Below I am also including a few highlights of a post by “Male Gender” available here.
Male gender roles
What is expected and what is ‘not’ expected of us as males has been hammered into our heads (…)
Here is a list of expectations from a person because he happens to be a man:
- Men are expected to be strong, aggressive, tall, handsome, bold, courageous, rough, tough, emotionless, insensitive, fearless and practical. They should not be soft, submissive or weak.
- They are not supposed to have weaknesses or vulnerabilities. They must not show feelings as these would make them appear weak or vulnerable.
- They should always be prepared to fight their way. They should never retreat from a physical fight. Others should fear them. They should physically defend their family and work hard to earn to support it. They should choose careers considered ‘manly’ — engineers, doctors, military, managers, etc.
- A real man is expected to have hobbies such as smoking, drinking, fast driving, chasing girls, and playing outdoor sports like cricket, football, etc. They should not have ‘girlie’ hobbies like cooking, decorating, sewing, dancing, etc.
If we look carefully and try to understand, we will realise, whether we are men or women, we have both the qualities that society ascribes either to men or women. Under pressure from the society, we suppress those qualities in us that are not considered appropriate.
This also means that for most of his ‘real’ problems, he cannot seek guidance or help, and has to find his own way, through trial and error. Thus boys make many mistakes in their youth, about which they repent later on. These mistakes could be avoided if only they could just talk to someone.
From an early age, men learn to distrust their feelings, their inner voice. They become scared of their inner feelings and desires, as these always seem to get them into trouble and invite people’s wrath or ridicule. For instance, when they get hurt and cry, someone may tell them it is not proper for a boy to cry. Or when they feel scared, they may be told that a boy should never feel scared. Or that he should not dance or wear pink or be seen with dolls.
Such injunctions affect a boy’s psyche, and he starts seeing these acts as unbecoming. He hates the feelings that prompt him to do these things. Slowly he learns to use only his brain, and do only what he is trained to do: like a dog.
Due to prolonged suppression of feelings, most men lose the ability to identify their own emotions and express them. This is a frightening situation. Because they suppress their emotions so fiercely, men become insensitive and hardened. This results in their inability to fulfil the emotional needs of people they have relationships with — whether as sons, brothers, friends, lovers or husbands. They end up not caring for other people’s feelings.
However, in most traditional societies, male emotions were celebrated as masculine, often through prose and poetry. Men were encouraged to be emotional. Men became great poets and philosophers.
Gender roles of men also harm women, both directly and indirectly. As long as men are bound in chains, they can never be receptive to the idea of women’s liberation, as has been seen during several decades of movement for women’s rights. Men are often insensitive to the sufferings of women as they are insensitive to their own sufferings. Because men are detached from their own emotions, they fail to fulfil the emotional needs and aspirations of women they have relationships with.
“The tragedy of machismo is that a man is never quite man enough”.- Germaine Greer
Read the full post here.