Men forced to be something they're not?

by EightLions on October 23, 2014 - 11:31pm

Are men forced to be something they're not ? From the start they've been told to man up, ignore pain and be a "man". They're told that Men don't show emotions, that men are violent, that men are sexual. To be a man, you have to fit everything in the man box.  In our Western Civilization culture, if you don't follow the manbox, you're told that you're weak, sensitive and you risk of being disrespected by others just because you don't fit the criteria of a "man". The man box has hurt more people than it helped. People are pressured to be this "man" just to be socially accepted by others. If anything the man box is giving more negative effects than positive ones. Males have a much higher suicide rate than women, and not by a little, but by quite a lot. Men's suicide rate is THREE times bigger than females, highest that it has been since in the past 30 years. Men are being abused for not fitting this "man box" and being in incredible amount of pressure just because they're slightly different, and it's not normal and it shoudn't be a thing. It's damaging our culture and it's just getting worst at this point. 

If you want to learn more on why men have a higher suicide rate check this article out:


This is a great post, you make some very good points! Obviously, both genders have it rough when it comes to living up to the societal standards set for them, which is a big, unnecessary issue. I feel that while addressing this problem, we tend to focus more on the female gender than on men. Yes, as a woman I have many "obligations" to live up to due to what society expects of my gender. It is very stressful at times. Most of these things I don't even think about because I'm just so culturally conditioned to do them. I wear makeup each day, dress with great care and keep my house tidy. Etc, etc. There is a lot of pressure there, if I don't keep up with all these "duties" I am likely to be looked down upon. It goes the same way for men. I am not previously familiar with the term "manbox" but it totally makes sense. "Box" is a good way to put it too, since our culture pretty much takes all its expectations and confines us within. If a woman, for example, asks a man to open a jar for her and he is unable to do it, he will be probably be seen as weak. He is "supposed" to be strong. This makes him less "manly" according to way too many people. I have definitely seen a lot of this type of issue in my own life and it's always gotten under my skin. One of my best friends from high school is gay and I watched and heard about way too many issues he experienced by not "following the man box". It took such an emotional toll on him. I had never heard the 3x more likely to commit suicide statistic, but now after making the connections I believe it. Men definitely do suffer from gender social pressure just as much as women do, in different ways. The reason it's talked about less is part of the problem because "men don't talk about their issues". Gender roles in general are so harmful and unnecessary.

I agree that like women, it’s sad to see that men are also restrained by something like the “man box” created by our society. I believe that we need to educate people about this since, like you said; it’s damaging our culture and just keeps getting worse if nothing is done. We need to teach them that it’s okay to express yourself and have/show emotions. I believe that society has established so many unnecessary and over-the-top expectations for both genders about how they must act and look in order to “fit-in”. This causes us to judge one another and cause harm to others and especially to ourselves because of what society is brainwashing us to believe. I was really intrigued by your title and topic choice because we ironically just finished watching a video on this issue, which you should totally check out if you haven’t already:

This article drew my attention because of its title, because we have been talking about this problem in class. I think that the issue of the “man box” is really interesting and that we should talk more about it. I feel like we emphasize too much on the problems women face and we tend to forget that men have it hard too. I think it is important to acknowledge that both genders are facing extremely difficult issues related to the unrealistic expectations created by our society. Relating this topic to racism would be interesting, because people of color are also the target of many stereotypes. They are expected to fit automatically in our society and let’s face it, this is not realistic. The expectations and stereotypes that people of color face everyday are embedded and they are extremely hard to change, just like the ones targeting men. I find it really sad, yet true, when you say that all these feelings trapped inside their minds lead to mental illnesses and, in some unfortunate cases, to suicide. Racism can also lead to those unwished situations. As a woman, I am guilty of thinking about the man of my dream. Unlike the usual comments about how a man should be fearless, muscular and aggressive, I mostly look at the personality. A man should make me laugh and should make me feel special, without having to prove that he is a “real man”. A man should be able to talk openly about his feelings without being laughed at or being called a “girl”. Most of all, a man should be able to be the way he wants without feeling pressured by the society. We should talk about this issue to the little boys and encourage them to get out of the box. However, I understand that it will be hard to change those stereotypes and that it might take some time to achieve it. How many people will it take to make this change?
You might already have seen it, but we saw this video in class and I think it ties perfectly with your topic:

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