Abstract: It seems that men have shouldered more missions from birth, have a career and want to succeed. But few people have thought about why, why do men have to play such a role?
In this era of calling for equality between men and women, people are more and more aware of the harm that gender norms and stereotypes have on women, and they are constantly protecting women’s rights.
Although there is still a long way to go to protect women’s rights, at least people already know the direction of the road. However, few people pay attention to the harm of gender norms and stereotypes to men. Today we come to talk about this issue, let us start with a very realistic example.
Assuming that women do not have a job, then people generally think that they are housewives, a strong support behind successful men. And if in a family, men do not have a job, people will label them “soft food” and “losers”.
Women are rarely labeled as “eating soft food” or “losers”. On this topic, the reactions of netizens are also surprisingly consistent. It is believed that in most cases, these two terms are only used to refer to men.
In my opinion, these male-specific labels are the manifestation of people’s stereotypes of men, that is, the so-called connection between success and masculinity. It is this stereotype that puts men in an unfair pressure and risk: many men always think that they are not good enough, and even in extreme cases, feel that they are worthless.
Of course, everyone will feel their own shortcomings at some point.
Sometimes, even with their best efforts, doctors cannot save patients whose cancer has spread, and parents cannot save their children who are addicted to drugs… However, a doctor who cannot save all patients is still very popular and respected. .
But for many men, they often feel inadequate on many issues. Why is this?
Although the culture of each country and region is different, we can still find some common characteristics in the male role.
Almost everyone will think that a qualified man should be a high-income person, at least in terms of income than his partner, and at the same time take into account other excellent qualities such as careful logic and a sense of humor.
When males have defects in these so-called essential traits, they usually feel a sense of powerlessness. Of course, many women also desire high income, good sense of humor, etc., but they don’t often use this as a must for themselves, and they are unlikely to feel powerless because they do not have these qualities.
The crux of the problem is that traditional traits related to masculinity, such as strength, self-confidence, generosity, and success, are also considered positive traits in women, but they are just icing on the cake and optional.
There is even the traditional belief that a woman’s ignorance is virtue, which has also inspired many parents’ views on cultivating daughters: not having to go to school too much, making too much money, learning well is worse than getting married, etc.
However, for men, it seems that they want to gain self-esteem and respect from others. These qualities are indispensable. A man who lacks these qualities can easily feel that he is not good enough, and even worthless in the eyes of others. Compared with women, men are more likely to be identified as losers because they are given too high expectations.
What’s more ridiculous is that men rarely talk about these with others, because being strong is also regarded as a necessary trait for men. And to talk about your own failures and your own feelings, to a certain extent, is exposing your own vulnerability.
There are two key factors in a person’s sense of self-worth: attractive and respected in the eyes of others. Next, we will conduct a detailed analysis of men on these two factors.
Many men are troubled by their lack of attraction to the opposite sex. Part of this is due to a misunderstanding of attractiveness.
Many men are afraid of their own hair loss and baldness, because they worry that they will be rejected by the opposite sex during dating. But research shows:
Alopecia baldness does not reduce the attractiveness of men to the opposite sex, and in some cases it even adds points to attractiveness.
In terms of height, women prefer tall men. This also makes many men exaggerate their height during the blind date and friendship process, which leads to disappointment that their attractiveness does not meet expectations when they meet in real life.
In terms of income, both partners want men to earn higher income. According to the US Census Bureau, when the wife’s income exceeds that of her husband, the wife will often underreport her income, while the husband will overstate her income.
This is actually a serious problem. With the improvement of women’s social status, the proportion of women with bachelor degrees has surpassed that of men, and the proportion of women is expected to rise in the future. Since education level is linked to income, we can expect that if both partners want the trend of higher incomes for men to continue, it will be difficult for both men and women to find a suitable partner in the future.
Of course, these traditional concepts are not static. Many men have also begun to accept marriage with women whose income is higher than their own, and their marriages are also very happy. I believe that the proportion of such marriages is also gradually increasing. However, it remains to be seen whether people’s stereotypes of traditional gender will change in the future.
Through respectful aspects, men’s sense of self-worth can also be enhanced. And this largely depends on how we earn moral respect. We can earn the respect of others by cultivating good moral qualities, such as firm belief, unyielding attitude, indomitable courage, etc.
Although material wealth can bring recognition and various secular benefits, in the end it is virtue that makes us worthy of respect in the eyes of others. And many people have conflated virtue and wealth, and regarded admiration for secular achievement as synonymous with moral respect.
Unfortunately, this trend of confusion is deeply rooted and difficult to change in a market economy environment. But I think that advocating virtues can lead human beings on a better path, a path that is more likely to lead to prosperity.
03 Behavior in comparison with others
And want to get men out of this predicament, gender stereotypes are not the only obstacle. Because even if we completely eradicate these stereotypes and let everyone do their best to pursue happiness in their hearts, people will continue to compare themselves with others.
Because society will use the ranking mechanism to fairly measure the results of everyone’s work, study, etc., and the ranking will naturally be in order, and not everyone can be among the top.
These processes of constant comparison with others have turned people’s happiness and self-worth into a cake-sharing game, that is, the more others get, the less you get. This process not only creates winners but also losers, so some people are bound to feel powerless.
04 A new definition of success
Based on the current state of society: success is a bargaining chip to win respect, some philosophers suggest that people can simply expand the concept of success. Everyone has their own strengths, but no one is proficient in everything. And success can also be divided into a multi-faceted, multi-level structure.
For example, a man may not achieve high career achievements, but he is a considerate and good father and husband in the family, which is also a kind of success.
05 Benefits of cultivating good moral character
I also want to emphasize the method of gaining moral respect by cultivating good moral character. The advantage of moral respect is that it does not require a pie like ranking competition. Everyone will be respected because of their own moral qualities and will not be influenced by others.
And another benefit of moral training is that if we target it, our self-esteem will not rely too much on the opinions of others. Success or failure does not prevent you from becoming a noble person, nor does it prevent you from being worthy of moral respect. Through these moral cultivation, you will become a self-respecting and independent person.