27 ways in which Patriarchy harms men.

Sharing this comment by thoughtpower in response to the previous post.

I think patriarchy harms men as well but many people don’t even realize so and are happy with current setup.

I would be eager to know comments from readers of this blog.

Some challenges a man faces:

1. Expected to be breadwinner and cannot choose career of his choice
2. Cannot choose to be home maker
3. Not suitable for marriage unless he finds a job.
4. Cannot watch emotional dramas or display certain emotions
5. Cannot wear ” colorful clothes”
6. Expected to shoulder unfair responsibility as elder son
7. Not accepted if physically weak
8. Looked down upon if they choose certain professions.
9. Expected to do all the work outside home.
10. Unfair labels when he chooses to treat wife as equal partner
11. Unfair expectations to keep pleasing parents
12. Not allowed to be a doting type of father
13. Earn/study more than his partner
14. No say in aesthetics of house decoration
15. Expected to learn driving and drop/pick others even when a female family member is equipped to do that
16. Struggle in reporting sexual harassment
17. Limited career opportunities as male sex workers because female sexuality is repressed.
18. Looked down while expressing dislike for sports/violence/cars
19. High expectations due to male stereotyping on how to win over a girls heart and so called Mardangi.
20. Decision to not have kids gets difficult due to unfair burden of carrying family name
21. Financial success as chief barometer of a man’s success
22. Paternal leave for longer duration looked down upon
23. Cannot marry a woman older than him
24. Patriarchy effects men and women in different ways. Deep rooted belief in some women that patriarchy doesn’t affect men at all.
25 Father of daughter expected to shell out his hard earned money to son in laws or as dowry.
26. For someone really interested in good relationships, being too close to relatives on the spouse side looked down.
27. If only parents were as happy with happily married sons as they are with happily married daughters. Treatment of daughter’s spouse versus treatment of the spouse of the son.

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34 thoughts on “27 ways in which Patriarchy harms men.

  1. A couple of points more:
    1. Accepting help from someone, particularly a woman, is seen as demeaning or emasculating.
    (I’ve been in situations where guys got offended and thought I was humiliating them when I tried to help carry a suitcase or offered them a jacket when it was cold. On another occasion, one of my co-passengers in a train was new to the place, didnt know the local language, and it was late at night so I told him I would help him find an auto to his destination for the proper fare. He accepted my help gladly but after that the rest of the passengers kept sniggering at him for the rest of journey. This definitely would not have happened if as the genders were reversed)

    2. Always expected to take the lead in relationships i.e. asking somebody out or proposing

    3. Expected to be hypersexual all the time and mocked if not. (Particularly common in young college guys).


    • Like pt 3: You can’t be standing with a bunch of guys and ignore or not appreciate or not comment on a beautiful girl passing by. You must dissect every inch of her body.

      You cannot give your wife a glass of water. You do that and you get tagged as ‘Domesticated’.
      You can’t be sitting behind on a scooter or M’cycle or on the sit next to the driver’s seat with a women driving.
      A working wife sharing some of the household expenses is not acceptable. ‘Biwi se paisa leta hai’
      Everything you do you have to do as a couple. If i go motorcycling with my friends for a few days and my wife wouldn’t join me – because she isn’t fond of riding – it means – ‘kuch to locha hai’.
      If my wife goes on a vacation with her girl friends it means – ‘biwi control mein nahi hai.’

      It would be a long list…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree. I’ve seen men in my extended family punished (emotionally, socially) for making individual/unconventional choices. I also think the liberation of men from patriarchal setups is very much tied to the liberation of women from the very same. My thoughts on this are here

    Having said that though, the suffering of women is far more wide spread and more intense than the price men pay in patriarchy. So, then why do men not fight patriarchy, considering they are less oppressed?

