Shabana Azmi: Why is masculinity about flexing muscles and not tenderness?

Mumbai: Actress Shabana Azmi feels if we want to establish gender equality, then along with empowering women, men need to change the definition of masculinity.

Shabana recently presented the film "Mee Raqsam", directed by her brother Baba Azmi. The film is about a Muslim father who goes out of his way to help his young daughter achieve her dream of becoming a bharatnatyam dancer.

"A very special element of the father Salim's character in the film was that he was both a father and a mother to the 15-year-old girl, ever since his wife died. It is certainly not easy for a father to nurture a teenage girl like a mother. I think women are better equipped to be both father and mother to their children. When it comes to men, perhaps they are not. That is why the character of Salim was so special, it was like redefining masculinity," Shabana told IANS.

She elaborated: "At present there is toxicity around the whole idea of masculinity. Masculinity means flexing muscles, wielding power over the powerless. That is a toxic thing. It is true that we want women to change, and become independent. But to establish gender equality we also need men to change. Why is masculinity not about tenderness, empathy, and being supportive? All the qualities we look for in the new progressive man, we get to see in the character of Salim in 'Mee Raqsam'."

The film featuring Danish Husain and Aditi Subedi is streaming on Zee5.

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