A world away, a men's rights movement is afoot.
Welcome to the matriarchal society of Meghalaya, India, where, in a vast reversal of traditions the world over, property names and wealth are passed along from mother to daughter instead of father to son. Women have the luxuries, opportunities, and advantages typically enjoyed by men. Even the preference for baby boys is gone; as one Khasi man told the BBC, at the hospital, "If it's a girl, there will be great cheers from the family outside. If it's a boy, you will hear them mutter politely that 'whatever God gives us is quite all right.'"
And the Khasi men are experiencing the crippling prejudice, discrimination, and oppression that women throughout history have known all too well. Keith Pariat, a leader in Meghalaya's men's rights movement, told BBC reporter Timothy Allen that they "do not want to bring women down …. We just want to bring the men up to where the women are." According to Allen, Pariat was "adamant that matriliny is breeding generations of Khasi men who fall short of their inherent potential, citing alcoholism and drug abuse among its negative side-effects."
The story is depressing and frustrating.
I am troubled by the injustices and oppression that Meghalaya's men experience. I desperately hope they gain equal rights and that women's attitudes toward them shift from contempt to appreciation. If Khasi women speak up for these nearly voiceless men instead of taking advantage of their traditions, the men's movement stands a chance.
Yet I am realistic. I know that such cultural shifts occur at sloth-like speeds. No doubt during the in-between, the male suffragettes will face bitter opposition. No doubt Khasi women and even other Khasi men will heap moral scorn ...1
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