Written By: Ashley Pariseau
By now, most of us know that women feel a pretty intense pressure to look and be a certain way in order to be accepted and appreciated in our culture. I have talked a bit about this in some of my posts of the past, but I want to point out for a minute that women are not alone. There is a set of social standards that are pushed on to men as well and I want to talk about one in particular.
Every so often I will read an article somewhere or even hear a comment from someone in daily life when someone refers to the term, “real man.” It is commonly used by both men and women when they want to encourage a certain ideal of how a man should conduct himself based on what their personal beliefs are. You have heard the sayings. Some people use the term to set forth ideals of traditional masculinity. For example:
Real men drink beer, not fruity little mixed drinks.
Real men can grow an epic beard.
Real men don’t cry.
And then there are those that use to term to reject traditional masculinity.
Real men wear pink.
Real men aren’t afraid to cry.
Real men stay at home with their kids.
The list goes on and on as to what it means to be a real man. It got me thinking, what the heck does being a real man entail anyway? Everyone seems to have their own opinions depending on their agenda. The way I see it, it all just needs to stop. We need to stop using the term for men and also for women completely.
Anyone who identifies as a man is a real man.
It matters not what he does with his life. He is still a real man. He may or may not be someone’s ideal type of man, but no one gets to decide for him whether or not he is a real man. We aren’t doing anyone any favors by continuing to push high standards on to each other. Just something to think about.