5 Ways that Men Can Defy What It Means to be Traditionally Male
There are certain stereotypes about men that might seem outdated in some circles, but in others, people still widely accept them. There is this idea that men love nothing other than beer, shopping for car parts, and vulgar jokes. But how does a man defy traditionally Male stereotypes?
There is still a place in society for all of those things, but the idea that they should encompass everything that it means to be male should have gone out of style a long time ago. Here are some ways that the modern man can defy these expectations, and in doing so, gain a newfound sense of freedom.
You Can Show Your Feelings
Tradition dictates that men should be:
- Virtually unfeeling
- Decisive in every situation
However, it is long past the time when men couldn’t cry, and couldn’t express doubt if that’s what they’re feeling in the moment.
Men are human, and all humans feel sad or depressed sometimes. We all need an emotional outlet, and that might well be our partners, spouses, friends, or family members. It is unrealistic to say that a man should never be uncertain of the best path to take, or that they should be robotic in what they do and say.
As a male, it’s going to be much better if you can express to your partner or spouse when you’re having a moment of doubt. It will be healthier to mourn if something terrible happens, like the loss of a family member or pet. Showing this vulnerability humanizes you, and it lets you draw closer with those around you.
Traditionally Male Stereotypes: You Don’t Have to be the Breadwinner
There is also a traditional story-line that says the man should be the sole breadwinner in the household. More and more, though, that is not the case.
Some men are putting work aside so that they can:
- Help raise the children.
- Take care of the household
- Care for an aging relative
In those scenarios, the spouse or partner might do the majority of the work, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Choosing to set work aside for the moment to care for an ailing relative or take a more active role in child-rearing is nothing if not noble. It would help if you did not allow yourself to feel diminished because of it.
You Can Take Jobs that Aren’t Conventionally Held by Men.
There are also jobs that society once considered to be a woman’s domain. Examples might be something like a flight attendant, a hairdresser, or a ballet dancer.
A man can hold any job that a woman can. What’s more important is that you do whatever inspires passion in you.
Any mental health professional will tell you the same thing. If you deny your passion, then you’re going to make yourself unhappy. If your only reason for not pursuing a career path is “that’s not a job for a man,” then you need to reevaluate your mindset going forward.
Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Up to Bullies.
There is also an idea that men should never say anything when they see someone else being bullied. A notion even exists that real men should be comfortable assuming the role of the bully if they see someone they feel is weaker than themselves.
As a society, we need to do a better job of standing up to bullies wherever they appear, at work, at school, or anywhere else. It is not somehow “more male” to ignore when an individual picks on someone else. Intervening, or reporting to the authorities what is taking place, is a way for you to be socially responsible.
In addition to these ways of being, you can also try to discard any relationships that try to force you back into destructive patterns of behavior. There is a term that some people throw around these days, which is “toxic masculinity.” It is a bit abrasive, but there is no question that it’s a real thing, and you should work to be the antithesis of it.
Being a better man amounts to no more or less than being a better human being. It’s not about gender. It is about being true to your nature and not allowing outdated concepts to define you.
As you make choices in your life and decide how best to conduct yourself when you’re out in the world, don’t have a preoccupation with what it means to be male. Instead, attempt to come to terms with what it means to be a good, decent person and shake those traditionally male stereotypes for good.