In a world, where gender inequality is rampant, what significance does International Men's Day (19th November) hold? Zee Theatre's stars Rajeev Khandewal, Joy Sengupta and Pawan Chopra believe that this is a day of reflection on what masculinity truly means and if popular culture can break gender stereotypes? And if men need a specially designated day at all?
Rajeev Khandelwal | File Image
Rajeev Khandelwal responds, "I think it is important to celebrate Men’s Day because it can make them realize that they are looked up to for what they stand for. A higher self esteem will make them want to earn respect which in turn may reduce the crimes against women. Also just celebrating Women’s Day can also mean that women are the weaker lot and they need a dedicated day in a year to feel special."
He believes popular culture can help break stereotypes associated with masculinity and adds, "Times have changed and popular culture needs to reflect the more progressive and mature side of men. Even a little shift in the portrayal of men can have a huge ripple effect through society. Thankfully, we are now beginning to see that men can be vulnerable too. Men too have started accepting gender equality and this is a welcome shift."
Pawan Chopra | File Image
Pawan Chopra adds, "Popular culture no longer shows that men are omnipotent and that women are simply wallflowers. Men today are more collaborative and are able to work with strong women who are dominating various professions. Even within families, a man is no longer the ultimate authority and everyone has a voice. This evolution is good because the happiness of both the genders is needed to provide stability to society."
Joy Sen Gupta
Joy Sen Gupta | File Image
Joy Sen Gupta thinks, popular culture has depicted both men and women in stereotypical ways and also subverted cliches about masculinity and femininity. He opines, "Women today can be avenging angels, action heroines leading armies to conquer galaxies and men need not be just hyper masculine, misogynistic action heroes but also sensitive poets, academicians, artists and intellectuals. Big blockbusters though still have all the all conquering hyper masculine men, projecting machismo at different levels."
From the beginning of evolution, he says, men have used their physical strength to dominate and exploit women and adds, " From the feudal times onwards, women have been treated as property and objects of pleasure and have gone through unimaginable misery. Today women are staking their claim to their share of volition and that claim is celebrated as International Women’s Day. I don't know what men are staking their claim on via International Men's Day but if the day signifies that men should be more sensitive, more inclusive, and move away from machismo and misogyny, then I am for it."