Defining the New Ideal Masculinity

by wonderay on October 23, 2014 - 7:02pm

The documentary “Tough Guise 2” is an eye-opening revelation about understanding the roots of what truly is the ideal masculinity. The title really sums it up. Men are bound to appear and act tough in the society. Most parents would expose their sons, at a very young age, with toys associated to power and violence. As they grow up, boys will learn and develop these constructed definitions of manhood. This explains why most violence are done by men based on statistics.

Boys are taught to respect and follow the “Man Box” which contains traits and characteristics of the ideal male being. Most individuals, either male or female, police masculinity, telling boys to “man up”, be strong, act tough, and be intimidating. Failure to achieve these traits will lead to discrimination, insults and embarrassment.

The ideal male body is muscular, fit and macho. Men are perceived as heroes who are able to protect and handle any physical circumstances. Even if you consider yourself fat, you still have the feeling of wanting to shift into getting in shape. This guarantees to boost your self-confidence, but is that all?

Bottom line is, women are not the only ones who are self-conscious about how they should act and appear in the public eye, men too. Everyone desires the acceptance of the society. That’s why we have these unwritten rules to follow and we’re forced to act accordingly. It is difficult to disobey them but not impossible.


Ideal Body:


I decided to comment on your post because I really appreciated your writing style and the reflection you made about the ideal masculinity.

I totally agree with every ideas you brought up in this post and especially when you mentioned that "women are not the only ones who are self-conscious about how they should act and appear". We tend to focus a lot on the pressure put on women to look like a model and how it impacts their self-confidence. But what about men? I think we do not hear too much from them because as you said, to be a real man you have to be strong. Complaining would be seen as weak and therefore not masculine. Both men and women have a hard time to fit in society's norms, but in my opinion we created this situation. As a woman, I know I have a preference for men that are muscular and I am not the only one. However, I do not base my expectations of a man on my ideal. My boyfriend is not this stereotypical muscular guy and it is perfect this way. I think it is normal to have our idea of the perfect man, however, we must be careful not to make it essential. You mentioned that "Men are perceived as heroes who are able to protect and handle any physical circumstances". I agree with you that men are expected to be heroes and not to worry about anything. From a woman point of view, I want my man to be protective. But protective for me does not mean to be strong and to know how to fight. Being protective is to be caring and to be ready to make concessions for your family's well being.

Therefore, in my opinion, the phenomenon of the "Men box" is created by women's desire to have the perfect man. But do you think being able to distinguish our ideal from what we want in real life is enough to halted this pressure for perfection?

I am commenting on this post because reading it made me start to think about masculinity in general as well as my own masculinity.

I agree with all that you said as well as the "man box" as was explained in my class "the myth of race and racism". I'll get back to that later. Thinking back I've always been taught that as a male I shouldn't be emotional and that I should act tough. It is something that we are socialized to believe and it is wrong. I am not saying that we should become emotional and cry about everything, no one should be like that, but as men, we should be able to express our emotions without being judged. Thinking about how easy it is to fit into the “man box” without questioning it I began to see how people could very easily fit into the ideologies of being white. The majority can become socialized to treat the minority poorly because of racism without questioning it just as men can fit into the “man box” without questioning it.

Your post was well done and I would like to hear from you if you see any similarities between the privileges of being a man and the privileges of being white in our society.

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