    Recently, a Japanese colleague of mine said that he had made it clear that he did not want a “working wife” to the women he dated, so his wife does not work. When I asked him why he he did not want his future wife to work he said, “I like to travel, get drunk, hang out with other guys, watch sports, do all the guy stuff. We can’t BOTH do that. Someone’s gotta be there for the kids.”
    Then I asked him why did he want to get married and have kids? Why not just “hang out in bars, watch sports, etc.”?
    he said, “I have to get married, because otherwise my parents would be devastated.”
    I did not take this conversation any further but it seemed to me that he was a product of conditioning in a very patriarchal society. And by not standing up against it and imprisoning himself, he is imprisoning someone else, someone far less privileged than him.

    One of our friends is going through a divorce right now because he has finally come out as gay. While I empathize with his suffering and how his parents have shunned him since receiving the news, he also has some responsibility as an adult – why marry a woman and have kids to please his parents and mess up her life?
    This is why many women find it hard to feel empathetic to men’s suffering. If they suffer by themselves, then we can empathize, but if they suffer, can’t speak up, and take someone else down with them, then that doesn’t evoke empathy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And I’m not saying all men are like this. My cousin, now 32, has declared to his parents that he will never get married and has no interest in the concept. They subject him to a lot of emotional abuse, with daily threats of heart failure, suicide, etc. He has to be in daily touch with them because they are not doing so great in terms of health and he is an only child. He takes care of their needs, but he has stood firm on his decision. It must be so hard to put up with abuse while taking care of the abuser. I appreciate the fact that no matter how hard it is, he has not gone and ruined someone else’s life.


  3. Interesting list indeed.
    Here are my comments against some of them.

    2. Cannot choose to be home maker.

    True. Unless one is retired, he will be ridiculed if, for some reason a man agrees to be a stay at home hubby and look after the kids. I did come across a couple where this arrangement was in place secretly but they hid the fact by saying that the hubby had a work from home kind of job! The truth was the hubby had ancestral sources of income, did not need to work, and was, at the age of 40 fed up with the profession he had been in and wanted a new life and agreed to stay home, manage his household, be available for the children all the time while his wife who was a committed career woman, continued with her job.

    4. Cannot watch emotional dramas or display certain emotions
    Tears are taboo!

    5. Cannot wear ”colorful clothes”
    He will be ridiculed if he fancies pink, canary yellow, or pista green! These are supposed to be “mahila colours”

    7. Not accepted if physically weak
    Not only that. He is expected to grow taller than his female siblings.

    8. Looked down upon if they choose certain professions
    Or choose certain hobbies like classical dance.

    10. Unfair labels when he chooses to treat wife as equal partner
    Joru ka ghulaam, hen – pecked –husband etc are the usual terms bandied about.

    12. Not allowed to be a doting type of father
    So true. I have often heard women threatening naughty kids “You just wait till Daddy gets home!”

    16. Struggle in reporting sexual harassment
    A man is vulnerable here. Any evil minded woman, (rare of course) can easily bring a charge of molestation against a man and public sympathy will be with the woman. I heard of an old story of a woman who had a grudge against a male colleague. She saw an opportunity to ruin him when they were by chance alone in an elevator. She ripped apart her blouse and came out screaming saying this male colleague had attempted to molest her. The man had a tough time convincing everyone he was innocent.

    23. Cannot marry a woman older than him
    And neither can the woman be taller !

    26. For someone really interested in good relationships, being too close to relatives on the spouse side looked down.
    So true. In my community, a man is expected to be stiff and formal with his in laws.

    I am sure this list can be expanded.
    Any additions?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 17. Limited career opportunities as male sex workers because female sexuality is repressed

    This one made a laugh a bit, but its an excellent point.
    The funny thing is, if you do some research, it slowly emerges that there are a sizeable number of male sex workers – but they’re only used by other men.

    I’d also like to add:
    17a. Bizarre ideas about female sexuality and the very nature of consensual sex – which can prevent some of them from developing genuine relationships.


