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Welcome to Atomic Essays Section

Short form (Max 300 words) essays on the topic of masculinity.

Atomic essays are short-form essays (max 300 words) about masculinity, the boyhood experience and the stereotypes that I believe are hurting boys. These short essays provide me an opportunity to question, probe and to search for solutions relevant to my masculinity. I hope you use them to build your own questions and your own path forward.

The need to cultivate platonic touch for men

Touch is one of the most elemental experiences of being human. It humanizes us and is core to building community. But adult men seem to have abandoned touch from their lives due to misinterpretation of masculinity. Part of growing up for a lot of boys is turning out to be an experience in renunciation of platonic touch and this has dastardly consequences for men.

Normalize career breaks for men

Once upon a time, if a man stopped working, he lost his reason for living. That time is now. We have come so far on so many issues of gender roles and norms, but being a male is still largely about being in control, and work continues to be the leading way for men to assume control.

The silence surrounding the home lives of Dads

Much has been written on the negative effects of absent fathers on family life. Yes, that is critical but why is our literature silent on the larger group of stick around dads—the ones who are present at home, who chase the bedtime monsters away?

Gatekeeping in Male friendships

There is a special variant of male friendship that grows in rural or suburban India.

Patriarchy reigns supreme in rural India and boys grow up without much female companionship other than their caregivers and immediate family. Everything boys do outside the household, inevitably ends up taking place in all-boy groups.

Can male sexual behavior be redeemed from its predatory vibes?

When it comes to discourse on sex, men are often labeled as the problem. The male gender carries clear, unequivocal priviledge. But are we going to keep signaling to boys that they are the problem and hence need to sit this one out, or wake up to the complexities of this delicate experience and include them in making it better for everyone?

Why are men so affected by career issues?

Cultural mores teach boys that to “be a man” is to always be in control. They are told that money offers that control and work is a way to acquire money. This narrative is stretched from adolescence to adulthood to such an extent that work becomes the primary mode of fulfillment for a lot of men. The idea of all-consuming work seduces men and quickly transcends to become their leading measure of self-esteem.

Are men getting Stoicism all wrong?

Millennial men and Gen-Z boys seem obsessed with Stoicism.

Many young men believe that Stoicism, defined as the ability to endure, to stay calm and rational in moments of crisis, is a crucial virtue that will help them unlock their eternal pursuit of power and wealth.

Boys and the relentless need to compete

Boys are trained from the beginning to compete.

Media tropes convince us that to compete is human. But is it human to always compete? While competition can certainly drive us to do better and yada yada, I don’t think that we are race horses or that better performance is our end goal.

The crisis of affection in Boys

One of the tragic realities of living in a patriarchal system is not just the imposition of strict gender roles on men(and women), but also how it teaches us that affection is inherently unmasculine and boys don’t need it from their fathers.

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Boyish is a monthly essay series discussing how gender norms and stereotypes affect men in India 🇮🇳.