7 March 2019

Changing norms of masculinity that uphold male privilege

Author: ESubden
Published by: ICRW, ALIGN

Many men and adolescent boys struggle with the complexities of masculinity and related perceptions. It is important to engage with men and boys to not only address violence against women and girls, but also to challenge the traditional notions of masculinity; to acknowledge and recognise their privilege in order to be able to counter unequal norms and be agents of change. 

The following videos are the narratives and experiences of men/young boys, who have been part of programs and interventions; highlight their lived experiences and the challenges they face in negotiating spaces once they have gone through interventions/programmes. 

Masculinities in India: Nasir and Hasina

Nasir and Hasina reflect on their journey, how at first Nasir was gossiped about for doing ‘women’s work’ and supporting his wife’s working outside the house and her decision-making. They share how, over time, they strived to build an equal relationship and also gradually changed the perceptions about themselves in the community. As Hasina says, there need to be more and consistent engagement opportunities and spaces for men to think, reflect and learn about gender and equality.

Masculinities in India: Rajesh

Rajesh talks about how he did not understand gender while growing up, but slowly became aware of the privilege he seemed to have. He explains what gender equality means to him, why he thinks men experience conflict while negotiating with such concepts; how violence is not the outcome they seek and why men need to be given the time, opportunity and trust in the process of exploring being gender-equitable is all about.

Masculinities in India: Prashant

Prashant shares his childhood experiences of how he gradually began questioning the traditional roles of what men and women are ‘supposed to do’. He realized how such rigid perceptions are inculcated from a young age through social stereotypes and result in gender-inequitable attitudes. He talks of he knows some men will even go without food rather than dent their pride and let their wife work. He shares his experiences and explains the need to understand how we challenge these beliefs constantly – male, female, young and old – and how there is no such thing as a ‘real man’.


These videos were filmed by Irfan Dar from RedStone Films and ICRW Asia with support from ODI.