  5. Agree with all your points .

    But I have one thought that being breadwinner has made them the most sought after resource in Indian and Asian culture. Because of this fact they wield all power and authority over most of the women in family and society. And women are prohibited from being breadwinner.


    • I would argue against that, being a breadwinner would not be possible without a woman taking care of the home. Indeed, the very reason a man can go out and earn money with no other worries is because of the homemaker. Also, money does not fulfill hunger. Food does, which the woman makes. And the woman is expected to take care of the man after he comes home. Without this TLC, he would not be able to go out and earn money.



      • I will again say that being breadwinner has made them valuable resource. Its correct that money does not fulfill hunger but it can buy food (raw or cooked) which will fulfill hunger. Since he is a breadwinner hence need extra care and support. However women does not need it back.

        All comforts, praying and praising given to men are because of the fact that they are breadwinner and owner. And the owner creates the system for itself. How much we argue until unless majority women become breadwinner and wear the attitude of breadwinner, dynamics of system can not be changed.

        In West, the whole setup changed only when women joined workforce in large number. First time they had some money. Women forcefully changed the dynamic of society. It didn’t happened in one generation but in series of generation and series of feminist movement.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed ! Yet women end up doing most of household chores and child rearing even in the West ! With rise in single mothers,the amount of work women do without sufficient support in phenomenal in the west !
        India has no infrastructure to support working women, a support which is not a expensive urban rarity but a normal way of getting things done !
        So many women live with in laws in child bearing age hoping to have ready help in return for literally many liberties ! All this because moms never taught their sons to lift a finger and share the household work !


  6. Adding one more point to this excellent list –
    – not allowed to form meaningful adult relationships – for the majority of Indians, this comes through marriage. An Indian man is not allowed (by patriarchy) to go out for dinner with his wife or do something fun like skating or try something new like learning to dance (salsa/tango/etc.) So he has no opportunity to have a best friend, someone he can laugh with and learn with and discover new things with.
    – for those few men who don’t choose to marry, patriarchy doesn’t allow them to have relationships outside of marriage.
    Every human being needs emotional fulfillment and this fundamental need is denied in both of the above cases. In the former, it is denied by making the husband wife relationship entirely transactional (he earns, she cooks, takes care of kids, both procreate and continue the family line, serve elders). In the latter, relationships outside of marriage (for those who choose to not marry) are taboo.


  7. It is important for people to get married so that they can attend social functions together…maintaining an image of respectability. Also husband being taller than his wife is necessary lest people mock and laugh at them.


    • I don’t think American/european men have these same standards because they marry for love rather than stability and security. E.g, a woman will accept a man even if he does not have a job if they are in love.



      • I am European, my husband is American. When we got married, I was a struggling freelancer and he was getting back to university. So we definitely did not marry for financial stability and security. 😉 Many of the original points are more Indian-specific, I believe. Western men are not automatically expected to take care of their parents. If the parents didn’t make provisions themselves, their children usually share the responsibility, no matter what the genders or birth order is. It is also more common here to move to your own place once you are financially independent. If a guy still lives with his parents despite having finished uni, he often gets labelled as a Mama’s boy here and it’s a big red flag for most women.
        Also, it’s perfectly fine to date girls or to live with your girlfriend without planning to marry them. But some of the points above do apply to Western men as well. For example them going on parental leave is still frowned upon by their (male) bosses since “it could set a bad example in the company”. Yeah, other men might make use of their right to stay home with their kids. Imagine the horror! Also there are still lots of stereotypes around how men are supposed to behave, especially in relation to women. Nevertheless there is more acceptance for men who don’t conform to the macho image.


