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Why are young men so angry these days?

Updated on March 16, 2012

This is going to be one of my most controversial posts, which I expect to generate a fair bit of heated discussion in the comments below. In this post, I attempt to explain the case of contemporary young men's anger towards society and life in general, and how the Angry Young Man stereotype came into existence. It should come as no surprise that men in contemporary Western society are more likely to be the perpetrators of crimes involving physical violence, which explains the higher male-to-female ratio within contemporary prison. The simplistic explanation is that men are just naturally more violent than women (PS testosterone, the man hormone! Oh I've got tons of it, I get them through my barbell squats). On the other hand, if you subscribe to the notion that gender is socially constructed, you cannot also validly subscribe to the notion that men are just naturally more violent than women. I personally don't consider Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Empress Wu, Margaret Thatcher etc to be a bunch of gentle little lambs who despised physical/verbal aggression. You see, it took me a few years of repressed femininity before I finally realized that as men, our forms of gender expression are, well.. Extremely restrictive. It's as if women's roles are becoming wider and more diverse, and men are still stuck within the traditional Western sphere of gender expression. Any man who dares bring up the notion of "men's issues" is immediately rebuked and reminded that "as a man, you're still over-privileged." I once had a (guy) friend who could be described as something of a feminist. And by God he was one of the most sanctimonious self-righteous hypocrites I ever knew (feminists please note I am not necessarily referring to you). If you tell him that men's acceptable roles of gender expression are extremely rigid, so to speak, he would reply with, "Oh, I don't think so; man, on a beach a woman still has to wear a bra, while a man can go completely topless! AND, women still get paid less than men! So if you say things like that, you are gonna offend a lot of people, etc" OH DEAR GOD AARON (not his real name), that was NOT EVEN THE BLOODY POINT (grabs and yanks hair in frustration)! My point was that women have won the right to wear pants and suits, even to formal occasions (I use the term "even" because a hundred years ago it would be considered anaethema for a woman to wear a pair of trousers/suit to a formal dinner). Women have won the right to take part in traditionally men's sports (e.g. Thai Boxing, Gymnastics, etc) and that is all very good! Except that... As a contemporary man, your forms of valid self expression relative to women's is EXTREMELY restricted and repressive. Many men are happy to adhere like sheep to their rigid, socially-prescribed gender roles, but for boys and men like myself, we've discovered that we cannot express who we truly are to the world without experiencing a considerable degree of social stigma. And to be honest, we're very, very pissed off. Okay, without further ado, let us get the ball rolling!

I am angry because:

- Out there are tons of little boys out there who just want to wear a dress, and nobody seems to give a rat's ass. In fact, I even came across a case of a little boy who just wanted to wear pretty feminine things, but was treated by his parents' psychiatrist as a psychological nutjob, when a little girl in a pair of jeans and a singlet/T-shirt (traditionally male garments) wouldn't cause anybody to bat an eyelid.

http://www.womencorp.org/my-son-wears-dresses-you-curious/

This article really pissed me the hell off. If anything, the poor boy's mother has only ended up temporarily silencing an innate aspect of his personality. She hasn't really solved anything! I imagine the boy will grow up with a strong sense of repression and self-loathing. He is being socially conditioned to despise himself, despite the fact that there should ideally be no shame in what he wants to do. It's not as if he wants to rape or kill anyone, or torture harmless little animals for that matter!

- While women are encouraged by liberal society to explore all aspects of their personality, men unfortunately do not receive the same kind of encouragement. Back at Adelaide, I was trained in Muay Thai by a woman, so please don't get the mistaken notion that I am against women exploring every aspect of their personality. Unfortunately, it seems that women are now treating men in the same way as they were treated a hundred years ago! Now, it seems that a man has to "ask his wife's permission" (out of 'respect' for her) before he puts on a dress/skirt. I don't ever recall a woman who had to ask her husband's permission before putting on a suit/pair of jeans. In fact, there are cases of men whose wives "allow" them to cross dress, which to me is ridiculous because if the reverse were the case, the feminist community would go crazy! Hell, I'M going crazy right now! In fact, I met this woman yesterday who had the cheek to declare that "men should not wear women's clothes. They don't look good in them. I personally like gay men because they make an effort to take care of themselves and dress well". Honey, just because you like gay men doesn't mean you aren't a flipping transphobe. By that token, I could say, "I like lesbian women if they make an effort to dress well, but I only like the lipstick ones. Women like Ellen Degeneres look terrible; they don't make an effort to dress well!" Homophobia in this case is not the issue; just because you aren't homophobic certainly does not absolve you of being transphobic. I mean, you have the right not to like something, I personally am not attracted to Ellen physically, but by associating "gender non-conformist" with "slob", you are essentially expressing a form of politically correct transphobia. Besides, how would you like it if I (hypothetically) said, "Style is very important to men. You have to make an effort to dress well if you want to hook a good man. So that means no trousers and no sneakers, because real women aren't afraid to show off their legs and wear high heels!" See what I mean?

