toxic masculinity. One is at the personal level that is a male, himself. The next level is the environment of that male that is partner, children, family, and the people who work with that male. The final level is the society who agree or assume the existence of toxic masculinity. The learning process is difficult, but the message is clear because it is one thing that was mentioned above, respect and fairness. To unlearn and left the toxic side of masculinity, the beauty and benefits of healthy masculinity must showcase. If a male understands that society will shame him if he uses physical strength to oppress the weaker ones instead of supporting them then the male will unlearn the bad behavior within a time.
Shifting from Toxic to Healthy Masculinity
A shift from toxic to healthy masculinity must occur because it will bring benefits to our society and healthy masculinity is beautiful. The most relevant example of that is the Kectil male promise leader pledge. As a male finding a female attractive is natural. But believing that he just can put his hands on her because he like her, and he has the power of toxic masculinity is wrong. The Kectil pledge instead highlights the healthy aspect of it which is the responsibility with a simple question, “If I am with this female and she gets pregnant, would I be willing to take care of her and the baby with a full commitment?”. The consequence of that question is tremendous. Next, agreeing not to hit or physically attacking a female and to protect a female at risk highlight the beauty of healthy masculinity that contribute to our society. A shift like Kectil male leaders pledge is very useful for our society.
Benefits of Integrating Healthy Masculinity into a Community
Imagine a society where a male respect a female. Imagine a society where relationships have values. Imagine a society where one protects and supports the other. Is that beautiful? That beautiful society will create and sustain the positive things rather than destroying them. The daily experience of males and females will become more enjoyable. The anger will no longer stand as an allowable excuse for abusive behaviors. If individuals are comfortable, society will happy. If the society is happy with values, respect towards one another then the political environment will have better movements, the economic environment will have more productivity and the socio-cultural environment have more purposeful actions.
Enhancing Healthy Masculinity Practices in Communities
The issue of integrating masculinity into communities is a lot important these days. By just consider a home with a male with toxic masculinity in isolation with the family under lockdown rules during the global pandemic. That male showing even just a little amount of toxic masculinity sense can bring darkness to that home. This is one of the visible examples revealing the importance of enhancing and embracing the practices in communities. One of the ways to enhance healthy masculinity is to completely stop everyday violence that deals with toxic masculinity. The appropriate programs and interventions engaging males in the promotion of gender equality gender including norms, masculinities, and challenges should deliver. This experience should have unequal gender power relations that privilege men or subordinate women experimental designs and measurable outcome with strong evidence. The indication of success is when male realizes they have the rights and responsibilities to the society and when the society understand the male’s role is more than being a tough guy.
Topic – 3
Males Using Innate Skills to Protect Females and Advance Society
Improving societies is one common goal of males and females. Masculinity and femininity play a major role in a male relation with society. From the aspect of many science scholars, the male can protect females and advance society by using their innate skills. The discussion of topics 1 and 2 highly linked with the social aspect but this discussion of topic 3 will focus on the innate skills of a male.
Natural Abilities of Men
When talking about innate skills, these can relate to attitude, preference, philosophy, and many more. Before starting anything both innate abilities of male and female are given by God and they are beautiful in their way. Loosely saying, males tend to start the action as a base reaction, competitive, power-focus, linear, helpful, kind, gentle, and have strong physical nature. These are very unique skills if the understanding upon the power-focus and good leadership thinking combined, that male will contribute the good things for society. Similarly, the realization to care for females and strong physical nature combined, that male will protect females from risky situations.
Male with the quality value the females and respect society. One of the best examples is the #HeforShe campaign on the internet or males supporting the #metoo campaign. These things are very beautiful. Male using their voice to make changes in our society. Next, we can often a man carrying a baby while walking together with his wife. These men are also using their innate ability kindness. We can also see male leaders leading the world with a more participatory style and caring for society rather than power and control. No matter what the situation or context is, there is one similar pattern in these males and that is they portray their capabilities as a gentleman rather than a toxic one.
Impacts of Women Liberation Movements on Males in Myanmar
First thing first more and stronger women liberation movements are needing in Myanmar. A few are starting to get forces but a long way to go because talking about equality in a country where women cannot go to some public and religious places simply because they are women is difficult. The cultural barrier, the view of religion, the long-accepted rules, and many more are barriers to break down. The opinion might different but the power reaching to state counselor of Myanmar, Aung San Su Kyi is the most impactful one for Myanmar. The male leaders of the military-controlled the country from 1962 to 2011 (still military is holding 25% of power) as a military dictatorship. The win of Aung San Su Kyi led party is a change and new hope for the country. The country is now on the track to betterment. And this was one of the noticeable changes in country history with a lot of positive impacts and influences for the future. Now, a female leader is continuing in leading Myanmar.
An Outstanding Young Male
I remember discussing at the Kecil male child webinar with other Kectil colleagues about the lack of good male figures in our generation. In every sector, the thing has changed. We no longer have the leaders like Gandhi, Lincoln, Mohamed Ali, Presley, and more. A lot of young males in my country are decided to be a part of the change to build an equal society that is run by respect and common values. They are using their abilities to fight the society that says males have to angry. No matter who that male is if he practices above mentioned healthy values he is an outstanding male to me.
Men and Women Working Together
A top male song in 1959 by Paul Anka
“Put your head on my shoulder
Hold me in your arms baby
Squeeze me oh-so-tight Show me
that you love me too”
A top male song in 2020 by Justin Bieber
“Yeah, you got that
That yummy yum”
A top female song in 1967 by Aretha Franklin
“What you need do you know I got it?
all I am asking is for a little respect”
A top female song in 2020 by Cardi B
“Yeah, you f**ing with some wet-a** pu**y
Bring a bucket and a mop
for this wet-a** pu**y”
Things have changed in both the way men see women and the way women see men. It is sad. This is not what our generation should work on. Treating a woman as a lover by letting her put her head on his shoulder to tell her that she got yummy repeatedly. Asking a man to respect a woman to tell him that he is f**ing with some wet-a** pu**y. Men and women need to work urgently and hard together to build a respectful society and loving society because that kind of society is more valuable than the society of Yummy WAP.
An Ideal Women Liberation Movement
Currently, Myanmar is running 16-day activism against gender-based violence campaign under the global theme of the orange world: fund, respond, prevent, collect. This movement is very ideal because under the lockdown measures that bullies, violence, abuses towards females are alarming as mentioned in topic – 2. No matter the world is pandemic or not, no human deserves any kind of violence and society must be free and safe. This movement represents these values to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts, and share knowledge and innovations. And that is what it makes unique. More women’s liberation movement is in need and demand.
The panel discussion about Kectil male pledge happened via zoom with 7 speakers from different part of the world. The panel completely agrees with the pledge. The tactics like encouraging males to take Kectil Male Promise were discussed including promoting it in many ways physically and virtually. The panel suggested that the view of respect and equality are needing in the promise and the promise itself portray the female are weak. The panel make promises and logical steps to take to protect females from risky situations.
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