        • I agree aurinia81.
          A few things to add to the list for Western men specifically –
          – expected to be physically strong and aggressive in some situations (as in beat up bullies, beat up the guy who is rude to your girl friend, etc.)
          – be (overly?) assertive while dating, expected to make the first move, etc.
          – expected to be sexually active, otherwise seen as less manly
          – expected to not be expressive (cannot say how beautiful a piece of music or describe something in great detail – must be succinct, maybe even laconic – must be more action oriented rather than language oriented)
          – expected to have a sense of humor (while humor is attractive in both men and women, men are under more pressure to be funny)

          Also I want to add one strange phenomenon about the Western male of my generation (in 40s) –
          – they seem to have this strange conflict between wanting to be boys (irresponsible, having fun, adventurous, reckless, no need to come home to responsibilities) and wanting to settle down, get married, have a stable relationship, kids, etc.
          – most marital conflicts center around the above
          – my question is why marry and take on responsibilities in a society that has no stigma on relationships outside of marriage? A marriage means commitment. Why take on this commitment when you are not being compelled to or shamed into?
          – the result of this is the various “deplorable married state” or “stuck in marriage” jokes that hint at how women always win and men lose or how women are scheming and trap men who are fools, etc.

          To me it makes more sense if both partners in a marriage give each other space and time to explore their own interests and alternate that with spending time together doing something they both enjoy. OR if you don’t want to take on responsibilities like kids, planning finances for the whole family, grocery shopping, cooking, (yes a family is a lot more work), being home at a certain time, then don’t get married.

          And I find that more and more people in their 20s (in the US) are choosing not to get married (perhaps for this very reason). Perhaps both men and women don’t want to be tied down as much as they did in the previous generation. So maybe even Western men are coming out of their own set of pressures.


  8. Great post. It highlights the problems faced by men who get labled as ‘mumma’s boy’ etc without enough recognition for the fact that they too are under undue pressure and have been groomed and brain-washed their entire lives to be ‘responsible and obedient sons’. They are victims too in many ways and while it’s easy to assume that it is easy for men to stand up against such injustice it really isn’t. The emotional burden Indian parents can put on their sons can really be something! I’ve seen too many friends/cousins who’ve been forced to marry women of their parents’ choice that serve only their interests best without any regard for the son’s happiness – a woman who brings in dowry, isn’t very ambitious/well educated so that she can stay home and serve the inlaws well etc. If they retaliate the guilt-tripping begins. I feel even when it comes to marriages of love that are inter-caste/inter-class/inter-religion, parents come around a bit more quickly when it comes to their daughters than the sons. They feel far more threatened by the prospect of having to live with (or not live with?) a daughter-in-law who’s not what they’ve envisioned for themselves.


    • Also, just to add:
      17. Limited career opportunities as male sex workers because female sexuality is repressed.
      This one I don’t agree with. It’s firstly not a ‘career’. Secondly, the vast number of female prostitutes are sold/trafficked and have nowhere to run. Men are trafficked into this profession far less than women. I wouldn’t say this is an ‘advantage’ in favor of women, if that’s the point the blog poster is trying to make.


      • Yeah, was horrified when I read that point!! Disgusting.
        And to add my opinion, in this case, there is no ‘repression’. It is pretty natural that females are averse to it – this is seen in all animals, not just humans. IHM might not completely agree:) but that’s just my opinion on it.


  9. Hmmmm… sorry, I don’t think so.. men make the rules, and are ‘always right’. For every seeming disadvantage, they have ample workarounds. The ‘patriarchy’ described here is nothing at all compared to what happens in the real world.
    Let me explain why I feel the points presented are not right:

    (Since it would be a too long comment, I’m breaking it up into multiple comments)

    >> 1. Expected to be breadwinner and cannot choose career of his choice

    What??? No!! The girl and/or the father-in-law is expected to be the real breadwinner, while the husband/son-in-law simply gets the title. Even since a long long time ago, chasing a wife off to her maternal home to get more money/gold was not at all unusual or so very shameful.
    Even in Indian mythology we have a lot of stories of women took complete care of their invalid, paralyzed husband and served him. Husbands are entitled to be fed, whether or not they earn.

