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Ever since an early age, I was taught how to be a “man”. My father raised me upon the beliefs that he learned throughout his life. Many aspects from his childhood and his military career wore off on me. Still, to this day I live by the three core values taught in the Air Force, “ Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do”. Many standards are put up for men to live up to, and they have remained constant throughout the years.
Looking back into my younger years I can still remember everything that was expected of me because of my gender. Never hit a girl, be a gentleman, be athletic, don’t cry, man up. All of these ideas were branded into my mind so that one day I could grow to be a great man. The expectations put on men cause them to struggle physically, mentally, and emotionally through their lives.
Academically, men have it much harder than women do.
The modern K-12 education system was created for women to succeed for a number of reasons. Schools fail to acknowledge the mental and biological differences between the two genders that affect one’s ability to learn. A girls behavior is seen as the perfect standard in schools, treating boys as flawed girls. What was once seen as “boyish behavior” is now seen as disrespectful or wrong. Men and women aren’t the same and never will be the same, so we cannot treat them the same.
There is zero tolerance for boys while in school, and this starts from day one. In preschool, a boy is five times more likely to be expelled than a girl. The suspension rate for boys in a K-12 school is drastically higher than girls, with boys accounting for nearly 70% of suspensions. What makes these suspensions bias is how they are determined. Boys are compared to girls behaviorally, which sets an achievable standard for them.
Many of the reported suspensions were made for minor acts of defiance, or even completely innocent and “boyish” behavior. Schools don’t allow boys to be boys, and this is very harmful to them. Schools are teaching these young and impressionable minds that their biological ways of thinking and acting are wrong. Boys are targeted by our education system. The standards set on men academically are much higher than they are for women, which can lead to increased stress for the students. Women go into more AP and Honors courses, leave schools with better grades and are more likely to get accepted into colleges than men.
Many problems that I face currently all tie in with society’s expectation of men. In a relationship, men are typically expected to be the dominant and leading figure, any sign of femininity is frowned upon by many men and women. Expectations such as these are what has made my life harder. I have been laughed at due to my body figure and the lack of masculinity I portray, I have been shunned by other men for my sexual orientation, even looked down upon for expressing my emotions too much. All of these experiences have impacted my perspective on the gender issues and stereotypes present today. In terms of masculinity expectations, I lack greatly. My height is below average for men, I choose not to work out, which has become a standard for men nowadays, I fall under the 2.2% of men who identify as a homosexual, my tendency to express emotion that is seen as “weak” or submissive”. People have seen my more “feminine” characteristics as a flaw in my personality, classifying me as less of a man. If you were born a boy then you are expected to grow into a masculine man. Because of this, I have felt like an outcast.
For many years I tried to fit in with other men. I would place sports regardless of my personal interest in them, I suppress my emotions from everyone, even myself at times so I wouldn’t show any signs of weakness. All of this came at a cost though. The more I tried to fit in the less unique I became. My mind was cluttered with ideas of what a man has to be and what is expected of me that I lost all originality in myself. I was so set on meeting these expectations that I was willing to fake my personality. It was like I was wearing a mask for those years. All of this lead to me having very low self-esteem, I was never too strong, never athletic enough, never masculine enough for societies standards. I continually compared myself to other men, noticing how different I was from most of them. All of this had a very negative effect on my mental health. I sacrificed my own well being just to live up to my gender expectations. To this day I am still repairing the damages that had been done to my mind, starting to focus more on my own personality instead of what I am expected to be like.
I would like to cover a topic that not many Kohler boys would be able to talk about, homosexuality. I myself am an openly gay man. Living in the twenty-first century, I have the utmost respect to early LGBT+ supports who have paved the path for me today. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to be as open to express myself the way I can today. My sexual orientation isn’t necessarily a burden, but it has made my life harder. Many names have been given to me such as “faggot” and “queer”. People have scolded me for a chemical reaction in my brain that we call love. Many assumptions and stereotypes have been made because of my orientation. Just because I’m gay it doesn’t mean I will be dressing up in full drag and protesting Trump rallies on my free time. The generation I live in today might be the most open-minded generation, but there is a lack of this mindset from older generations that have made my life harder.
My father has always been a huge role model for me, some would say that he is a perfect “alpha male”. I have been blessed with having such a great father figure, he is an active duty Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, single father of five, hardworking individual. He taught me everything that I know today including basic manners and proper work ethic. Everything from his career choices to his body figure resembles masculinity, but his life wasn’t easy for him. He worked as hard as he possibly could to get where he is today, putting in a greater effort than most women would. Women would much rather rely on men to provide them with food and money, leaving the dirty work in their hands.
Men are expected to be the breadwinners of a family, carrying every economic burden on their shoulders. In a society that is constantly patting women on the back for being so independent and strong, why do they still rely on men like this? The truth is, most women would rather stay at home then be the breadwinner. Because of this, men are expected to work good jobs that make decent money so that they can provide for their family. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Every family needs a stable income to remain stable, but societal expectations have left this burden in men’s hands. Men will work harder, more physically demands jobs, whether it’s roofing or mining, regardless of the effects it may have on their mental state. It would be nice if women would step up and use their strong and independent minds to help provide for their families as well.
In America today, straight white men have it harder than any other group of people living in this country. Men are being targeted and attacked by fourth wave feminism solely based on there given sex. Fourth wave feminists stereotype men as racist, sexist, homophobic people with no given evidence but their own beliefs. This puts men in a very tough position. Speaking out against these women can be seen as a sexist act, labeling our words as “mansplaining”. What used to be the belief that men and women should have equal rights has evolved into a hate-driven movement against men. What the feminist movement has become is a widespread man-hating organization, with the goal to degrade men and make them less equal than women. Feminism has made all male behavior disgusting or intolerable, deeming masculinity as “toxic” and something that should be squandered in men. What was previously seen as masculine behavior is now viewed as demeaning or condescending.
Myths such as the gender wage gap and campus rape culture have been created to try and make men seem like heartless beasts who only want to keep women below them. Nowadays you can’t get away with looking at a woman for more than four seconds without expecting a rape allegation the next week. Even I have to be cautious about every word I say when speaking to a woman, in fear that I could be accused of sexism. Feminists like to make women seem like a helpless victim in a society that was built to keep them below men, and their solution to this is to try and make men less equal than women. This “eye for an eye” belief is what will ruin relationships between the sexes in America. By fighting for an “equal future”, these feminists have classified masculinity as something to be ashamed and fearful of.
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