Society and Norms: Gender Roles - Men

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As with most traditional societies, men are considered the breadwinners and take pride in providing for their families. Men's work ranges from manual labor, soldiering, and farming to owning a business or doctoring. As stated earlier, men also participate in politics and relationships with outsiders.

Within the family, they are expected to be disciplinarians and provide for aged parents. However, Pakistani men still actively parent with love and play with their children.

In Pakistan, no one should be surprised at the public affection between men. Men may hug or even kiss close friends on the cheek when meeting. Men will casually put their arms around one another's shoulders or put their hand on another's shoulder when talking. Men can commonly be seen holding hands in public. This is not a sign of homosexuality but a sign of friendship and trust.

Under Islam, homosexuality is strictly forbidden. If openly homosexual, an individual is most likely to be ostracized by their community and disowned from their families [11]. Under tribal customs, being a homosexual is punishable by death. Even though it is not openly acknowledged or accepted, homosexuality does exist in Pakistan. In fact, homosexuality may be tolerated by some families and social circles in the upper classes. Obviously, this tolerance among a small portion of the elite class is not the normal experience.

Because casual interaction with women is taboo, it is not uncommon for men to participate in sex acts with male prostitutes (along with female prostitutes) [12]. Individual or isolated sex acts or sexual behaviors do not necessarily define one's sexual orientation. HIV/AIDs prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) has now become a concern as homosexuality is a taboo subject; many MSM do not consider themselves homosexuals, and therefore erroneously believe they are not at risk for contracting HIV [13].

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