- Men's body issues are largely ignored by modern Western society. Feminists will often say something along the lines of "Oh, men don't suffer as much as women in regard to these things, and fat men don't have as much social stigma as fat women!" As a man, that personally offends me. You see, I have earlier back discussed the notion of male body self-loathing (http://bereniceteh90.hubpages.com/hub/The-myth-of-the-Ugly-Male-Body). Basically we live in a world dominated by Calvin Klein and Abercrombie ads, which promote an unrealistic body image (for some men; doubtless, there are men who have naturally low levels of body fat, just like there are women who have naturally low levels of body fat). The media has at least began to acknowledge that female beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and that is reflected in the plus-sized modelling industry with beautiful women such as Lizzie Miller, Crystal Renn, etc. But where the hell are all the plus-sized male models? Surely male beauty ALSO comes in different shapes and sizes, but nobody seems to want to acknowledge that fact with people like Rusty Moore of Visual Impact Muscle Building spewing sh*t like "six pack abs are so much more impressive than being able to squat 300lbs!" Well what about "blue eyes and blonde hair are so much more "impressive" than brown eyes and black hair?, Mr Moore? You see, so many young men these days believe that for their bodies to be construed as attractive by women, they must strive for that "ripped" ideal espoused by Visual Impact Muscle Building, just like at one point, Asian women believed that they had to strive for that Anglo-Saxon ideal for men to desire them physically. To me, that's total and utter bullshit. That's like saying that Kate Moss has a better body than Marilyn Monroe, when they are DIFFERENT, not necessarily better than the other. I haven't got a six pack but I think my body is no less beautiful in the female gaze from my cousin's (who has a rippling six pack), just like Marilyn Monroe is considered no less beautiful than Megan Fox; just different. Hopefully the media will start acknowledging that.

-Women have now won the right to form "women-only lounges", "women-only gyms", "women-only clubs", etc. Personally I wouldn't encourage my daughter to patronize any of those businesses. In my opinion, any business that excludes ANYONE on the basis of gender (male or female), sexuality (gay or straight or trans-gendered), religion, nationality or ethnicity should be boycotted. Personally I'm a libertarian, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that they should be banned, as that would essentially betray my libertarian principles. But I would definitely encourage (not force) people to boycott any business with such an exclusive policy. It's funny how the term "women-only club" doesn't spark as much outrage as the term "whites-only club". Go back a hundred years in the bad old days, when it was not only socially acceptable, but fashionable as well, for white people to discriminate against "coloured" people. In fact, the American wife of King George V famously referred to people of African American descent as "lazy thriving n*ggers". The late contemporary feminist Andrea Dworkin referred to men as "rapists, and heterosexual intercouse as rape". It's funny that "whites-only clubs" and "women-only clubs" are not seen in the same degree of severity, despite the fact that the two of them are really the moral equivalent of each other.

Well, I suppose that wraps up my angry little rant. If you want to leave a hate-filled comment below, please feel free to do so. It'd be interesting to see what kind of comments this hub generates. It's not that I'm trying to absolve male criminals for the crimes they have committed, but I feel that by trying to understand how societal repression can have an effect on an individual's self esteem and sanity, we can perhaps try to curb the problem by attacking it from an angle we haven't yet explored: By encouraging the boys to be the best they can be rather than to try to be someone else in order to fit into some cookie-cutter mould that society has prescribed for us.

People wonder why young men in particular seem to be so angry these days. And I'll tell you why.
People wonder why young men in particular seem to be so angry these days. And I'll tell you why.

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      TheHonestRealAnswer 22 months ago

      Most women nowadays are the ones that are very angry since everything seems to bother them especially when we will try to start a normal conversation with the one that we would really like to meet. And then they will walk away from us and tell us Not to bother them which i can see why many of them have trouble with men, and there are many of us good innocent men out there looking to meet a good woman to settle down with which makes me wonder that many of them are Gay.

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      Sam 5 years ago

      I agree with you Berenice but there is something I feel I should correct you about. I am not trying to defend feminists but I would like to correct a small stereotype about Andrea Dworkin. Andrea Dworkin actually never really said that all men are rapists or that heterosexual intercourse was rape. But it's all right Berenice that is actually a common stereotype about Andrea Dworkin I just thought I should let you know no hard feelings I just feel that every time I hear that stereotype I have to correct it because I myself use to subscribe to that stereotype.

