Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. When it comes to the battle against sexism, both men and women could definitely use it. While most of us are familiar with the notion of women empowerment, the empowerment of men is something to be equally emphasized on.
Men empowerment is not about making men superior to women kind. It’s about encouraging men to question and break-free of gender specified stereotypes aimed at them. From the controlling patriarch who doesn’t approve of women making their own decisions, the insecure husband who feels threatened by his “over achieving” wife, to the young man who feels that it is preposterous for a women to roam the streets of her city alone and feels that he is obligated to teach her a lesson, or even the father who tells his weeping son to wipe his tears and to act like a “man”; all of these people are upholding stereotypes that dictate the way it is acceptable for a man to express himself.
This may be due to the way he is brought up, or it could be forced on him and he may be doing it unwillingly. It doesn’t matter if it makes the women of his own family suffer or whether he himself is subjected to agony and misery.
Regardless of how he feels a “man” must be superior to women in nearly all aspects of life. Controlling, domineering, narrow minded, and blindly abiding to stereotypes; he must preserve the obsolete norms of society. Any hindrance to this is a threat to his way of life, exposing him as “weak” and “woman like”, and for him there is nothing worse than that.
When acting like a woman is the worst thing that could happen to a man the struggle for gender equality becomes even more difficult, and even more prudent. The concept of “behaving like a man” has become a way of telling men to abide to certain discriminatory customs so that they can continue to play the role of the oppressor in the lives of women. That is where men empowerment becomes ever so imperative.
Empowerment is about having control over one’s own life. It’s about the power to refuse to abide to outdated norms and to embrace a life where one doesn’t have to live as the oppressor. Empowerment gives men the ability to not feel threatened or insecure by a women’s advancement or by her achievements; it gives men the ability to see women as their peers, to see them as equal members of society.
Men should be given the right to live a life where they are not continuously judged and scrutinized over whether every action they make lives up to an archaic typecast. They don’t have to live in the dread of either being the oppressor or the oppressed. After all, equality is the way to go.