To be a man in many cultures to this day still means the same as it did years ago, it has not changed much due to men still wanting the power, respect, and holding on to that image of being better than the other man. It all begins when the young boy is taught to “be a man” and is no longer able to cry or show emotion. He then will be interested in wanting to be better and stronger than his fellow classmates. This turns into having the pressure not only from your father but from society in general to prove your masculinity. In some cases just to prove one the young men result in different kinds of acts of violence if not to them self’s then towards others. All in all some resort to other measures as to hold the act of silence just to fit in and feel they are holding on to what is said to be the guy code. Whatever it may be growing up in today’s society being a man is not as simple as I assumed it once to be.
I do believe there is a strong feeling of competing between most men, ranging from playing the best sports, having the most muscles, better jobs, nicer cars, etc. You would think it would be most likely to impress the ladies but I’m afraid it is more of trying to impress other males. Proving ones masculinity is rather quite interesting, being a woman I always saw these things happening I just never really looked into it till now.
As we begin to ask ourselves where this battle begins in a young boys life that he is shown to start to act like a man, psychologist like William Pollack argue that from an early age boys are taught to refrain from crying to suppress their emotions, never to display vulnerability. With that being said when a boy is 4 or 5 he is still attached very much so to his mother which it completely normal, knowing that it is ok to cry when he gets a scrape or a cut to show emotion during a storm. It is when the child is around 9 years of age that he begins to hear those dreadful words “Be a man” that usually come from the mouths of the father/ father figure in the young boys life and his angle of seeing things takes a turn. He then is confronted with other boys in school, the teasing and the act of “fitting in” begins to take a major role in the boy’s life, it pushes the young boy to want to be tougher or cooler than the other boys in his school. It turns into somewhat of a risk as to what choice the young boy will take to begin to prove his manliness.
We should not be shocked as to hear where most of these boys get these ideas from, most will get it from there fathers, others from coaches, teachers, uncles, etc. Maybe when they hear things coming from their fathers it seems to have a deeper effect on these young boys, trying to prove himself to the eyes of his father and make him proud of his little boy. The tougher and stronger you are the better you will be in life is how most males think in different cultures. As to coaches or P.E teachers putting ideas into the kid’s heads, “push harder, throw further, swing faster!” Giving them the impression that the tougher you are the more of a man you are, some coaches have gone as to extremes to call the boys wimps, sissy’s, feeling forced to take the hits and not showing emotion, just because that’s what men do. So they try harder to be better to prove them self’s to these older, influential men in their lives.
There will always follow the pressure of a guy proving to himself as well as to his peers how much of a man he is. No guy wants to be called gay or any other word that will affect his masculinity obviously when he is trying to prove how much of a man he is. So they make sure they wear the right clothes, play the right sports, talk enough, and listen only when necessary. Basically anything that has to do with showing to much emotion goes out the window. If you ask a teenage boy what is the common put down he would most likely say the answer is “that is so gay” Not necessarily does this mean homosexuality but by being called “gay” is being used as a kind of way to say you are not masculine enough. In the article it mentions that most men despite them proving there masculinity to impress a woman they strive to out show themselves in front of other men more. It’s like they want to have each other’s approval more than anything.
Some guys take proving there masculinity very serious and when they feel the respect or taunting of their masculinity is at risk they turn to desperate measures that most times involve an act of violence. Regardless if it may be towards the person challenging their manhood or towards themselves, in some young men being bullied about their sexuality sometimes results in them taking their own lives. I’ve herd of young boys having had enough with the teasing and bullying and decide to take their lives just to not go another day with other boys teasing them. When in other situations some men feel they need to prove just how powerful they are and seek a fight, while others watch just to show everyone just how strong they are resulting in them getting respect. This act of violence you will mostly see in thugs or gangsters. Others preform horrible acts of sexual violence among fellow members of a group, team or fraternity; this is what is called hazing the new members. At times taking things too far and the frat guys end up hurting or even sending them to the hospital with savvier injuries. There is far worse scenario when these college guys preform sexual acts toward woman and others watch but go by the act of silence and not report the crimes and are lead to believe that they are men and shall not tell on one another.
If one as parent raised their young boy different maybe things would be easier on him. One would think but in today’s society what is taught at home will only do so much before the young boy is exposed to the reality of how men are in this world. I could go on and on to my son about how he can be his own man and express himself in the manner he chooses to, but once he steps out the door he will be confronted with other kids and that is when the urge to want to be better the only way he will be taught through these boys. So instead maybe one as a parent kind of ends up having no choice but to start at home and hope that what we teach our boys will guide them to be a good man with good standards. In conclusion proving you are a man in today’s society seems to be very stress full and at times might take a toll on a few of these young boy’s. Maybe it is wrong how society is and the pressure these young boys face. It has been this way for many years and I highly doubt the presumption of what it takes to be a man will change any time soon. It was interesting to learn how the minds of guys think. The power, respect, and pride in these men just to follow the so called “guy code” is very amazing but just how far will these boys and men go to prove there masculinity? Leaves me to think how my son’s will be and grow up to become after having had lived through school, college and work experiences.