The stunning bravery of the male feministAn uncomfortable silence filled the room. Pooja blinked her eyes and looked at him in disbelief. Ghanashyam gave her a shrug. His indifference jarred her sensibilities even more.
After having spent nearly five minutes verbally abusing Pooja, Ghanashyam Bista slumped into his chair. Toying a pen between his fingers, Ghanashyam looked at her with languid interest. He was usually vigilant and attentive. But today, he seemed to be gripped by a lazy listlessness. Strange indolence had descended upon him. There wasn’t in him, that gentle glow that shone from within which made him the universal darling. He was looking at her as if she was a beetle in life’s ice-cream. He threw his pen into the dustbin. He then squinted his eyes shut and gently massaged his eyelids, as if her monstrous appearance had disturbed him a great deal and he wanted to erase her from his vision. Pooja was stunned into numb silence by his shocking rudeness.
An uncomfortable silence filled the room. Pooja blinked her eyes and looked at him in disbelief. Ghanashyam gave her a shrug. His indifference jarred her sensibilities even more. The male feminist, who had just stepped into the room, was alarmed with what had just transpired. He came forward and gave Ghanashyam a stern stare and began consoling Pooja. She burst into uncontrollable tears. The male feminist coughed gently, straightened his tie, and spoke, “I would like to address this rather delicate situation by announcing that I am ashamed to call myself a man.” A gasp rippled across the room. The whole office seemed to lean forward in interest. A gleam came into his eyes, and the male feminist continued, “Or at least I was until I learnt to wash the poison of toxic masculinity off my system.”
The general workers waved a dismissive hand and returned to their work. No longer having his coworker’s undivided attention, the male feminist felt violated. He screamed an earsplitting scream, “LISTEN TO ME,” he waved his hands frantically, “this man,” he pointed at Ghanashyam, “was looking at the girl in a rude, offensive way.” A gasp echoed around the room. “Isn’t it enough that women, the superior gender, have been dragged through the mud, face down, for centuries by our patriarchal society?” he said. The coworkers gave a gentle nod that seemed to say, ‘that’s something to think about’. The male feminist continued, “Strong, courageous women like her are being discouraged by such offensive stares from the representatives of the patriarchy.”
At this point, Ghanashyam stood up, smoothed his sleeves, and spoke, “I would like to announce that I don’t give a damn about her feelings, or your feelings for that matter.” Saying this, he thrust his middle finger into the noble face of the male feminist and gave him a hard push, which caused the male feminist to fall on the ground. “I am surprised that you don’t feel any remorse,” the male feminist yelled as he lay sprawled on the floor like a rhino that had just been shot by a poacher. Ghanashyam stepped back in horror. “He is oppressing me with his toxic masculinity. It is 21st-century, people, and such behaviour is unacceptable and offensive. I am horrified. I am stunned. This puppet of patriarchy is going to kill me with his offensive language and horrifying hand gesture.” As he spoke these words, the male feminist writhed on the floor, like a wounded snake. The apple-like rosy cheeks of Ghanashyam became redder.
The male feminist got up and told the girl to come with him to a safe space. “You have been stunned and traumatised. Let me check your pulse and check you for any signs of PTSD. Don’t be anxious,” he said. The two entered a vacant meeting room, and the male feminist bolted the door from inside and stood with his back against it. He felt his heart pounding with fear. Meanwhile, Ghanashyam pinched himself, rubbed his eyes, and wished what had just happened was just a bad dream. But it wasn’t to be.
The crowd roared with delight. “Oh, male feminist, how brave of you to stand up for her. How brave of you to confront Ghanashyam. We will tumble the pillars of patriarchy if you stand shoulder to shoulder with us. Oh, male feminist, we beg you to forgive us for just being a mute spectator. Our voice isn’t as soft, gentle and low as before. Our eyes have opened. We are ashamed of our impotence and indifference. We now realise that you are unreservedly, unequivocally, and absolutely, right.”
Ghanashyam felt his head swim and turn stiff. The chambers of his heartbeat like a drum roll, and he plopped on the ground. The stunning and brave male feminist smiled from behind the door and swept the bead of sweat from his forehead.