    While it is good that women are having career opportunities & are able to earn, it is pretty common to see the husband grabbing off her salary since “he is the husband”. He is NOT expected to solely provide for the family, but is entitled to grab & rob from his wife & her family.

    My own experience: My ex’s logic was “giving off all your salary, cards, documents, everything to me is the (only acceptable) sign of respect (to the husband). By not doing so you are disrespecting me, and hence provoking my anger. So don’t blame me for beating you”. When this turned into “for your attitude you deserve to be beaten to death. I should never have shown sympathy to you”, I ran away for life & never went back (except with legal help, to take back my belongings).

    One of my colleagues was paying her husband’s EMIs with her salary. No one thought bad about him. But after the loans were over, he started hitting her & abusing her parents (and before the true colors came out, they had a child as well). THIS is the patriarchy that is happening in real life, and NOT “expected to be the bread winner”.


  10. >> 3. Not suitable for marriage unless he finds a job.

    Nopes. They can very easily lie about their job, education, degrees. Post marriage the girl will be told “What to do now? marriage is over. So just forget it & adjust”. On the other hand, if the girl has no job, this will be used as a reason to extract more dowry. If she lies about her job, she’ll be sent back or beaten till enough “compensatory dowry” is given. Anyways, as described for #1, the girl & her parents will anyways be providing for everything.

    >> 4. Cannot watch emotional dramas or display certain emotions

    Which world is LW in?? A man who cries on seeing a sad drama will be patted on his back and called “a very sensitive man” (mostly by gullible women).
    I said “gullible women” because there are men who have the “soft-hearted” tag outside the house, but inside they are the opposite. I might get brickbats for this example, but Mahathma Gandhi, who was an ahimsa person outside is known to have treated his wife very badly. And he is certainly not alone.

    >> 5. Cannot wear ” colorful clothes”

    Please open your eyes & look around 🙂 (not inside business centers were formal dress code is enforced, but anywhere else). Or atleast look around in shopping areas & shop windows (again, not the ‘formal clothing’ shop windows), even in patriarchal societies.


  11. >> 7. Not accepted if physically weak

    Not acceped where? Except in the army I don’t see anyplace where weak men are not accepted & weak women are accepted.

    >> 8. Looked down upon if they choose certain professions.

    Sorry… can you please name some?
    Cooking guys like Sanjeev Kapoor etc are not at all looked down upon. They have a huge audience (mostly women, though) & are doing very well.

    >> 9. Expected to do all the work outside home.

    No! Even ‘patriarchial’ wife beaters expect their wives to gladly (and compulsarily) receive the honor of helping them with the outside work.


  12. >> 14. No say in aesthetics of house decoration

    Forget house decor, even your own decor will be dictated by them.
    My obviously patriarchal, wife-beater ex decides which color salwar I wear (no, this has got nothing to do with ‘revealing costume’, since none of them were anywhere near tight or revealing), AND he had also decided even which color bouquet I buy for my wedding (he liked flashy colors, while I liked the opposite – soft, pastel colors. But still I didn’t repeat my idea to him because, as advised & brought up, I didn’t want to ‘argue’ over little things, and so let him have his way as much as I could, even though at that time I had my own dreams for the ceremony )

    >> 15. Expected to learn driving and drop/pick others even when a female family member is equipped to do that

    LOL. They always have workarounds for the “disadvantages” of patriarchy.
    Another of my colleague knows to ride a 2 wheeler, while her husband doesn’t- he knows only car driving.
    The husband was not expected or forced to learn riding, but she was barred from using her 2 wheeler – the reason given was “safety”. But he & his family are otherwise good people & she has no problems with them. But the point here is that for every ‘disadvantage’ (“must learn riding”), they have a workaround (“you don’t ride too”).

    >> 19. High expectations due to male stereotyping on how to win over a girls heart and so called Mardangi.

    “winning over” is not at all required at all in patriarchy.


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