Priorities

Gender Inequality: Pressure is on the Men Too

Gender Inequality: Pressure is on the Men Too

by Yash Saboo March 13 2018, 5:04 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 0 secs

"There are far more incentives for women to act masculine than there are for men to act feminine."

While women generally face gender stereotypes, traditional stereotypes are often just as difficult for men to live up to. There are enormous pressures to be a ‘real man’, to demonstrate physical and emotional strength, and to provide financially as the family ‘breadwinner’. Trying to live up to this ideal can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Yet the pressure to remain emotionally resilient often prevents men seeking help.

Male privilege is not equally distributed to the advantage of each man. Low-income men, men outside the traditional power structure, men who hold alternative views, homosexual and bisexual men, and other specific groups of men are at times subject to discrimination.

Source : EmpowHER

Thus, men are more likely to consume alcohol excessively; more likely to engage in violent and risky behaviours; and less likely to admit pain, seek medical advice or have a strong social network from which to ask for help.

Recent research also demonstrates that while men and boys may have greater privileges over women and girls, masculine norms come with a mix of privilege as well as personal costs that are reflected in the mental and other health needs of men. It is important to examine these costs of masculine norms, not only on girls and women but also on young boys and men.

In this influential era of internet and social media, people form their opinions based on others. Fighting for women’s rights has become synonymous with man-hating.

With a growing number of men taking on the responsibility of caring for children as their partners work, breaking down traditional gender stereotypes is increasingly important. Research has also shown societal pressures to be aggressive and not reveal vulnerabilities can have negative effects on men. According to statics by the Center for Disease Control, suicide is four times higher among men than it is in women. “Suicide needs to be addressed as a health and gender inequality–an avoidable difference in health and length of life that … affects men more because of the way society expects them to behave,” according to a report by Samaritans, a U.K.-based suicide-prevention organization.

Bringing men into the conversation on gender equality takes a step toward breaking down those expectations of both genders. As Emma Watson said in her speech, “It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.”

How to do that? “We need to get men in the room now,” says Claudia Chan, founder of the annual S.H.E. Summit. “Men need to get integrated into the movement.”

Looking at what is unique about boys often requires comparing them with girls and highlighting areas where boys have higher rates of morbidities or mortality than young women. However, these comparisons can be problematic, leading to a polarising and simplistic debate about who suffers more or which gender faces greater health risks and so on.

Such comparisons may also downplay some crucial similarities between adolescent girls and boys. Calling attention to the needs and realities of adolescent boys and men should not imply that the goal of empowering girls and women has been achieved. Men, for their part, should come into the gender equality movement knowing that they are privileged and not from the perspective of being a victim. They should know how to handle their privileges without infringing on the rights of women, girls, and other men.



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