Recently, people have been questioning the concept of masculinity more openly. It has been discussed endlessly before, but never as openly and liberally as it is nowadays. With generations’ worth of ingrained customs and traditions dictating what a “man” should be, it’s no surprise that plenty of men are suffering to maintain the perfect manly image. This reflects on men just as badly as it does on women. Just as much as women suffer with stereotyping, men also feel society’s pressure on what it dictates a man should be or do. We’ve asked random Egyptian men about what they feel society has pressured them into doing in order to maintain a manly image. Here are their sobering answers.
Don’t chitchat on the phone with your significant other
Chatting is one of the things that – for no reason in particular – are attributed to women. This is ironic, since men are capable of talking just as much as women. It isn’t until men start having long conversations with their significant other that this becomes a problem. Apparently men will ridicule one another if this happens. We don’t understand why our society thinks it isn’t manly to have a long talk with your wife or girlfriend on the phone.
“An Egyptian man will call his mother “el7agga” or “ommy” in front of his friends.”
Never say mommy
An Egyptian man will call his mother “el7agga” or “ommy” in front of his friends, because people have been brainwashed to believe “mama” is a little boy’s way of calling one’s mother. If a man lets a “mama” slip, his friends will make fun of him endlessly.
You can’t get disgusted from food
Whether you don’t like a certain type of food or you simply feel disgusted by unclean street food, you’re automatically considered a sissy. Something as simple as food preference or avoiding food poisoning can be, quite unfairly, used against men to emasculate them.
You can’t drive slowly
Again, it baffles us why being safe is considered unmanly. You don’t have to be a daredevil in order for you to be called a man! Yet, society seems to believe it’s completely okay to encourage reckless driving.
No emotions on Instagram captions
Yes, this is apparently a problem with our generation as much as it is an older generation’s problem. The things men post on Social Media can’t be emotional. If they are, said men will receive comments making light of whatever they’re talking about in their caption or status. Apparently, society doesn’t believe feelings aren’t for men, which brings us to…
“Men were either bullied by fellow children about their crying, or told by their parents that “boys don’t cry”.”
Real men don’t cry
This was one of the most common answers. Everyone cries, but most men reported that when they were children, especially if they were sensitive children, they were told they shouldn’t cry. Men were either bullied by fellow children about their crying, or told by their parents that “boys don’t cry”. It is extremely sad to know that a child wasn’t allowed to express himself simply because of a preposterous myth about what “real men” do and don’t do.
You have to be interested in cars/football
Again, quite of few men reported this. If they weren’t interested in cars or football, other men thought it was strange and unmanly of them. It’s not possible that an entire gender, 50% of the human race, is interested in those two things. People need to understand that men, like women, have varying interests.
You can’t play with dolls
This is another thing that was forced on one of the men we interviewed when he was young. Even though he needed the Barbie dolls for the scenarios he created with his action figures, he wasn’t allowed to play with them. Instead of being encouraged for his creativity, he was curbed, because his parents didn’t want him “playing with dolls”.
You must be a womanizer
Especially during their teenage years, men are forced by society to project this image of masculinity by being with as many women as they can, even if they don’t really want to.
“Some men feel like they need to be over protective and jealous.”
Society demands too much of men, sometimes. It goes as far as controlling how they are in relationships. Some men feel like they need to be over protective and jealous. One of the men we spoke to reported having done that only because of how people and society perceived him rather than what he thought is right.
In conclusion, it is clear that patriarchy affects men as much as it does women. Men are emotionally restrained and forced into a mold that society sees fit for a man. When in fact, a man can be and act any way they want. This will only be fixed when we stop demanding from all men to be the same, and stop forcing our outdated ideals on them. By continuing to ask men to be a certain way, we are producing another generation of emotionally unavailable men; men who are taught that being in touch with their feelings, being creative and seeing women as their peers is unmanly. Do we really need that?