Many men have come across it. They are on a dating app and come across someone they like, only to read "Swipe left if you're under 6'0" or "Bearded Men Only". They may even approach someone they find attractive only to be turned away off of a first impression. "Sorry, you're too skinny for my taste", or "I only date guys with tattoos", they say. There, the broken-hearted gentleman sits, taking in the fact that everything he had to offer was poured down the drain like flat soda because he didn't fit into a certain fit a particular aesthetic.
The truth is, just as much as men place a value on women for their hair color or weight, women have beauty expectations for men as well. Whether it's set by fashion, geography, or tradition, too many men find themselves dishing out time, money, and comfort for the sake of being able to impress a potential partner or just feel like they are "good enough". It goes full circle, as male beauty standards compel men to change themselves and conform to a particular way of looking, which then perpetuates and progresses the already existing standards. Many instances hone in on a man's facial hair, jaw structure, or ab definition. In even more radial cases, I have witnessed women express that they only date men who wear at least a size ten shoe. In any extent, people are not being considered for the things they have to offer or the thoughts they have to share. But with men, it doesn't stop there.
Even with many progressive and changing settings to society and gender roles, we still live in a society that favors the thought and behaviors of hypermasculinity, which, in short, is emphasized or over-exaggerated behavior of normally masculine traits such as physical strength or aggressiveness. While beauty and behavior may seem to have little correlation on the surface, the connection between the two are intertwined more than one might think. A man who does not fit the beauty standards AND behavioral standards of men is expected to look different and "be tough" or "get over it", or, more commonly: "be a man". Men are still expected to be stoic and put their masculinity above the way they feel, trading tears for weightlifting. The degradation of men for not meeting these expectations leads to self-loathing, depression, and fear.
All to often we, as social spectators, witness a connective problem. The problem is, that on one aspect of criticizing men, the point is made that men are "all the same" and are "all just want sex". Then, in another aspect or criticism, a plethora of men are instantly shut down and reject for their height, weight, muscular definition, or some other aesthetic stereotype. Effectively, the men who "look good enough" behave poorly, but the ones who could potentially be that guy who will give that special someone their whole world is automatically disqualified from being a partner, because of traits that they might not necessarily have control over.
If someone wants to look a certain way, then I truly believe that they should. But it is important to distinguish the difference between looking a certain way for yourself, and looking a certain way so you can meet the expectations of society. Beauty standards, as a whole, certainly need some dismantling, especially when people are hurting themselves or putting themselves through pain and turmoil to achieve a certain look. But just as much as we focus on breaking these standards and conformity for women, it is time we put light on the men who also reap the negativity of not fitting into the way the world wants them to look.