The standards and expectations for men in Pakistani society

With the wave of feminism taking over the world, issues pertaining to women are discussed and highlighted very often. Where these issues, topics, and movements are crucial in our day and age; such as the #metoo movement or equal pay demand; it is also important to not forget about the other gender. Men are often neglected in comparison to women, whereas they may face similar conflicts in life. This paper in no way tries to target feminism, rather it tries to shed light on various stereotypes associated with men that are not discussed enough.

Statement of the Problem:

According to every society, everywhere, men are known to be the leaders, the breadwinners, the providers. They are expected to be strong and healthy and capable. Where this may be true the reality of the matter is that all of these expectations carry with a certain amount of burden and pressure. This burden/pressure on men is not discussed often enough. The minimal discussion or lack thereof is a big source adding to psychological problems in males.

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Our study proposes to investigate the severity and presence of these psychological problems in men in Pakistan.

The significance of the Study:

It is important for this study to be carried out because there is not enough research or literature out there in regard to the problems faced by the male gender. This study aims to discuss issues not otherwise discussed. It aims to create awareness amongst people and to act as a source perhaps of help and reassurance for men/boys out there.

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This study may also act as an example and guide of what needs to be changed in our society so that the future male generation can be healthier and happier.


Within this study as priorly mention we will be looking at stereotypes and certain standards associated with men. We will specifically be discussing physical standards and stereotypes, such as; height, build, complexion, weight, etc. Also, the expectations in regards to education and career, such as; boys are expected to go into science fields rather than art, and men are expected to be sole breadwinner of the family.


Do the stereotypes, standards and expectations associated with men, impact them negatively?


The standards and expectations that we have set for men in our Pakistani society, have a negative impact on their mental health, confidence and self esteem.


Behold the man: the hype and selling of male beauty in media and culture (1999)

Discussing examples in which both striking men and women are regarded as “the norm,” Behold the Man argues that men are experiencing the same injustices as women – sold on the covers of magazines and in advertisements, based on their sex appeal, sometimes to promote nothing more than their looks. Within this book, topics on how society portrays ‘the ideal male’ through advertisements for clothing, cologne, sunglasses, automobiles, and shaving products are found; how well-built males and their bodies are featured in movies, music videos, and literature; and how advertisers and authors faithfully follow the “bigger is better” theory – for example, “pectoral and bicep muscles.” “Revealing how men alter their bodies by dieting and cosmetic surgery to achieve the look found in advertisements, this book also examines how today’s growing number of male eating disorders are caused by the notion that only good-looking, muscular men are acceptable.

The invisible man got the whole world watching (2016)

The book’s title is a lyric from a track on “Black on Both Sides,” a 1999 album by YasiinBey, formerly known as Mos Def, as well as a reference to the Ralph Ellison novel. Smith name-checks others. When we say ‘a boy needs a father’ we mean ‘a boy needs someone to teach him to be a leader,’?Smith writes. “Teach him to suppress, teach him to be unfeeling, teach him to lead without asking, teach him solitude, teach him not to cope, teach him to explode. Just for maintaining the myth. Every lesson my father ever taught me came back to the myth.” But, Smith doesn’t narrate clear practices for rejecting respectability politics, confronting mental health. And as it is acknowledged later, “the process is never complete.” Given the pressure he wants us to apply to eliminate these negative systems, readers deserve critical ¬practices for accomplishing this, rather than platitudes. Ultimately, “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching” is ambitious, ardent and timely. I appreciate Smith’s self-awareness, his vulnerability and his intelligence in detailing our failures and in encouraging us to dismantle the masculinity myth.

Stereotype content across cultures by ST Fiske (2016)

The stereotype content model discusses potentially universal principles of societal stereotypes and their relation to social structure. It reveals theoretically grounded, cross-cultural, cross-groups similarities and one difference across 10 non-US nations.

People all over the world make sense of their society’s groups by consulting tow perception:

What is the other’s intent (warm and trustworthy or not), and can the other enact that intent (competent or not)? Distinct stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination follow from these warmth-by-competences combinations, themselves predicted respectively by perceived competition and status. Evidence supports the stereotypes’ hypothesized antecedents (social structure) and distinct consequences (emotions and behaviors). After describing internal validity, the chapter addresses external validity and then moderating variables. Finally, the chapter takes up cultural variation: Collectivist culture show less in-group favoritism, high-status societies favor themselves on competence and low-status Societies favor themselves on warmth. More unequal societies describe more groups with ambivalence (high on one dimension but low on the on the other). More equal societies, but also more conflictual societies, show less ambivalence, in an apparently curvilinear peace-ambivalence pattern. The chapter closes with implications and future directions.

The Decent of Man By Grayson Perry (2016)

Rather brief and pertinent little book about the history, nature and future of masculinity wound around Grayson Perry’s own struggle with his masculinity. The best part of the book is when Perry talks about his own life, the abuse from his stepfather, his teenage self as a skinhead and skateboarder, his passion for motor biking and mountain biking, his transvestitism and his own struggles with masculinity.

His analysis of the problem is pretty much spot on as you would expect; nearly all crime and violence can be laid at the door of men as can wars and the way societies are run.

Men are often emotionally closed and distant. Perry writes all this pretty well:

Examining masculinity can seem like a luxury problem, a pastime for wealthy, well-educated, peaceful society, but I would argue the opposite: the poorer, the more undeveloped, the more uneducated a society is, the more masculinity needs realigning with the modern world, because masculinity is probably holding back that society. All over the globe, crimes are committed, wars are started, women are being held back and economies are disastrously distorted by men, because of their outdated version of masculinity.”

Perry argues that genetics plays a very small role in this and conditioning and society’s expectations are the central problems and will hinder any solutions:

“We need to firm up what it is to be a man in the 21st century, because other retrograde forces are happy to promote a seductive, familiar, easy-to-assemble package”.

Perry’s solutions though tend towards self-reflection, men meeting in groups and talking the solution being inside men’s heads. This may miss the point that our economic system depends very much on competition and division; all very much part of the male psyche.

The analysis of the problem by Perry in the first half of the book is very much better than The solutions in the second half which is quite rambling. Perry is however quite funny and incisive; his musings about clothing are particularly funny; he refers to ties as “colourful textile phalluses” and Men are into frippery as much as women, but they cloak it under spurious function.

Perry’s new list of men’s rights at the end are fairly uncontroversial:

  1. The right to be vulnerable
  2. The right to be wrong
  3. The right to be weak
  4. The right to be flexible
  5. The right to be intuitive
  6. The right to be uncertain
  7. The right not to know
  8. The right not to be ashamed of any of these

But his solutions are not radical enough.



  • Pakistani men of ages 15 – 35 living both in Pakistan and abroad.
  • Sample size is undetermined.

Data Collection Procedures:

  • Primary data collected through questionnaires and interviews.
  • Secondary data collected from other researches, studies and literature found.


Through this study we expect to find that a high percentage of men and boys in Pakistan are subjected to various stereotypes. We expect to find that said stereotypes affect their mental health, confidence and self esteem negatively. We hope that these findings can be applied in life to perhaps reduce some of the burden that said stereotypes put on men further resulting in improved male psychology longterm.

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The standards and expectations for men in Pakistani society. (2019, Nov 14). Retrieved from

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