The social expectancies and contradicting pressures for women in modern society are constantly under scrutiny. Sexually charged advertisements and unobtainable standards set by the fashion industry create a wave of passionate reaction within the feminist community (and usually within any woman who is tired of the burdens the culture places on us every day).
Just looking through this blog, there is a whole section broadly labeled “gender” with commentary on a huge range of issues that people have been influenced by. As I scrolled through all seven pages of blogs written in the “gender” section, I did not come across one article that discussed the effects that cultural influences had on men (don’t worry I scanned the “boys” section as well). I did see the picture about how Disney projects an image of men through their movies, but I’ve never heard a guy claim Prince Eric or Aladdin to be his role model, have you? So what?
Well, the first thing that popped into my head was, I guess guys don’t have a problem with how society portrays them. And honestly I don’t find that hard to believe, considering that society basically tells them that they can do no wrong. Men can be as sexually promiscuous as they want without detrimental effect on their reputations, men are not constantly asked when they are going to get married once they’ve surpassed the age of thirty, and generally even annoying and obnoxious men have friends (see Barney from “How I Met Your Mother”).
Men are expected to be into sports, be into sex, have great self-confidence, and no vulnerability. They are also stereotyped as being very sexually active and sexually driven. How come men in our society don’t feel as provoked to speak out against these cultural pressures as women do? Are they afraid of appearing emotional by creating controversy? Do they actually like being stuck in a social box? Men used to grow up focused on the end goal, having a job and a family of their own. Being respected used to be a priority, but now it’s all about being accepted. Then I got to thinking, was Ward Cleaver the male stereotype? Is this generation just attempting to throw off the shackles of the “Provider, Protector” image?
I don’t think I can really answer that (for one reason because I’m a girl), it seems like a viable answer. But really? Would men rather be perceived as sex-crazed, macho organisms that run off ego and beer or would they rather be respected, admired, and appreciated? Hopefully this post can generate some much needed conversation, because (obviously) I have a lot of questions and not so many answers.