I’ll be honest, I like you guys a lot better than, well…some of your competitors. But I recently read something on your website which made me uncomfortable and was, to put it bluntly, quite problematic. Let me be clear – I don’t doubt your intentions. I’m sure you meant well. However, the reason I am writing this is because, while I understand that you are an entertainment website just trying to move up in the world of click-bait and short attention spans, you also have quite a large following and, in my view, that puts you in a position to exercise some level of responsibility because you have the power to shape opinions. This is the post in question:
For the sake of argument, let’s for now not even take into account the factual validity of the events under discussion and jump directly to the phrasing of the title. In a society that already harbours warped notions of “manliness”, I feel like this title is further distorting the idea of a “real man” by attributing, what are being perceived as, his positive actions to his gender rather than to him as a human being. How do his actions make him more of a “man”? Because he is the knight in shining armour swooping in to rescue a damsel in distress? If his intention was to support this woman in living a happier life after what she had been through, then why doesn’t that just make him a good human being? Perhaps the title could’ve been something like “This Pakistani Guy Proved Good Human Beings Exist By…” I just don’t see what we achieve by perpetuating these antiquated notions of “real” men and women or how his actions qualify him for the title of “true manliness”.
What is true manliness, anyway? For many men, the definition of being “a real man” means demonstrating their superiority to women in various ways, including violence. So, I can see that maybe the title of your post is providing an alternate definition for “real men” in an attempt to reframe masculinity in terms of protecting women. However, to make your case in this definition of masculinity you are relying on the inherently chauvinistic idea of men being the self-appointed knights in shining armour who use the institution of marriage to save “damaged” women. This also perpetuates the concept of marriage being the solution to all of a girl’s problems, no matter how complex the nature of these problems – an idea which is so prevalent in our society and one so many girls are brought up to believe. Let’s be real – marriage is not the solution and we should stop treating it as such. However, that’s a discussion for another time. To wrap this up, I’d like to quote Dana Bolger, co-founder of a campaign against sexual violence on campus from an article I recently read, “The whole idea that there’s a ‘real man’ out there is ludicrous. I mean, what’s an ‘unreal man’? There’s no value in gender conformity and we shouldn’t elevate it as an ideal.”
That is all.
A concerned reader