Being a man is somewhat easier than being a woman. There, I said it. But – even if that is the truth in general, there is a whole host of things men are saddled with societally which can make everyday life challenging, unfair and costly. Here are the key ones.
The pressure to succeed
Whatever success means, and it usually just means being rich and handsome, or one of the two. Being a male comes with an immense pressure to do well for a grand majority of men. This is not because all men have the drive and ambition to be successful, but because men labelled as ‘failures’ are more likely to be pushed onto the outskirts of their social circles, be looked down upon or be treated poorly by even their own families. And they often self-label.
Here is an example of such self-labeling. A while ago I dated a man who was earning the same amount as I was. When I broke up with him he was convinced that it’s because he was not making enough money, and he said it to me. I broke up with him because he was useless in bed, but somehow the money thing seemed less hurtful so I didn’t correct him.
Every day my male friend, unless you have a grand, bushy beard. You will have your face scratched by a cheap dual blade razor OR if you prefer, you can throw some money into a different hair removal tool, such as electric razor. Except you will shave pretty much daily for the rest of your life because unlike women, you also should have a tiny bit of visible stubble on your chin at the end of the day. So no permanent hair removal, no IPL, no laser. Go scratch your face now.
There is the free kind, where you see an older or disabled person, or a heavily pregnant woman, and you give them your seat. Or you hold the door for people walking with you. Or you keep your legs together sat on public transport (sorry, had to put it in here). And there is the not so free kind, where you will pay for every single first date you will ever go on, flowers to go with it and the first holiday together. Because as a man, especially a straight man, unless you are a knight in a shining armour made of ‘I can support a family’ gold, you’re always punching above your weight. Both the free (also practised by most women and called manners) and not so free kinds of chivalry are expected of you. The second kind sucks, especially if you are not financially successful.
So you find crocheting relaxing? Tough s*it, put on your rugby shoes on and go roll around in the mud.
Welcome to the male branch of gender stereotyping – from men being told by other men (and some women) that natural things such as crying from positive or negative emotion, being afraid of something or even taking care of your home, are not masculine. It still happens and it makes no sense to me.
You can do the laundry? You unload the dishwasher? You can deep-clean a bathroom? Well, your woman has you under her heel, doesn’t she? Except, these are just basic life skills to take care of yourself. For men, only to be done in private and with curtains drawn apparently, and without ever mentioning that you can bake a kick-ass tray of brownies just as well as you can chug a pint down your local (you don’t get cocktail bars either even though we all like a good Daiquiri, you only get the local).
Why is taking time out of work to take care of your young children considered not ok for men? Majority of companies in the UK cater for maternal leave reasonably well, but paternal leave is often limited to just a couple of weeks with strong pressure on men to get back to work quickly. This trend is seen right across the world and leaves men with a constant catch up in bonding with their child, supporting their (usually exhausted) partner in managing the madness a newborn brings into life and still holding down a job (and being good in it) while all they might want to do is nurture the human they created. And all that with increased number of women actually not wanting to be the main carer of the young children in a relationship.
You don’t get any, sorry. If you want something fun, ok, you can have socks and maaaaybe a t-shirt. Oh, it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside? You can’t wear a tank top and short shorts, what’s wrong with you. It’s freezing cold? Your choices are: a black coat, a navy coat. Maybe a brown one, if you get lucky. And you want a bag? A man-bag? Would you like the ‘ridiculous’ or ‘wtf is this’ model, or just a school bag? Oh, let’s give you a plain black backpack then.
You have been sexually harassed by a female? Take it like a man. You have sexually harassed a female? You’re dead man walking. You have not sexually harassed a female or another male but have been accused of doing so? You’re definitely a dead man walking, you should be a dead man running because there is a mob after you.
The hard truth is that men do cause a lot grief to women where it comes to harassment. Everything from predatory looks to domestic violence is considered to be dominated by men. But when the tables turn and a man faces unwanted advances, do we see him as a victim? Or just unmanly?
Being a man sucks too, but truth be told, it’s hard to compare with what women go through. Because men and women are hard to compare and really far off from being equals within social content.
I will close out this blog post here and go back to talking about money or the next blog post, promise!