“Estargel” Is The #1 Reason Why You’re Not “Ragel” Anyway

By: Farida ElShafie

I thought about including a disclaimer and then I remembered that treading lightly is not what this topic needed. We always address one side of the patriarchy, claiming that women are the sole victim of this construct and yet we forget that nothing is ever truly this one-sided in life. Just as much as toxic masculinity hinders women’s progression, it affects the way men lead their lives. Now I cannot speak on behalf of every male, but as a female and a mere observer, I’ve come to the sad realisation that “estargel” is probably the most toxic phrase a man has to endure. 

What does ‘estargel’ entail in the first place? Since, the last time I checked, the perfect ‘male’ figure does not exist. Nothing is perfect, so why are men constantly pressured into upholding masculine (and therefore perfect) traits. Traits that are undefined in every dictionary worldwide. The disappointing reality is, it’s more so enforced and idolised by men, than it is women, henceforth women feel as though it’s their duty to also uphold this ideal. Think of it this way; if the destination was due north and the current was travelling north, any gust of wind battling the boat would just interfere with the end goal and cause a nuisance, therefore…why fight a lost battle? By that reason, us females live our lives in search of the man of all men… brave, strong-minded, witty, self-assured and most importantly ‘ragel’, no tears, no fears, no emotional attachments and leniency, no caring traits because these all point to frailty, and as the patriarchy managed to establish long ago…frailty and vulnerability are exclusive to women. Any male who ever dares to oppose what I like to call the ‘ragel construct’ faces endless ridicule and is eventually hit with ‘estargel’ yet it doesn’t just end there… 

You talk like a girl, 

Walk like a girl, 

Throw like a girl, 

Real men don’t cry, 

Big boys don’t cry. 

Men should subdue their emotions, 

Take charge, 

And speak their minds, 

Regardless of the consequences. 

A man crying is a template for a meme, 

Men’s emotions have become a matter of comedy, 

Crying is a sign of weakness, 

And weakness is shameful, 

So you’re forced to just swallow your tears.

What have all these comments progressed into? They took the guise of condescending and patronizing masculine entitlement and mansplaining predominantly aimed at women, (with the underlying notion of remaining a gentleman of course). They created gender superiority and the pressure to be confident, because these are the characteristics that shape a ‘ragel’. They’ve led to buried depression, anxiousness and underlying body image issues, that only fester and manifest themselves into outbursts of anger, violence and all around misdemeanor. Since men have been taught to hide, put up a front and conceal sadness, they let out their pent-up aggression through abuse and assault. Have you ever wondered why most convicted rapists and school shooters are men? It’s because men have been taught to be hollow, lackluster beings, which only manages to cause an inability to open up and future trust issues in relationships. Even the daily vernacular used to praise men “Ya wahsh, 3ash, ya gamed enta” in contrast to “matenshaf, enta drama queen awy, ’’ reinforces this toxic mentality amongst all.  

It hurts because you know that you are a man in more ways than what meets the eye. You care for your mother, your siblings and you look after your friends. You might not be the most ‘physically masculine’, and not traditionally into sports. You may look skinnier than most, have female friends and share your emotional turmoil but it’s brave not feminine. A frail demeanor requires bravery because you’re not hiding behind a shield of physical strength in order to intimidate. Having fears and not being afraid of sharing them is liberating. 

Dear men, 

A true man will understand not 

undermine you. 

A ‘ragel’ will have 

your back 

everyday. 

‘Estargel’ is a stab 

into an already existing

wound. 

‘Estargel’ is not the sole option 

or response.

A ‘man’ does not 

put other men down 

to feel great 

because he knows 

that true greatness 

has experienced 

weakness. 

A world 

that does not 

understand your 

vulnerability 

does not deserve your 

Bravery. 

Sincerely, 

A concerned individual.

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