A note on the issue: The anxiety of the Indian male

The Indian ‘manosphere’, or the online men’s groups that advocate against progressive ideas about gender equality, is a perverse world



A couple of weeks ago, I read Neha J. Hiranandani’s iParent: Embracing Parenting In The Digital Age in which she makes the very pertinent, and somewhat frightening, observation that for a whole generation, the first experience of love, romance, sex and heartbreak is entirely online. This is actually something we’ve been talking about at Lounge for the past few weeks. We recently did stories about dating app burnout fuelled by the anxiety to find a partner, and people consciously choosing to be single rather than plan their lives around achieving an outdated romantic ideal. And this week, we tackle the particular sensitivities of men who advocate a return to more stereotypical, traditional gender roles. 

The Indian “manosphere”, or the many online men’s groups that actively advocate against progressive ideas about gender equality, is a perverse world where the idea that men are “naturally dominant” prevails. And here, men who are “man enough” to express these unfounded ideas, become influencers. Many are aware enough to know that it’s not cool to repeat such ideas in public, but the ideas do seem to strike a chord—as evidenced by the following of these influencers.

Misogyny isn’t new, but for years, the dominant belief—maybe men came up with it?—was that working with women, especially young women, and teaching them to empower themselves is the way to counter it. Over time, women have actually transformed themselves and small cocoons of society—and to men, many of the creeping changes are bewildering. They’re floundering, and rather than confront complex ideas about parity and justice, they’re choosing to hide behind a paper wall of further superiority, and that’s what our story explores.

To move to other stories in the issue: we have book, television shows and music reviews, and a piece on breakfast slowly becoming the new power lunch as people start their day earlier and chefs play with traditional staples on menus. Pair it with our story on the coffee revolution in tier-II cities, and our many other stories on what to do this weekend.

Write to the editor at shalini.umachandran@htlive.com

@shalinimb

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