“For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.”

Apart from the obvious, better society being a better place to be in for everybody, what benefit has feminism got for men?

Well, feminism benefits everybody who is oppressed by Patriarchy.

Updated to add:   Of course there are men (and women) who are feminists and women (and men) who are misogynists.

This was shared by Chandan Saw on facebook, who shared it from here.

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong,
there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of being called “an emotional female”,
there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.

For every woman who is tired of being a sex object,
there is a man who must worry about his potency.

For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes,
there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation,
there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.

by Nancy Smith

Add more?

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An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

Where is the opportunity for Indian men to learn the most natural thing in the world – finding a mate??

Shravan Kumar takes his wife to London to bring back her smile…

Hasee toh Phasee : When a Bollywood hero is an Emotional Dhakkan.


46 thoughts on ““For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.”

  1. For every woman who is taught and forced to be a self-sacrificing martyr for the family or clan, there is a man who is taught and forced to martyr himself to protect his nation, land, wealth, tradition, religion and false sense of honour.


    • For every woman who is taught and forced to be a self-sacrificing martyr for the family or clan, there is a man who must sacrifice his interests and talents to be a Provider and Protector for his family and their Honor.


      • Thank you IHM 🙂 . You said what I meant better…clarifying my point about false honour. To me anything that isn’t right for all and yet made into a cause that is fought for, is a false sense of honour, examples would be, fighting/rioting/killing in the name of religion, fighting to keep traditions that oppress or discriminate against others.


  2. Mayb us women have found a voice for ourselves, its now time for men to speak up for their rights to weep and break the chains of their traditional roles and expectations and just be themselves.


  3. If for every woman who is suffering, there is a man who issuffering to meet expectations ( 1:1), we wouldn’t be in this situation. Men would be coming out to say, ‘ no I don’t want any power over woman, I don’t want to control women’ etc. Large majority of men enjoy it, it benefits them. Otherwise they would totally encourage and support any women empowerment.

    IHM, Howmany emails you got so far from men saying they don’t these expectations of power/protection from them compared to the number of emails you get from oppressed women?. We have few real men here like GVji( vanakaam sir), Satish, Bhagwad, Anil- they talk sense. they respect women, they are not afraid to show emotions.They can be counted on fingers when the large majority is on the other side.

    so I don’t get it..for every women..there is a man..


    • I agree so much with your last statement. While l agree that patriarchy affects women And men both, this is just stretching it way too far.


  4. I’m all in favor of acknowledging that patriarchy hurts men too, but drawing this kind of equivalence is really just appeasement towards oppressors, don’t you think? Feminists are always under a lot of pressure to make our message palatable to men, to stop making men uncomfortable by saying men have male privilege. I think making men and women out to be equally hurt by patriarchy is wrong, because it’s just not true. We’re only saying it to appease men.

    For every female fetus who is aborted for being female, there is a male fetus who is cherished and celebrated upon birth.

    For every girl forced to do her brother’s share of housework, there is a boy whose sister is doing his share of the housework.

    For every woman who is catcalled and sexually harassed in the streets, there is a man experiencing a power rush by catcalling her and sexually harassing her… and many many more men who are safe and have never experienced street harassment.

    For every woman who gives up her name, her home, her dreams, and her life to become a daughter-in-law, there is a man who benefits from his new domestic-and-sex-slave.

    For every woman who is discriminated against in the workplace, there is a man who reaps her share of promotions and raises.

    … and so on. Male privilege is real. Men are hurt in lots of ways by patriarchy, but don’t pretend men’s suffering is equal to women’s.


    • Nandini, you are right, more women are hurt than men, and the suffering of women is greater than that of men. So, yes, it’s worse for women in terms of quantity and intensity.

      However, acknowledging how patriarchy affects men is not appeasement. When we look deeply into a problem, it is always part of a whole. All the problems of patriarchy feed off of each other. If men started understanding that it is not their role in life to provide for an entire clan or bring in an obedient wife, if men instead pursued their own dreams (which may include choosing not to marry or marry someone they choose or choosing not to procreate), that would dilute the power of patriarchy.

      If men don’t have to be so macho, then women don’t have to be so docile. If men don’t have to always provide, then women can sometimes provide, and male child preference goes down. If more men could stay home and take care of the kids while not feeling inferior, more women can go out and work, without feeling selfish.

      Just as older women in a joint family (who exercise some power but toe the line sometimes) are the foot soldiers of patriarchy, men too (with their special status that is conditional on what they bring in to the clan) are also foot soldiers. Yes, the birth of a male child is celebrated, but, for all the wrong reasons, none of which include unconditional love.

