Bright Side

What Masculism Is All About, and Why Men No Longer Want to Appear Cool and Macho


While suffragettes and feminists had been struggling for their rights, society watched avidly as women won over the right to vote and work where they wanted. But no one ever stopped to wonder how men were doing. Turns out, this struggle resulted in a loss of a “piece” of their rights and their opportunities became infringed upon in some aspects.

Bright Side figured out what things modern representatives of the planet’s “stronger” half are unsatisfied with.

What masculism is all about and why we should care about it.

According to societal rules, men aren’t supposed to feel this way, but representatives of this “stronger half” have slowly started to show dissatisfaction with the one-sidedness of feminism. Thus, a men’s movement called masculism appeared in 1960 in the US. Its representatives are fighting for the equal rights of men and women. They also claim that boys and men are often humiliated because of stereotypes associated with gender.

Masculists are not people who try to offend women. They don’t confront feminists, they simply don’t want society to demand that they match the idea of a “prince on a white horse”. Here are the biggest problems that bother modern masculists.

Lookism applied to men

Lookism is a prejudiced attitude toward the appearance of a person. Ordinary men also suffer from stereotypes because in their private lives and at work, attractive and courageous guys have advantages. Scientists have confirmed masculists’ claims.

  • The average woman dreams about being with a tall man whose height starts at 6 feet. However, men’s average height doesn’t match this ideal. In reality, men on average are 5.74-5.76 feet tall.
  • Brunette men usually win over redhead or bald men. All because most women dream about a brunette man with brown eyes. Why is this? Girls say that men with this hair color give off the impression of having a stronger spirit as well as being more energetic and self-confident.
  • A beard is a good bonus. Men with facial hair are perceived as brave, decisive, and strong. Moreover, they’re hired more often.
  • Women like men with broad shoulders which has been confirmed with research.

    Advertising and entertainment have formed the image of an ideal man which is infinitely far from reality. Nevertheless, big manufacturers use this image widely and women are more likely to buy certain goods if they’re advertised by a cool, macho guy.

    However, men’s lookism has very sad consequences such as dysmorphophobia. Modern men start to feel ashamed of their bodies because it’s not fit, tan, or brawny enough. Dysmorphophobia leads to the abuse of steroids and depression due to the inability to achieve the ideal look.

Men also suffer from domestic violence.

In our society, home violence is closely associated with women playing the role of the victim and the husband, the abusive tyrant. But men can suffer from domestic violence as well.

  • 30% of domestic violence victims are men that are abused by women (girlfriends, wives, mothers, etc.). Unfortunately, these victims don’t have a place to seek help — there are almost no special centers for supporting men in difficult life situations.
  • Women are more inventive when it comes to abuse. Of course, there are ladies who simply beat men and injure them of varying severity. However, the abuse they dish out is most often not physical. This can consist of emotional torture, stalking, financial blackmail, and sexual abuse.
  • Men feel ashamed to ask for help because society doesn’t take this issue seriously. It’s assumed that real men don’t complain about that stuff and that women can’t hurt them.

    However, times are changing and nowadays one can go to prison for coercive behavior in the UK. For example, Valerie Sanders from North Yorks spent several hours behind bars and was sued for nagging her husband to vacuum their house.

Fathers have fewer rights when it comes to raising kids.

It’s the mother who receives custody of the children in cases of divorce in most countries of the world. No matter how good the father is, he has to fight for the right to raise his kids.

  • Men have no rights at all when it comes to reproduction. The right to decide whether or not to have a child, when to do it, and who the father will be, almost always belongs to a woman.
  • Moreover, as a rule, fathers are depicted as zany in modern television, cinematography, and modern literature. They don’t seem to know what to feed their kids with, they put their little girls’ tights on their heads instead of hats, and faint at the smell of a diaper.

Terry Crews once was attacked with shaming comments by Twitter users. The actor said that the role of the father in a child’s upbringing is incredibly important, and children from incomplete families suffer from a lack of male influence. Crews was criticized for preaching “traditional values of the patriarchal society”.

Men get the most dangerous jobs.

There are professions that traditionally involve men exclusively. These dangerous jobs consist of miners, loggers, and fishermen.

  • Men die or get injured at work 10 times more often than women.
  • According to statistics, it takes men more time to commute because they have to spend more time getting to work than women.

    This is all because men are considered the “significant earners” and must sacrifice their time and health for decent pay. It’s another gender stereotype against which masculists stand.

Men’s life expectancy is shorter than women’s.

Women live longer than men all around the world. The difference is about 4-5 years in developed countries and even more in poorer countries.

  • Men commit suicide 4 times more often than women.
  • 35,000 men die of prostate cancer every year and 43,000 women die of breast cancer in the US annually. At the same time, the country spends 6 times more money on breast cancer research and gives more informational resources to women.
  • Men are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. However, the situation is changing and according to scientists’ forecasts, representatives of the stronger sex will live longer by 2050. Some countries are developing ways to prevent these common male diseases.

There’s a taboo regarding men who like traditionally “female” activities thanks to strict gender stereotypes.

Masculists’ main headache is caused by gender stereotypes or the idea of what a real man should and shouldn’t do. For example, the expression, “crying like a girl” is incredibly damaging. According to society, a man should always be confident, stern, collected and generally look like a cowboy played by Clint Eastwood. And these stereotypes have been instilled in us since childhood.

  • Despite the presence of feminism for over 100 years, women are still considered to be weak creatures. Men are supposed to give up their seats in public transport and carry heavy things for females even if they just got off a night shift at a power plant or are having health issues. Also, husbands who earn less than their wives or who take paternity leave are still laughed at in many situations.
  • Psychologists conducted a series of experiments and proved that a group of people in an emergency would be more willing to sacrifice a man than a woman. For example, if there were 2 people drowning, a man and a woman, the one remaining life jacket would be thrown to the woman.
  • Parents feel embarrassed for boys who decide to take part in some girlish activities such as playing with dolls or doing embroidery. At the same time, tomboy girls are more tolerated by these same parents.
  • Female criminals have easier lives than male criminals. In Russia, for example, women aren’t as likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

What can this fight lead us to?

Sometimes the struggle for equality with women takes a strange turn. Recently, Japan has been home to a special group called “Herbivore Men” ( Jap: soshoku danshi). These guys refrain from having any relationships with women and don’t have any plans to have a family. They’re not members of sexual minorities — they simply feel the traditional role of a male earner is too burdensome.

Moreover, Asia also has a new trend known as “soft masculinity”. These men use cosmetics and take good care of their body and face. Traditional, burly men aren’t trendy anymore — it’s all about “flower boys” with a beautiful hairstyle and fashion sense to match.

Of course, masculism fades beside feminism since the struggle for women’s rights has a longer history and gets more empathy. Moreover, feminism has become commercialized. There are movies filmed about it and goods are produced to promote strong and independent women. Men have less luck in this arena because society takes their demands as a weakness.

Do you support masculists’ demands or do you think they’re asking for too much? We’d be glad to hear from you in the comments!

Preview photo credit David GandyFR / Youtube, Pexels
Illustrated by Yekaterina Ragozina for Bright Side