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Gender Differences

It is fair to say that societal expectations have an impact on both men and women, however, the way they impact them differs. As someone growing up in this generation, I have noticed we constantly stalk girls’ Instagrams and Snapchats to judge them off of their looks before looking into their personality. The reasons may vary: one of your friends told you she was really pretty and you wanted to see for yourself, someone you like is talking to them instead of you, or simply because you were in the mood for self-sabotage and desired to stalk someone you deem prettier than yourself. I, for one, am a constant offender for all of the listed reasons above. Men are not innocent of this either. They typically will do some stalking on social media before deciding whether or not to talk to that specific girl, as if looks are the only things that matter. However, the fact that girls allow one another to do this gives the impression that it is socially acceptable for guys to do the same. Nowadays, its look-first-talk-later, which leads to a rise in low self-esteem, eating disorders, and mental health issues such as anxiety. 

Personally, I believe girls are more affected by issues related to body image and beauty than men. When I asked people, “how much time do you spend getting ready before you go out to parties or an important event?” The females that were asked typically answered anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour, meanwhile males said about fifteen minutes. Girls typically cake themselves with makeup and nicer clothes that typically show off their figure, in comparison to guys who can be seen in the same clothes they wore yesterday. When I interviewed girls in my hall they said the reason why they took so long to get ready was “to look my best since every other girl would be equally as dressed up and I don’t want to feel out of place.” Females are expected to look their best at all times and if not they are ridiculed and judged not only by guys, but mostly by other girls. The saying “girl power” no longer exists, in this world it’s every woman for herself and you have to dress the part to win. 

Furthermore, girls are more pressured to have the perfect body type, however the standards for this body image is unrealistic. Society puts a significant emphasis on females having a curvy yet slim body type similar to Kylie Jenner who has undergone many surgeries to appear the way she does. Setting our standards to look the way that female celebrity icons do who received much praise for their body, only sets us up for failure. Realistically speaking, not many people have thousands of dollars to waste away on their image when they could go to the gym every day, but still not be satisfied with their body because plastic surgery trumps working out. Although, male celebrities do receive praise for their six-pack and chiseled body, it is not uncommon for other body types to be represented and praised as well. 

However, men are affected by societal expectations in different aspects. Females are encouraged to speak their minds, express their emotions, and cry when needed. In opposition, if men speak about their feelings they are often teased by their friends and are considered to be “soft.” Even though most girls enjoy a man who can speak his mind, it is something that is ingrained into guy’s heads that they should not be emotional. Today, the obsession with maintaining masculinity does more to hurt than it does to help. Men are less likely to see a therapist due to the negative stigma on mental health issues and therefore less likely to be treated for ongoing mental health problems. The ideology among most young adult men is that if it is not a physical issue, they can handle it by ignoring it. This ideology is neither practical nor intelligent. 

The ideology that showing your emotions is showing weakness that is prevalent among most males is very damaging. Everyone knows that holding in your emotions does not make them go away, rather it builds up and creates a bomb inside that is waiting to burst. Instead of discussing it rationally it can lead to more damaging thoughts, stress, and the constant feeling of being overwhelmed. Moreover, it can lead to emotional abusive relationships: not communicating with your partners about little issues and then exploded on them at once for no reason. Everyone should feel as though they have a right to feel the way they do and not been seen as “soft” for their emotions. 

Societal expectations affect men and women differently.