Too often are the issues of gender expectations for men pushed under the carpet. Men and women are both assigned genders at birth and gender roles that are determined by society. This shouldn’t be the case.
Typical expectations of men
We grow up with a preconceived mind set of how men should behave and act.
- Masculine. You must be masculine because without masculinity you can’t defend your partner or fend for your family. The strongest always wins, this also means they must be emotionless.
- Confident. Confidence will get you women, it will get you noticed and will get you the job you want.
- Breadwinner. Men must earn as much money as they can and always more than women. You’re less of a man if you can’t earn enough to provide for your family or treat your partner.
- Attractive. Being attractive will get you more attention from women, it will also provide good genes for children. This also comes under the idea of being strong, men must have a physically muscular appearance. They must take care of their appearance, trimming beards and keeping their hair short.
Typical job roles
It goes beyond just general expectations of men, men are assigned stereotypical job roles too. The connotations attached to these words make you think “man” due to how society is set.
- The manual labourer. This requires strength, jobs like these includes anything from roofers to builders to cementers.
- The boss. This requires confidences and brains. Men are seen as more dominant and these jobs put men in a position of power.
- The law. This requires masculinity and dominance. Jobs like these includes being lawyers, barristers and the police.
Bisexual, Homosexual, Transgender.
Old ways frowned upon men being anything apart from heterosexual, this belief is either based upon religion or traditional values. In todays society it is widely accepted and celebrated for men to be bisexual, homosexual or transgender. There’s such massive presence and support, from marches to events to social media, its easy to believe gender expectations have been abolished. With legal rights and a less negative stigma attached to being gay were well on the way towards equality, this is because were moving away from traditional values and becoming a lot more accepting of peoples personal freedom. Of course homophobia and negativity towards transgender is still alive, but the overwhelming support shows just how peoples freedom to be themselves and love who they want conquers all.
Conquering social stigma
- Emotions. Often men are told to “man up” or made to believe they should never cry. Mental health issues and suicide rates for young men have risen and quite often due to the social pressures linked to being a man. Men are forced to bottle up their feelings and with no way to deal with it or being embarrassed to express it, these are the heart-breaking consequences. The man up campaign encourages men to show their emotions, its natural and definitely ok to cry. In todays society we are trying to encourage men express their emotions, equality is for everyone.
- Appearance. Along with the many other changes, the idea of men’s appearances have shifted in todays society. Chiselled, muscular bodies are now going unnoticed and the idea of the ‘dad bod’ has become more and more popular. More men have also turned to plastic surgery, going against the idea that plastic surgery is a ‘woman’s thing’. One of my favourite changes has been that makeup is being commonly worn amongst men too. With that being said, the makeup brand Maybelline has now awarded their new face of the brand to a man.
These changes in todays society and the steps away from gender expectations are inspiring. Feminism promotes equality and this works both ways. We shouldn’t be defined what society’s preconceived ideas of gender expectations are. Women are equal to men and men are equal to women.