    • BereniceTeh90 profile image
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      BereniceTeh90 5 years ago

      Oh you just had a baby boy? Congratulations! :)

      Yeap; your grandfather's fear of your father becoming a woman (sorry if this sounds rather cavalier) was in the end a self-fulfilling prophecy. He wanted your father to grow up to be a stereotypically masculine man, and repressed every bit of femininity within him. But eventually, your dad reached a point when he couldn't hold it in any longer. Perhaps becoming a woman has made him a happier person, honestly. He probably feels more free to be him/herself right now, as compared to when he was a cisgendered man. Kind of like a bird being released from a cage, if you know what i mean. And YES, i know what you mean! It is a hidious trend these days, mothers dolling up their little girls and dressing them in tight, revealing clothing, and even sending them to take part in beauty pageants (EEK)! Many (not all) women still subscribe to the notion that a woman's only inherent worth lies in how aesthetically appealing she is to the heterosexual male gaze, and they don't see any other worth in their own gender. Perhaps these are the women who have always relied on men for everything, and have never had to work a day in their life. Parents tend to be more protective over girls, but when the two genders grow up, it becomes obvious which gender has a more rigid set of norms to conform to within Western society. Feminism has opened up the way for women to emancipate their traditional, one-track patriarchal gender role as passive sexual object and childbearing machine. Nowadays, women in the West have the opportunity to become anything from housewife to prime minister (e.g. Julia Gillard). Also, if a man criticizes a woman's fashion because it doesn't suit the heterosexual male gaze, feminists would be up in arms (as they should). However, nobody seems to give a damn about male emancipation. When I bring the issue of male gender emancipation (e.g. wearing skirts and dresses, letting boys play with dolls, letting men wear whatever they want, etc) up within mainstream feminist circles, I get all kinds of really hostile passive-aggressive rebuttals, e.g. "So you deny male privilege? Don't you know that men still earn more than women?" or "History has always favored men; women have only gotten a little more equal to men recently." There's no way I can get anywhere with men's issues with mainstream feminists who keep aggressively denying the existence of men's issues. However, I am not a MRA (men's rights activist) either, as i believe that the MRA movement is basically a kind of fascism that exists to police both the male and the female gender. They are equally scary as prescriptive feminists when they say things like, "Oh, feminism has emasculated men! It has repressed them from expressing their true, masculine nature!" As if feminine men are somehow "repressed" as a result of feminism, and if you're a man who likes doing and wearing conventionally feminine things, then you are singing to the feminist tune to suck up to them. Now i'm no feminist (although i support the movement when i see fit), but i feel i would be far more repressed if i had to conform to the strict, patriarchal male gender roles that the MRA calls "natural". Also, the viewers who complained Ellen Degeneres in her Gucci suits wasn't "formal" enough? MRA for sure. The thing is, Degeneres doesn't dress in a way that would make a guy go, "Mm, i'd hit that". Her style seems rather ultra-conservative, TBH; even men these days are starting to wear more revealing, "fun" clothing than that. Anyway, MRAs are trying to maintain a power dynamic of Male viewer-Female object, so when a woman like Degeneres comes around and doesn't sing to that tune (not that i mind ogling sexy women in short dresses =) ), they feel threatened by the fact that she isn't dressing in a way that highlights her assets (e.g. curves, butt, hips, boobs, arms, e.g. by wearing a sleeveless gown), which is why they see it as such an outrage (she is not dressing "formally" = "in a way the male gaze finds sexually alluring"). Back to the topic of mothers dolling up their daughters, i think that these women arent even aware that they are dancing to the MRA's tune; and that is inculcating in their daughters that, "Your only worth lies in your value as a sexual object. Without beauty, you're nothing." So the MRAs arent exactly my "ally", so to speak. In fact, not all feminists are hypocritical, one-sided politicians. I found this link written by a fair-minded feminist who challenges the MRAs, calling out their hypocrisy for only standing up for a "certain" kind of man (cisgendered, conventionally masculine), while ignoring the plight of their repressed, feminine counterparts.

      http://www.fanpop.com/spots/feminism/articles/7878...

      I also noticed that ladies tend to be much cooler with individual differences than men are. Men sometimes act as if you're doing things the "wrong way" if you're not conforming to society's expectations, e.g. Some guys wrote an article giving Ellen Degeneres fashion advice, and many guys write articles on how other men should dress to look good. Men are more controlling, I'll give you that! Also, i think the reason why many women are offended by cross dressers is because many of them end up looking like the stereotypical media woman; hypersexualized, skinny and covered in cakey make up (e.g. Jessica Rabbit), which gives women the impression that cross dressers perceive women as sexual objects. But TBH, even if they do, whose to say that non-cross dressing heterosexual men perceive women any differently? Plus, cross-dressing men have made the attempt to venture in to the feminine, risking ridicule and criticism, just to embrace the feminine and to understand women better. I think that is to be applauded, regardless of whether they look like Jessica Rabbit or Mother Teresa.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Also wanted to add it not just women and feminism to blame but it's actually men who are the hardest on other men. My husband got teased for wearing "capris" as his friends put it- they were just long shorts. he gets teased by some of his friends for being the one who does dishes and helping change the baby's diapers, etc. Men are the first to point out when one of their friends is a "sissy" or "girly".

