1. It was late at night when we got the call that our batchmate’s father has passed away. Six of us packed our bags and left for his village, naturally expecting a very emotional environment. All of us wanted to extend our support and console our friend.
We reached there, didn’t see a drop of tear in his eyes, he was calm, composed, looked after our well being and ensured we were adequately fed after the tiring journey.
He is the eldest son of the family.
2. Paul comes out of the meeting, furious. He throws his keys across his desk and kicks his chair. The room seems to stop. Co-workers sit up, attentive and silent, until he leaves the room. Paul is known for his occasional tantrums, but no one ever talks about them. They’re considered an extension of his passion and commitment for his job. Plus, even though everyone likes him, they don’t want to mess with Paul.
Emma works in the same office. She has never kicked her chair. When she gets mad, she speaks assertively and bluntly not with malice, just matter-of-fact. She has never cried at work, and her co-workers joke that she has no soul. They don’t like her, and they show it. They think she’s “hormonal,” out of control. She must hate her job.
3. Pritam loved his goldfish a lot. While changing the water of the fish tank, he observed that the fish was lying on its side, still. It was dead. Pritam was devastated and had encountered his first experience with the death of someone very dear to him. His parents entered the room followed by his display of emotions.
4. When I asked my father about his opinion on ‘men and emotions’, he said – “emotions should be shown to make things better, not worse”
5. We discuss almost everything pertaining to politics, life, psychology, philosophy, etc.
Tushar said, “I want to relate this with capitalism.”
“So capitalism, as you know, alienates people. Modern work is highly estranging. Think of a person who works at a factory where the only job he has is to weld. He’s contributing a little bit to the final product, but will probably never see it and will not derive any meaning from it and hence, feels little or no emotion for it. This is opposed to him building a table or a bike from the start to finish and getting a real sense of achievement after he’s done.
Hence, capitalism wants workers to dispassionately provide their labour and the only incentive is money. This encourages the suppression of emotions and the life long, continuous and almost brutal quest to acquire more and more property.”
Comes out this topic really has numerous facets.
Why would someone not cry on the death of his father?
Is the responsibility to not let others feel the void of the departed soul and looking after the house being the eldest son of the family so huge, as to not even let someone exhibit his profound emotions?
Although Paul is the one acting out and he could be labeled hormonal and the “drama queen,” Emma still gets the label. By being blunt and assertive she is labeled hormonal.
Why isn’t there a “drama king”? The sanctioned emotions for women and men to display operate with a double standard. What is okay for one, isn’t okay for the other.
What’s unfortunate is the kind of socialization that we humans are subjected to. An upbringing where expression of emotions is categorized as per the gender (as if color, toys and behavior wasn’t enough).
Pritam’s parents came, looked at their grieving son, sat beside him, held him tight and consoled him. They said, “We understand how it feels son, everything is going to be all right”. They sat through that half an hour, while Pritam mourned at his loss. Because of his parents, who at Pritam’s loss, did not react by saying – “c’mon now! it was just a fish, be brave, don’t cry over such insignificant stuff”, Pritam didn’t resort to self medication, the sort of medication he could readily find at his age, in the form of watching TV excessively or consuming greater amounts of food. Because of this he didn’t grow up to be the kind of man who accepts the society’s perception regarding ‘men and emotions’ and refrains from openly expressing them. He didn’t turn into a person who resorts to drugs and finds solace in getting intoxicated to release the emotional pressure that accumulates within him.
It’s required to be understood that every person has their own way of venting out their emotions. Categorizing them is a very dangerous proposition and has outreaching ripples. My father’s point of showing emotions for making things better can be perfectly understood.We certainly should act the way we think things will get better for ourselves. Acting in accordance to the societal postulates in silent acquiescence only furthers misery and the emotional turmoil at some point becomes too hard to bear.
The capitalistic setup that we’re brought up in, humans are just seen as a tool, a means that will get things done, drawing parallel to a robot actually. The inextricable part of a man, his emotions, are conveniently set aside for the sake of achieving excellence. This is another field where there’s a gross neglect of a man’s emotions. The companies must be able to devise ways so as to attach a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to every product that a man works hard to construct and not be merely driven by monetary incentives.
This article was submitted by Ruhul, II year.