      Freeing up men of stereotypes frees up women of stereotypes too. We don’t have to be so polarized into feminine and masculine. Instead we would start seeing people as individuals with unique preferences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s acknowledgement. And then there’s appeasement and pandering. This piece seems to say that men are equal victims of patriarchy. To that l say what crap!

        No there isn’t a man suffering for each woman oppressed. A man is usually the *reason* a woman is oppressed. Whether the man directly acts or indirectly contributes by refusing to act where he sees iinjustice, who benefits? if men are equally affected by patriarchy, why aren’t they saying anything?

        Let’s not demean the fight for equal rights by confusing gender roles for patriarchy. Men suffer from gender stereotypes, yes. But that’s not all Of patriarchy. this piece is trying too hard to be “we’re in this together”. Sorry. We’re not.


        • Hi SB,
          I like the way you express yourself and I’m in agreement with your views most of the time. Here, however, I disagree.

          “No there isn’t a man suffering for each woman oppressed.”
          True, if taken literally. Here, (I think) the ‘every woman, every man’ structure was used to simply give a sort of rhythm to the lines. Also, the implication may be that every time a woman is made to give up something, a man pays for it in a more subtle way. As in, a woman who is denied the right to education or a supportive workplace, cannot step in when there’s a financial crisis in the family, and it becomes the man’s problem alone, to find a solution.

          “if men are equally affected by patriarchy, why aren’t they saying anything?”
          For the same reason that the majority of women who suffer due to patriarchy don’t say anything. It’s called social conditioning, and it’s powerful. Many men may not feel very good about themselves when they choose not to marry or go into non-lucrative fields of study, want to include their wives’ opinions into the decision making, or happen to be gay – they may feel inadequate when they express/engage in these things. Which male fits the patriarchal ideal? Very few do, and the rest struggle with their pretenses, their guilt, their low self esteem. Just as women feel guilty when they work long hours or feel obligated to keep their parents happy because they’ve been “given” an education and a bit of freedom. I’m not saying the guilt is right, but most people succumb to social pressure.

          “this piece is trying too hard to be “we’re in this together””
          Actually, I feel, we are. Whether we like it or not. How men feel about themselves has a direct impact on women’s lives and vice versa. A society of kinder, gentler, wiser, more secure men has a direct impact on women’s rights. This is no way forgives those men who clearly misuse their special status to inflict pain and suffering on women. But there are also many men who clearly don’t understand the pawn like role they’re playing in the patriarchy game. Their losses are more subtle than women’s blatant losses. It is in the best interests of society overall (for both men and women) if men are made aware of their contribution to a system, that in the end, benefits none but very very few.


      • I understand and agree. My objection is to the clear implication of this piece that patriarchy hurts men EQUALLY, just as much as it hurts women. This piece says “for every woman who suffers, there is also a man who suffers.” That’s not only wrong, that is downright anti-feminist to say that.

        None of this means patriarchy does not hurt men at all. It totally does. I am in favor of acknowledging that and fighting on the side of men, too. But I will always raise an objection to anything that says or implies that men are hurt the same as women.


  5. @ Shy @ Nandini – Not denying male privilege – but just like Patriarchy empowers Mothers of a Budhape Ka Sahara (women) but controls the lives of Shravan Kumars (who are men in a patriarchal society, and who might fight for their right to sacrifice their personal happiness to make their parents/community/patriarchy happy by marrying an obedient daughter in law and then controlling her choices to continue to keep her obedient and the community satisfied – in a patriarchal set up Shravan Kumars never know a healthy relationship with an equal partner), the same way Patriarchy also attempts to control fathers of future daughters in law. So, although fathers of paraya dhan are men, patriarchy oppresses them. Joru Ke Gulaam (being sarcastic) are men but they are oppressed by Patriarchy. Rejecting patriarchal values frees men to be themselves as much as it frees women. How many men are born to naturally fit into the definitions of an ideal Patriarchal male?

    Patriarchy also puts pressure on men to prove (or to pretend) they know everything (except sometimes babies and recipes) better than their wives and all other men. Patriarchy has created this stereotype of macho men in constant need to prove superiority and physical strength, through constant competition, rivalry, jealousies and aggression – to other men, not just to women.

    I think, everybody fulfills a role in a patriarchal set up – men benefit from being themselves as much as women do.


    • If patriarchy was so bad for men, we’d have Seen change a long time ago. ln reality, men pay a price for their prirvilage but obviously it’s worth the end result. This kind of writing demeans what billions of women go through at the hands of patriarchy.

      Power is a zero sum game. What one loses, another gains. let’s not lose sight of the big picture, shall we?


        • we’re looking for power in our own lives. not over men. guess who holds the power to control lives right now? hint: it’s not most women.