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I found this hub extremely interesting. I will post a link to it from one of my gender hubs. I have a 4 yr old daughter and now a 2 month old son. There are distinct differences. I have seen among my daughter and her male and female friends- the boys are given more freedom to roam and more responsibility at younger age. BUT a lot of mothers, in the age of princess rules, seem put off that my daughter likes to play with boy stuff and girl stuff so I find that there is less tolerance for girls now exploring male and female stuff. Mothers are over dolling up and make their little girls girly way too young nowadays.

      As far as my kids are concerned, I think you give them a general guidance as to what is male and female then you let be free to choose what they like to do. Since my dad is a transsexual I was at first afraid for my daughter because she used to like playing the prince instead of the princess, but that fear was out of my experiences. I let her experiment with what she needs to. I realized that my dad's father had that fear for my dad and pushed masculinity too much and damaged my dad. If it was accepted from an early age it would have been better for my dad but he had to hide it and hid it from me for so long. All in all, not a good situation. My dad also had a fear of me having a boy and I just had a little baby boy but he is actually delighted and I think he realizes not every boy has the same experience he did as a kid. I think he also knows I will let my and love my child for whatever they choose. I could not imagine not letting my child be who they are.

      i really like your point about women asking men if they can wear pants. I'm not sure how to think about this topic neutrally because I have my own experience with my dad. I learned it was to be a secret that my dad dressed in women's clothes so there is a lot of shame attached to this notion.

      I don't think anything in society will be fair for both sexes but I wish both and all in between were just accepted and there wasn't a "conformity or non-conformity" issue. I also wish each sex or gender were utilized for who they are as an individual.

      Being a psychology major though, I know that humans categorize to make things easier in life. It';s one thing we can do on autopilot and not have to add to the daily grind of things we actually have to figure out so people like to categorize by nature and necessity.

    • BereniceTeh90 profile image
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      BereniceTeh90 5 years ago

      Well not all of my make up bottles and lip gloss were tossed, but I would still receive the guilt-inducing lecture that what I was doing was "wrong, antisocial,etc". But now that I'm 22, I ask myself: Why? Why is it considered unhealthy, rebellious, socially irresponsible and self-destructive for a man to explore his feminine side? Why is THAT such a great crime? Is our society so weak that its very stability depends on men being men, and that it will crumble from the very core as soon as men start exploring themselves, which is why we must shame them with guilt for defying their gender norms?

    • BereniceTeh90 profile image
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      BereniceTeh90 5 years ago

      Hello Jaggedfrost,I'm still not entirely sure what you mean by "sublimal pump for comment",but at least it appears you did not leave some judgmental feminist BS as a comment, thanks for that. TBH, I was extremely emotional and pissed off when I wrote this, which is why it comes across as being so angry. When did I start thinking about it? Well that's actually a very good question. I have always had a thing for make up and girl's clothes and pretty things, but I was forced to repress that aspect of my personality by my parents during my teenage years, who threw away every aspect of feminine self expression I had (every time I bought a new bottle of make up/coloured lip gloss, it would be tossed, and I would receive a tremendous lecture about "how what I'm doing is scaring people, etcetc and it isn't normal, I need to behave more "normally if I want to make friends lalalala""). You could say I'm a semi-crossdresser. I enjoy the aesthetics of make up and women's clothes (especially those lovely short shorts, I f***ing hate men's shorts; they're always so long and baggy, I don't feel "sexy" in them), but I don't want to pass as a woman. When I portray that kind of image to the world, I feel a sense of completeness, so to speak; the sense of self-fulfillment you get from honest-to-God self-expression of your true self. This is me, and I'm not ashamed of it at all! Yeap, I wear women's clothes, and I'm not ashamed of discussing my feelings, but I also haven't abandoned my

      traditionally "masculine" traits (athleticism,muscles, straight-talking,etc). I feel like I'm expressing my TRUE self if I get to express both my masculine and feminine side to the world. But I feel that I've been forced to repress the feminine aspect of my personality due to our very rigid gender expectation of men, and that's what makes me feel so caged. And angry.

    • Jaggedfrost profile image

      Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

      hmm Was the opening phrase supposed to be a subliminal pump for comment? I am curious how you connect personally to this subject. I see that you place a lot of personal emotion into this subject and that you feel a conflict between your ideals and this subject. I wasn't sure, however what mode of expression you were going for. What started you thinking about it in the first place?