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The Impact Of Societal Expecations On Men

2720 words - 11 pages

Theodore Roosevelt once said “We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done” (qtd. in Art of Manliness). Resolution, courage, will, power, and determination, these are all qualities that society has determined a “real man” must possess. They have molded what, throughout time, has been accepted as the abiding image of manhood- an image of predominance, invulnerability, and vigor. Men opted to pursue this vision of what they should be and in this journey pushed aside women.
As Clive Emsly explained in The Old Bailey Proceedings, in the eighteenth century, men were viewed as the stronger sex. They were expected to be tougher, both physically and emotionally, to have determination and will. Men were to be logical thinkers and erudite, they had to dominate their households and provide for their families. By the nineteenth century, historians argue that even though women began to experience more freedom in the workforce, they were still confined socially. Men were still expected to lead their households and be “breadwinners.” For many years, men dominated almost every aspect of society. However, in the past few decades, a movement known as feminism emerged. The feminist movement fought for women’s rights to an education and equality. Women longed for an opportunity to gain knowledge and freedom to seek adventure. In recent years, more so than ever, the feminist movement has made great advances. It has instigated a shift in gender roles and constructs forever altering how society views women and men.
Though feminists’ efforts have accomplished great things, the movement has created a mentality in which only women suffer or are affected by society and its expectations. This misconception has led to the belief that men are not influenced by the gender constructs in society. Statistics show that men are, in fact, greatly affected by what society expects of them, be it physically, emotionally, or monetarily. In fact, studies have shown that “adolescent males are more likely than adolescent females to drop out of school” (Coley, US Department of Education). Also, “adolescent males are more likely than adolescent females to commit suicide” (Department of Health and Human Services). These young men many times do not match their gender roles or gender expressions, causing them to suffer.
The influences and expectations of society are based on gender roles, gender expressions, and sex typing. “Gender roles are the social and cultural expectations associated with a person’s sex, they refer to what is socially appropriate and considered a set of social and behavioral norms” (Boundless). “A gender expression refers to the external manifestations of one’s gender identity, through “masculine”, “feminine”, or gender variant or gender neutral behavior, clothing, hairstyles, or body characteristics” (Boundless)....

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