Welcome to Boyish 🙏🏼. Boyish aims to be a place where you arrive if the topic of masculinity in the context of India 🇮🇳 intrigues you.
So much of discourse on gender and feminist discourse is focused on the numerous consequences of patriarchy for women. That is the right thing to do but we haven’t paused to question if patriarchy can have dastardly consequences for men too, erasing the opportunity for them to live their true selfs just as it does for other genders.
Boyish aims to change that. It is an emerging platform rooted in the belief that patriarchy is not the sole expression of just masculinity, patriarchy is an expression of immature understanding of gender, and it hurts us all. Patriarchy is an attack on masculinity in its fullness just as it is on femininity in its fullness.
Masculinity is a lot like the movie Fight Club. The first rule of masculinity is that you don’t talk about it. This has to change if we want a gender equitable world. Boyish’s goal is to be of service in this direction ✨.
Published in 2022, 7 writers bare their heart out on their experiences with masculinity under four themes: Work, Mental health, Fatherhood and Representation in Media.
By working on projects focused on education and empowerment of girls, I slowly began to realise and learn how gender norms impact not just girls but boys as well. This is honestly why I created Boyish.
With Boyish, my aim is to unlearn my own conditioning and to invite others to think more deeply about masculinity in the context of India 🇮🇳.
A very middle class upbringing in small rural towns in Uttar Pradesh(U.P.), trying really hard to become cities. Back in the 1990s in these interior towns of U.P., gender roles were strictly defined and rarely “broken”. More disturbingly, they were rarely questioned.
Moving upwards in life meant moving to cities, and that is what I did too. But when I got there in my post-teens, something was unsettling. My value system was set and it was often at conflict with the more fluid, liberal take on gender roles that I found in the cities.
I was not alone. There was a sea of other boys and girls who were part of this migration and with such tremendous change, so much newness and possibilities, many of us clung to what was familiar and what our conditioning had taught us. It was the one way we felt normal. The kids who grew up in the cities were not much different, mind you! Kind of a tomato-tomahto situation.
The early 20s is an exciting time. Boys are on the cusp of becoming independent, of becoming a man. The sense of masculinity is taking shape. But while our culture and media taught me that men are defined by machismo, a small opening had opened up, via which a slightly softer version of masculinity seeped in.
And it felt more natural and relaxing to me.
Change takes time. I was well in my late 20s, perhaps early 30s by when that small stream had grown into a sizable pool almost. I was getting more comfortable in my own skin, with my own body and the “man” I had become. And my biggest gripe with the comfort was, why so late? What could have happened if this happened earlier for me.
Growing up, I was a skinny, frail boy who was constantly at the short end of the stick on the masculinity metric. It taught me a lot of anti-patterns and cost me a lot of precious time. There was no room to question this toxic version of masculinity.
But now that I am in a safe space, I want to open a dialogue about it. And with that intent, Boyish was born in 2021. Boyish’s vision is profound yet simple, to be the premier destination for discourse on emerging masculinity in India. Most publications catering to men a.k.a men’s magazines are propagating the same old harmful tropes. Boyish goal is to provide a refreshing and stimulating break from that.
If masculinity and gender is a topic of interest for you, I invite you to this discourse. The content of Boyish will ask you, as it asks me, to think more deeply about masculinity and nudge you to open a meaningful discourse about it in your own community.