Ladies, before your heads get too hot, hear me out. I am not discrediting the problems that we face. After all, I am a woman too. I am merely recognizing the problems men face.
Growing up, I was the biggest “Daddy’s Girl” you’ve probably ever seen. Maybe that has caused bias for what is about to follow, or maybe my parents raised me to see both sides of the picture before judging someone. Either way, this is where I stand on the following issues and what I hope it eventually changes into. I know some of these problems are being addressed in recent feminist movements, but they are still a problem, so I am addressing them.
Men are expected to be strong—emotionally.
Men are supposed to show no mercy. From the day they were born, most men were raised to “suck it up” and “stop whining.” Whether they realized it or not, this has tainted the way they live their lives. They are not taught how to properly express themselves. Throughout my lifetime, I have seen my dad cry a grand total of three times. He isn’t the only one. Many men bottle their emotions and hide their pain, so they don’t come off as weak. Eventually, when men do feel the need to talk to someone about their feelings, they are left at a loss for words because they were never taught how to properly express themselves.
My hope is for men to eventually be able to express their emotions without any judgment.
Men are expected to be strong—physically.
“Did you break it? No? Then why are you crying?” or “throw some dirt on it” are two very common phrases that men were told throughout their childhood. They are expected to carry the heavy stuff, grow beards and chest hair and be able to take a punch. What is so wrong with asking someone else for help to carry something? Why does hair symbolize “manliness”? And why, on God’s Green Earth, are men expected to be able to fight?! I truly don’t understand why society expects such things from men.
My hope is for men to be able to embrace their bodies—small, big, short, tall, hairy or hairless.
Men can’t love kids.
My current boyfriend brought this specific subject to my attention. If I am at a grocery store or a restaurant and I see a cute baby, I will wave and smile or make a silly face without hesitation. But my boyfriend told me something that never once crossed my mind—he can’t. He can’t wave to a random adorable baby or call the little teenager cute or adorable. He has to double and triple think his actions any time he is around kids. Now, my boyfriend is one of the most trustworthy people, but all random parents see is a man—a possible predator.
My hope is for men to be able to love, play and joke with children the same as women do. I hope children are safe from the disgusting men AND women out there someday.
Men can’t wear makeup.
Personally, I don’t find men wearing colorful eyeshadow or false eyelashes attractive. However, that doesn’t mean they should be made fun of or called names. Every hobby, including makeup, should be acceptable for men and women.
My hope is that men can wear and dress how they want without judgment.
Men are supposed to like rough sports.
Football and boxing are a couple of sports that men are expected to like. Why is it so surprising or appalling when a man likes volleyball? What classifies a sport as a female or male sport? All sports, just like all hobbies, should be unisex.
My hope is that men are able to like and play any sport they want without judgment.
This is not a comprehensive list by any means. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Men face stereotypes and societal expectations every day, all day long. For some of them, it is second nature while for others, it requires conscious thought. No matter the effort administered, these social norms should not be as they are. My hope is that men and women will be treated EQUAL.
To the men, I respect you, and I recognize the challenges you face. I appreciate all that you do, but I sincerely hope some of these burdens are lifted off of your shoulders as soon as possible. To the ladies, be patient and try to educate the men on how to properly talk about their emotions. Don’t judge them.
Gloria Steinem said, “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” We are all worthy of love and understanding.