Modern Problems: Societal Standards From a Male Perspective
Alright, so before I even begin this article I have to include a little disclaimer here at the beginning; this disclaimer is so that I, hopefully, don't have to discuss the topic with anyone in a non-constructive manner.
General Disclaimer: This is an article that is attempting to generalize societal standards as it concerns the male condition and perspective. It is not representative of any one individual's views, feelings, opinions, perceptions, etc. As such, if you feel I have directed this article or any section of it toward you, I have not, and you need to address your projections with a valid professional who can help you reconcile those problems.
Defining Societal Standards
Societal standards/social standards: "Social Norms are unwritten rules about how to behave. They provide us with an expected idea of how to behave in a particular social group or culture."
Now let's break this down into a less callous definition, because it does not do the topic any justice whatsoever, in fact I would say it does better at invalidating the topic than it does pointing out the importance of it.
Societal Standards/Social Standards: These are any standards, spoken or unspoken, that seek to create a general opinion for the majority of the population to follow. They have been compared to, "social instincts," and, "social programming," in which all our combined experiences tend to act as a general description for appropriate, expected, and acceptable behavior. Majority opinion is what dictates these standards, and whosoever seeks to control majority opinion also controls societal standards; in most cases societal standards are dictated by those most frequently touched upon in the media.
Societal standards are frequently damaging to a vast swathe of minorities that come from different backgrounds, and rigid adherence to them creates more issues than it solves. For males, we are only seeing an increase in expectation and a depletion of opportunity to live up to said expectations.
When a man hits absolute zero and everyone is criticizing him for being there, it's hard to get back up off of the starting line.— Kyler J Falk
Riches and Wealth
Success in society for men, as it is so often represented in media and entertainment, is attributed to their level of wealth and riches. The man who drives the nice car, has the nice house, goes golfing on the back nine for lunch every day, and flies his mistresses to his private island is considered a successful male and a role model to males; he is the expectation from society. Even further, a successful male adult actor, the one traveling the world surrounded by gorgeous people and scenery, the one hitting the gym for hours per day, the one every woman is said to desire as far as his endowment, is another one used as an expectation for many.
Now, a lot of us ask how to get there, and the media and entertainment mediums tell us we need to go to college, run ourselves into the ground, and, "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps," if we ever want to get to this point in life. In all honesty, less than one percent of the population gets to this level of success and despite society's unarguable focus on it, it is unrealistic for more than 99% of the men out there.
This can be a minor, or even great source of dismay for a majority of men in society, a source that has seen and will continue to see many torn to shambles and in inescapable debt-driven poverty.
My body is a weapon, one wielded by others to hurt me more than I wield it to protect myself.— Kyler J Falk
It is unarguable, just like for women, that our influences set an extremely unfair standard as far as body image is concerned. Models, celebrities, and public figures who can afford personal trainers and to stay at the gym for four or more hours per day always telling us that success like theirs is within reach. Well, in the last section we already proved that to be facetious beyond any reasonable belief. Yet, society expects successful and attractive men to maintain near-peak physical condition.
I know many men who forgo sleep and self-care to maintain their bodies. Why, why would they do this to themselves though? Well you see, in the digital age women get to shop around with a scrutinizing taste unavailable without digital assistance. If you aren't the sexiest thing on the market, she has so many messages that you have no chance whatsoever.
Physical appearance, unarguable due to the necessity of physical attraction, has become a key part of distress for every male. The very few who are not distressed by some facet of their physical appearance either got lucky enough to have the capacity for focusing on it, or have given up and accepted themselves for who they are against the wishes of society.
Live fast, live hard, live for the people, or submit to a life of obscurity. I'd be there to acknowledge your relevance, but you're too scared to speak out. I am scared too.— Kyler J Falk
Charisma and Danger
Now a lot of women, and men alike, don't know this because many do not take the time to care and observe for their own deeper understanding, that men are expected to have a certain level of charisma and hint of danger in every aspect of their lives. It doesn't matter whether it is their career, relationship, image, or how they spend their free time; every facet of their lives has to be presented in such a way that it supports a charismatic and hinting-dangerous persona. How else do you distinguish yourself from the crowd?
Now, I know what you are thinking, this sounds like men just wanting to show off; but take a second to think about it this way: A man who is considered a show off is simply trying to live up to society's expectation of him, because he sees it works for many others, but he lacks the charisma to pull it off. The show off is a trope for the man who has the charisma to pull off what others could consider bold and dangerous actions with ease and grace.
Have you ever felt marginalized and invalidated by societal standards?
We Need Help Too
To those of you who are already aware, those of you who are sitting here thinking, "Well duh, deal with it or accept yourself," the goal here is not to whine or to make you dislike yourself. This is to bring a facet of the conversation regularly kept quiet for the same reasons listed here, because it makes men look weak, frail, and emotional by societal standards. It isn't a fair situation when the immediate thought is that men are just, "weak and whining," when they discuss their problems with societal standards.
Men need a voice too, because many men are suffering in silence, even to the point where male suicide rates have to be used as a political movement against societal standards. Can you believe that one? Males are so marginalized in society that those suffering the worst are trying to fight it by bringing attention to male suicide rates!
Moral of the story here, don't be dismissive of the struggles of others. Terms like, "privilege," are factitious concepts used to marginalize the most vulnerable in society unfairly, and only serve to create more problems; the same problems people claim to want to solve, they often instigate and propagate.
Be the solution, not the problem!