Monday, January 02, 2017

Our Men's Pain

As much as I rail on about what Muslim women face, I do want to take a moment to say that many of us don't recognize that many Muslim men go through heartache, racism, discrimination, painful marriages & even more painful divorces, and so much more.
Women suffer because of toxic masculinity, but men are the first victims of it - when their own sense of self is battered and broken almost from infancy. There are very few men who are raised to understand and implement true qiwamah - with all the positive attributes of masculinity rather than merely the outward trappings.
Regardless, Muslim men go through so much on a daily basis, in ways that we almost never even think of. Mental health, physical health, self esteem, spirituality, family pressures, struggling to break away from certain types of cultural programming... as women, we are often so focused on the pain that we face constantly, that we don't recognize the pain that our men go through.
And while it is, in a way, socially acceptable for us to air our grievances - at least amongst ourselves - men don't always have that luxury. In so many cases, Muslim men find themselves being reamed out in public and in private, with few places to turn for emotional support - including from their spouses.
And yes, we women complain that our men don't understand & support us emotionally, but we don't realize that while we often have safe spaces to turn to other women & find consolation, our men rarely do. Sometimes, just sometimes, we need to be there for them the way we have others who are there for us.
Allah describes spouses as garments for each other, as those with whom we should find tranquility, & while I (& others) spend an awful lot of time berating men to be that type of spouse, we need to remember that those ayaat apply to us too. Being a supportive wife isn't just about cooking his meals & popping out his kids; it's also about setting aside our own egos and being willing to listen and to comfort and to support. You don't even have to agree with him, but you can certainly make him feel that he isn't on trial from the moment he opens his mouth.
Our men are strong, but they aren't invulnerable. They screw up, but they're not (all) villains. They're (usually) upholding the patriarchy, but they're not always misogynistic. They are human & crave the sweetness of the human experience just as much as we do. Often, they are wounded & hurting far more than we can imagine, & yet take on still more for the sake of their parents, their wives, and their children.
These men are, in many ways, #TrueQawwam even if they are not perfectly so.

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