How much masculinity does one need to really be a man!

Story By: Paartho Kar

Since I was a child, I have always struggled with the idea of 'masculinity. I am not into cars or bikes or other traditionally ‘manly’ things. I am not the strong and savior types. As a child, I used to be fat, weird, timid and not particularly good at sports. I used to cry very easily. I still do. I used to get teased a lot because I was a 'girl'. For a child, that much is enough to have a lasting impact on their self- confidence.

I remember this particular incident, I must have been in 5th standard, I was playing with some kids in my colony and we got into an argument. The other kids started to tease me, calling me names, ladki hai tu, sixxer, chakka (You are a girl, eunuch). One of them pulled down my pants so that he could check if I had a penis, if I was really a man and not a girl. They played around with my pants while I tried to save myself from shame of being naked. All I could do was to somehow grab my pants and run home.

I never told my parents about this. I never left the house after that. I stopped playing with kids altogether. More than angry I was confused, I did not particularly understand what I did different from other guys to be treated like this. In the latter years this became very common occurrence. As a teenager I even had 'man boobs' that made the teasing even worse. I was not man enough for the male friends I had.

Once I realized I was bisexual, queer people made fun of me as well because I was not gay or feminine enough for them either. I was/am not 'visibly' queer or effeminate enough for them either.

Currently i am trying to grow out my moustache so that i will be able to fit into that definition of what a man is. I do not know if this is worse or the fact that I am being thought of as more ‘manly’ after growing out my moustache. I will not lie, I do like this validation, but it is also very pathetic.

I often feel stuck between two worlds where nobody knows how to accept me, including me. If straight people have a very rigid definition of masculinity, then so do the queer people and I being a bisexual, fit in none of the two.

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