The Secret Behind Tough Guys

Ever wonder why guys don’t like talking about their feelings? Unfortunately I can’t give you one exact answer because its different for every person. Some boys are more inclined to share their thoughts and feeling than others who don’t want to seem weak in doing so.

Nioba Way a professor of psychology at New York University determined after 20 years of research that boys aren’t as hard as they like to appear. She reveals that “boys are not only more invested in ongoing romantic relationships but also have less confidence navigating them than do girls” (593). This shows us that boys do have feelings and do care about many things but just aren’t sure how to express them in a way expectable to themselves and others because of how they would be viewed. This becomes an issue because “romantic partners are their [boys] primary source of intimacy” (593). While girls are more comfortable in confiding in close friends and family members, boys don’t see that as an option. This begs the question, what needs to be done in order to change this in todays generation of boys?

Man Up

It is often viewed that boys don’t express their emotions because they see it as a sign of weakness by their friends and peers. Studies have shown that “from infancy through age 4 or 5, boys are more emotive than girls.” This begs the question, where did these emotions go from the time they were young to when they became teenagers? The answer is – nowhere. When giving an example of a student he encountered at a lecture, Andrew Reiner said “many young men, just like this student, compose artful, convincing masks, but deep down they aren’t who they pretend to be.” In other words, the boys who never seem to show their deep emotions are just hiding it with a mask because they are afraid of what would happen if they did let it all out. This leads back to what society defines as “manly” in todays world.

Is it okay to be a “Try Hard”?

School is hard enough with all the work that students have to do along with balancing their social lives and extracurricular activities. So why is that the majority of boys decide to not “try” in school? This is due to the society around us. Boys tend to fall into societal stereotypes that say that if a guy keeps up with his school work he is considered a “try hard.” This is a major reason why boys are falling behind girls in school, and more importantly life. Andrew Reiner makes a good point in saying “some colleges are waking up to the fact that men may need to be taught to think beyond their own stereotypes.” Men need to wake up to the fact that what society says isn’t fact but instead just a misguided opinion.

Paternity Leave

In her commencement speech for Harvard Business School in 2012, Sheryl Sandberg brought up an important topic which is “men need to do more to support women in the workplace.” One of the ways mentioned was paternity leave after having a child. Women naturally viewed as the parent to stay at home and take care of the newborn baby but in todays evolving world it is just as important for men to take advantage of paternity leave.

In California where it became the first state to provide up to six weeks of paid leave for moms and dads, only 29 percent of the people who took it were men. Men should be taking full advantage of this opportunity to stay at home with their families. Once again I think this plays into how society views things like paternity leave which causes men to conform to other peoples views and stereotypes. In having men break this barrier it would help not only themselves but their families as well and create overall stability in the home.

Mom vs. Dad: The Workload

Who do you think puts more work in a dual-income home, the mother or the father?

Looking at the facts men put in nearly the same amount of work hours in a week as women do (58 for men vs. 59 for women). The distinct difference that gives the impression of who works more is the type of work that is being done, instead of how much work is being done. Women spend seven more hours a week doing housework than men do (16 to 9). This is what typically gives the appearance that men don’t do as much work as women. Men on the other hand work 11 more hours outside the house than women do (41 to 31). This shows us that just because men aren’t home doesn’t mean they aren’t doing work in a different capacity. In todays world both parents almost have to put in an equal amount of work to sustain a family.