Men are Prisoners to the Man-Box

by Twinie17 on October 22, 2014 - 10:29pm

Many people think that it's only women who have it hard in this world and that men don't struggle at all. Although it may seem that they have it easier, they definitely do still struggle. In society, women are expected to be tall, thin and naturally pretty, but many forget about society's high expectations of men to be stoic, powerful, and violent just to name a few.

The famous "man-box" is basically the rules of how to be a ‘real man’. Inside said box are things like "men must not show emotion", "men must be aggressive and dominant" and "men should be strong, tough and in control". If men don’t follow the guidelines of the man-box, then they fall into the category of marginalized masculinity. They are seen as less of a man and are called names like pussy, wimp, and feminine.

I think this concept is absurd because no one should have a list of do’s and don’ts about how they should live their lives. Everyone should be able to live their lives the way they want to without being judged or criticized. The man-box is essentially telling men that if they don’t follow these rules, then they aren’t a real man. If a man cries because his girlfriend broke up with him, he is seen as feminine and emotional which to men, is worthy of ridicule. Everyone has emotions and it boggles my mind that if a man shows his emotions he is looked down on. Why is it bad to let your feelings out? I think that it should be seen as a respectable thing that a man is able to show his feelings.

I just think the man-box is extremely unnecessary and that people should just live their lives however they want without judging other people for living their lives differently.  For more information on the man-box and how to break of it, you should check out


Hi, I have recently seen the TED talk called “A call to men” by Tony Porter in my Race & Racism class. I am thus responding to your post to further discuss Porter’s work called the man-box. I completely agree that the man-box is an unnecessary evil that needs to be removed from our society’s ideologies. The fact that men have to conform to a list of imaginary rules is absurd and it makes no sense. Everybody is different in their own way. This system ignores this fact by trying to categorize all men as the same: people that must show the same set of behaviors that make up “real men”. This social construct reminds me of the issues related to racism we discuss in my class. For example, as a society we have made categories of people based on their “race”, something that does not even exist biologically. Members of a certain race are expected to act in a certain way. This leads to discrimination and has harmful effects to visual minorities, or non-whites. Just as members of both genders, members of different “races” should be able to “live their lives the way they want to without being judged or criticized”, as you yourself said. I wonder how the man-box differs from each “race” or culture as I believe there are significant differences between some cultures’ ideologies.

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