The Pressure to Conform to Societal Expectations

Men and women alike are all under an immense amount of pressure. From whom you might ask? Society. Both genders face a challenge to live up to some societal expectation of what makes a man a man, or a woman a woman. For centuries, men and women have been told they have to act and be a certain way in order to play out that gender role, and if somehow they were a little different than what society expects, then they were made to feel like they were less than human.

Take for instance what society has told us all along what it takes to be a man. Men are supposed to like sports. Men are supposed to be the bread winners. Men are supposed to be able to use tools and fix things. Men are supposed to be able to be strong enough to protect and not show emotion. But does it make someone less of a man if they are not into sports? If they struggle to be bread winners, or don’t know how to fix things? If they struggle with dating issues? If they happen to show their emotions or don’t know how to fight? Who came up with the criteria of what it means to be a man and what defines them?

A sad reality is that there are many men who feel they have to be and act a certain way because they are living out what society expects them to be. More to the point, if some how they feel they don’t measure up in some way, they even began to feel being less of a man. To exemplify, some men may feel that if their spouse were to make more money than they did, then somehow she may be more of a man than he is and feelings of inadequacy may kick in.

Perhaps we need to stop believing that men and women all have to be a certain way in order to measure up to the role that they play in society. The pressure to be a certain way can and does affect people. It’s one of the reasons why people begin to doubt themselves, and struggle with their self-esteem, and self-worth. They begin to unconsciously feel that they too are not living up to what is expected. My intention is to make people realize that you don’t need to live up to what society expects you to be, and to understand you are created great as you are.