The Dangers Of Masculinity

The Dangers Of Masculinity

What does it mean to "be a man?"
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We are born into a system of twos. One of the first things children are taught is good from bad, right from wrong, and left from right. They are also taught the difference between male and female. This distinction defines our lives and shapes our personalities. For boys, being told to “be a man” can have multiple meanings, and not all of them are good. Men have many expectations and masculine roles pushed upon them by society, telling them who they should be and how they should act. However, this can have negative effects and even affect men’s health. Men need to be aware of these pressures and demands so that they can fight damaging stereotypes and overcome the binary.

What does it mean to “be a man?” People especially have been wondering, who has it worse, men or women? Results have shown that both genders have their own difficulties to contend with, and that as much as women face, men do have a lot of societal problems of their own. From a very young age, little boys are told to be “little men,” with all of the pressures and expectations that comes with. Many are forced into sports and stereotypical “boy” pursuits that they may not want to do, but are expected to because of their gender. Boys are told not to cry or show emotion, and thus “be a man” or “man up.” Men are forced into a set of expectations from birth. No man can be the perfect husband, be CEO, have the perfect body, be beautiful, athletic, intelligent, political, assertive, and rough at the same time. Our society still upholds this ideal and it is evidenced in our media, advertising, and merchandise. Magazines and TV show how to change diets, workouts, and sex lives to try to sell a version of this ideal to the "regular" man. Movies try to model their own versions of this in the form of James Bond, Indiana Jones, Rambo, and Prince Charming. Some of the most important gender roles exemplified in this archetype is being strong, aggressive, confident, sexual, and unemotional.

Hyper-masculinity is dangerous for men because it creates tension in themselves and can lead to harmful behavior. Men are risk-takers. They are more likely to die of occupational deaths and not wear seat belts and die in accidents. It becomes "cool," especially for young men, to put themselves in harm's way to show off and prove themselves. There is also less attention called to men’s health issues, such as testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Many people are unaware that men can get breast cancer, too, even though there is so much awareness now about women getting it. They also self-repress. Men are just as emotional as women; they are just told not to show it. Men are told that they are supposed to be cold, callous, and inept at understanding feelings, and this makes them suffer in important relationships in their lives such as with parents, lovers, and children. As the dominant sex, men are expected to do everything -- to provide, to fix problems, to be CEO, and to answer questions. This puts a lot of pressure on them. This could be why they have more frequent heart attacks, high blood pressure, and die earlier. Men also stratify themselves, based on where they fit in the gender binary and how masculine they are. So many pressures are put on men that this is often called "toxic masculinity," showing how dangerous it is for men's mental and physical health.

Cover Image Credit: ilovehdwallpapers

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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