      • and since I seem to have a rather unpopular viewpoint, wanted to elaborate. in India:

        fathers of daughters are also expected to be fathers of sons so it is socially expected that things will “even out”

        men are not the keepers of a family’s honour. Women are.

        What are the consequences of not living up to gender stereotypes? The wife of a jkg is as badly labelled as the man himself. Maybe worse. ln other words, when a man fails to live up to expectations, it’s still a woman’s fault.

        Patriarchy, by limiting the rights of women, pits them against each other. Does this happen to men?

        Yes, men will benefit if we fight against patriarchy. But the net effect we are looking for is a transfer Of power from men to women. l don’t think we can expect as many men to be happy about that as women. Bottom line.


    • My dad is a ‘closet atheist’. And the reason for this is that he has 3 daughters. He goes to Friday Namaz. Its not easy for a Muslim man with 3 daughters to be an atheist.


    • Indian men are so much conditioned that they actually don’t realize that they too are at receiving end. Likewise even many women are conditioned and they don’t realize the ills of patriarchy till some very untoward incident happens affecting them badly. As they grow old, patriarchy goes down deep into their conscious and they propagate it further to next generation without feeling guilty. When I talk to such people I realize that they take us as stupid fools when we talk against anti patriarchy. Unless there is some way to de-condition such people the fight against patriarchy seems very difficult.


    • > men benefit from being themselves as much as women do.

      Actually, this isn’t true. Men are on the whole going to give up a lot of benefits of the patriarchy by challenging it and “being themselves”. Men will experience a NET LOSS of power and privilege by fighting patriarchy and women will experience a NET GAIN – even though there are some benefits to men and some harms to women from fighting patriarchy. That’s what patriarchy is, it’s a system that grants power to men and takes away power from women. A world without patriarchy means a world where men enjoy a lot less power than they do today.

      I completely agree with you that patriarchy hurts men in many ways, all the ways you listed and more. I totally agree men stand to benefit in many ways from the end of patriarchy, the biggest way is probably that they can finally just be themselves instead of forcing themselves to fit into the “man box”.

      But I don’t think we should ever, even by implication, erase or minimise the difference between “you’ll finally be allowed to be yourself!” and “you’ll finally stop being murdered and raped and denied payment for work because of what gender you are!”

      This poem does erase and minimise this difference. It pretends that men suffer equally to women under patriarchy. That is a harmful and anti-feminist message!


  6. This is something I had posted on another site, a few months ago –

    What benefits does feminism have for men? – I’m going to answer this question taking a wide, all encompassing view of equality, picturing a Utopian society where difference of gender has few, if any consequences. Also, I’m going to think of individual benefits to men, rather than benefits to society as a whole. So to you, as a man, the benefits will include:

    1) As a child, you’ll be able to form equal friendships with girls. If you don’t enjoy stereotypical masculine activities, that will be okay – you can pursue whatever you wish to, poetry, ballet dance, gymnastics, etc. You won’t be restricted to football!

    2) You can grow your hair long, like pink, and have a wider variety of interests and options to present yourself to the world without fear of stigma or bullying. You can take pride in your appearance and take care of it, and not be labeled as effeminate or not masculine enough.

    3) In college you can take whichever subjects you truly enjoy rather than have to worry about picking those which are more likely to be remunerative. You can rest assured that earning a lot will not be a very important aspect of your date-ibility or marriageability.

    4) Women who are interested in you will ask you out. You don’t have to do all the pursuing. They will be less likely to play “games”.

    5)Women will be equally willing to pick up the tab on dates, and who foots the bill will be decided on economic capacity and fairness, not on gender. You’ll be able to date more because of this, and have more fun as well.

    6)Women will be less scared of facing negative repercussions for having sex and enjoying sex. They are more likely to be open about their desires. This benefits men as well as women.

    7) You do not have to bear the burden of being the breadwinner just because you’re a man. You can enjoy an equal and fulfilling marriage with your partner.

    8) You can take an interest in children and not be viewed as a sexual predator just because you’re a man. You can enjoy the company of women without them having to constantly be on their guard and be wary of you because sexual and physical violence against women is so rampant. You can thus enjoy an increased diversity and more opportunities in your experience in this world.

    9) You can take traditional female-career paths (if you prefer those) without having to face social ridicule, whether explicit or implicit. You could be a nurse, if that’s what appeals to you more. Or a schoolteacher. Or you could stay at home and be a homemaker, and take care of your children. It will be easier for you to take career breaks; you can take time off work and come home early to spend time with your kids. You can enjoy paternity leave, and be as involved with your kids as your wife/partner is.

