International Men's Day: Indian Actors Talk About Emotional & Legal Challenges
Social Pressure Fuels Mental Health Issues & Sparks Suicides
"Men are supposed to be the head of the family, the breadwinner who runs the house, provides a roof over the head, and education to the children. Doing all this, while not complaining, without any kind of commendation because that's what a real man does. It has been normalized in Indian society and happening for many generations," Roy shared.
He argued that men do get hurt, but they don't get to talk about it.
“All my life, I have been taught that this is your job, this is what you are supposed to do, and I would happily do it as well. I feel a little bit of empathy, love, and support can go a long way in easing that pressure,” Roy asserted.
‘Create Safe Place for Men to Open Up’
"If a friend comes to you for emotional support and a place to vent, maybe about their mother, a boyfriend, a lover or someone who's bothering them, we should refrain from making fun or jokes at their expense. Instead of saying things like 'stop crying like a girl', 'don't be a wimp' or 'be a strong man', just listen to them", Bhanushali shared.
"That is why the vulnerability of the man is completely removed. A man is vulnerable, he can vent his emotions in different ways, be it through anger, crying or talking his heart out. We should stop being hard on each other and ourselves and create a safe place to open up," says Bhanushali.
"It is important to go to a counsellor and tell your heart to a stranger. It's not about being unwell or mentally unstable. It's about letting go of the things that are bothering you," he shared.
Breaking Stereotypical Gender Roles
"The traditional notion of gender roles, where women are the sole caretakers of the family and men are the sole managers of the home or the family business, is gradually changing but still has a long way to go. In my case, it has definitely changed as Pankhuri (wife) and I go hand in hand and do everything ourselves. We share roles equally. She can take care of the outside world and I can take care of the house or vice versa. It has become a collective effort," said Rode.
"We grew up hearing things like men don't cry, that being a man causes a lot of stress. This has been so dangerous that it has led to depression and health problems," Mumtaz said. "Boys cry, it's normal. I never stop my son from crying or say things like 'only girls cry'. We need to normalise men crying, cooking, cleaning or doing any of the things we normally associate with women," he added.
Need for Equal Legalistic Approach
"When we talk about and practice equality, men are sometimes pushed into a corner, especially when it comes to the legalities of divorce and child custody. I think we need to look at both sides with the same lens. Often, men are subjected to harassment, blackmail and mental trauma because of legal processes," Raaj stated.