    10) You can rest assured that your mother, wife, daughter, and every girl/woman you care about has the same opportunities and benefits as you do.


  7. I also wanted to mention that when we are discussing patriarchy’s impact on women in a given post, and someone responds by saying, “men have a hard time too, you know, not just women”, that’s called derailing the argument for women’s rights. When we discuss the impact of patriarchy on men as separate topic, as was done in this post, then it’s not undermining women’s struggle. It is a related, but separate topic. Related to women’s suffering, but separate from it. And it’s completely valid and relevant to discuss separate pieces of the patriarchy machine that contribute to the central problem.


    • I don’t think pointing out something that is factually wrong is derailing. This poem absolutely does set out to say that men suffer equally to women under patriarchy. That is not true, and pointing this out is not derailing.


      • Nandini, I did not say that your objection to this post is ‘derailing’. I said the opposite – when we are discussing patriarchy and women, and men bring up the ‘we’re hurt too’ argument, THAT’s derailing.
        Even though I disagree with your viewpoint on the lines – I felt that the lines meant for us to see the relationship between male and female stereotyping than trying to equate the two – your objection is not derailing, it is a valid point to bring up.


        • Actually usually men don’t feel the hurt due to very deep conditioning. Moreover since they are used against their own parents and sisters they hardly realize that they are being used up. The hurt of women due to patriarchy is more deep since she is used for the one’s who have never done any sacrifice for her in her life and she feels helpless for not being allowed to be helpful to her parents.who sacrificed a lot for her during her bringing up and wedding.


  8. i came here to see what kind of discussion is on on this post.
    and regarding the debate on appeasement and acknowledgment, i would just like to say that the formulation of the poetry in the form of “for every women…..there is a man” might not have intended to put on equal footing the sufferings of women and men due to patriarchy….and even if it would have intended so…..many men might not agree with such hypothesis….the poetry only tried to show another facet of the problem and suffering due to patriarchy…..i know that it will take atleast a few decade before some sort of equality is achieved by women in this society …..


  9. Yes.Patriarchy is bad for men.But not as bad as it is for women.That should be the bottom line.
    The other day, I heard a discussion.A woman was saying its good to nap in the afternoon for an hour so that we can wake up fresh and tackle the rest of the day.A guy went on to say that it was bad,against nature and that feeling of freshness is actually laziness and that mid day naps encourage laziness.
    .I am not saying anyone is right or wrong here.I am just noting that the man did not stop to think how different his life style is to hers,before deeming naps unfit.He probably wakes up,brushes teeth,goes to the loo,bathes,eats breakfast and goes to work.But a woman,wakes up,prepares lunches,breakfast,tidies up,runs around her kids,in laws,does the laundry,manages the domestic help,etc.See the differences in routines?
    Patriarchy allowed the man to make a statement easily about a nap being lazy.Patriarchy did not allow the woman to even voice her thoughts and explain why its important for her to take that one hour nap.She just shut her mouth,looked apologetic and said in a whisper,but it makes me feel rested and fresh.



    • I think the confusion here is regarding cause and effect. Male stereotypes contribute to female stereotypes. The former is partly the cause, the latter is the effect. It therefore makes sense to look at male stereotypes and minimize them as that would reduce the effect (stereotypes for women). No one is saying males suffer as much as females in a patrirachy. Unwilkingness to discuss the problem of male steretypes is refusing to see parts of the problem and hinders us from finding solutions to the significant problem of womens equality.


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  11. For every woman who is called unfeminine for being strong(mentally) there is this man who took advantage of her just because she did not speak up or just because she did not raise her voice.
    And i also should say that there is this man, who respected her for being strong and who loved her no matter what happened.
    Though i am unfortunate to have the earlier man in my life, i am equally fortunate to have this(2nd) person in my life as the first person’s actions resulted in a necessity of being strong and the 2nd one’s actions resulted in loving what i am.


  12. I did not know where else I could share my outrage, IHM. Two weeks back, I heard from a friend that her cousin had died and was suspected to have been murdered by her husband along with her elder daughter (aged 6). The second daughter (aged 4) was in a very serious condition in hospital. The case against the husband is not proved yet, it’s in a different country. The supposed reason behind the crime was that the wife had only been able to give him girl children. Both the husband and wife are educated enough to have a career in a different country and still this state of affairs. I have been so shaken since that day.. To read about something like this in a newspaper is so different from having to hear it from someone you know very well.


    • Good lord! That makes me sick to my stomach 😐

      When will it reach the ears of these idiots that the father determines the gender? The mother has zero Y chromosomes, thereby can NEVER contribute to the Y chromosome of an offspring. Too idealistic to expect people to understand basic science eh?


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