The Mask of Masculinity: How Tough are We on the Inside?


Being a man in the modern world is a different experience in comparison to our predecessors, meaning that the traditional stereotypical view of masculinity is often at odds with the relationship role that many men now adopt.

A modern man is far more likely to use organic products like shilajit, share household chores and display nurturing tendencies, which is absolutely fine of course. However, there’s still a core number of males who may feel that they have to maintain their mask of masculinity, despite struggling with emotional turmoil on the inside.

It could be argued that the traditional view of men is likely to be at odds with how many modern men actually feel. Being tough on the outside but suffering on the inside is likely to trigger some problems at some point and could even lead to a bout of depression.

Pressures and expectations

There are indications that some men are struggling to find a way of coping with the pressures and levels of expectation put upon them, in both their professional and personal lives.

The mental health charity, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), has highlighted what they describe as a crisis of masculinity, pointing to a worryingly high suicide rate amongst young males.

There are numerous and many complicated reasons why someone may be driven to feel that they can’t go on with their life anymore. Their observation is that a number of men are simply failing to cope with the role that they consider they should adopt, and it is also a definite issue that far too many males are still keeping their problems hidden from others rather than discussing them or seeking some sort of help.

The CALM report highlights the different way men and women approach serious problems such as depression. It is estimated that over 70% of women who suffered depression had spoken to someone else about it, whereas only just over 50% of men are likely to take the same course of action.

Work, relationships and more

Many men still feel a pressure and an obligation to be the main breadwinner in the family, despite the changing dynamics of a typical modern family.

Losing your job is never going to be a good scenario, but it seems that men experience this more often than women, so that will certainly create a pressure point when that happens. Unfortunately, the survey carried out by the mental health charity discovered that almost 30% of men asked about this said that they believed their partner would think they were “less of a man” if they found themselves out of work.

A similar percentage of men felt they were lacking the necessary attractive qualities that they thought a woman would look for when searching out a sexual or romantic partner.

There is a fairly long list of perceived inadequacies that still persist among some modern men which, despite being outdated and misplaced, still seem to cause a number to suffer an inner turmoil that could reach a crisis level at some point.

It starts in childhood

Many of the issues that men are trying to contend with are often imprinted on their psyche during childhood. Some boys are seemingly predisposed to subscribe to what can be classed as a particularly narrow definition of masculinity, meaning that they are likely to display what they consider to be the qualities required of them, such as toughness and maybe even physical and sexual prowess, and do their best to hide the more tender aspects of their personality.

There are many boys who routinely hide their feelings and seem to take the view that while it is acceptable for a girl to get upset, this would be a sign of weakness if they displayed the same range of emotions. It is also the case that some boys might even hide their intelligence, bizarrely, making the choice to underperform at school because they correlate doing well at school as being incompatible with masculinity.

Displays of compassion are also a problem for some boys, which then sets a trend that continues into their adult life. There are a number of boys who are seemingly fearful of being identified as soft, self-correcting their attitude to dispel this potential theory.

Modern man is a very different beast to previous versions and is often asked to perform roles that would not have been in the job description previously. It might therefore be time to finally stop hiding behind that mask of masculinity, especially if you feel the need to talk to someone about how you are feeling.

Katherine Fitzgerald works as a psychologist and often uses her line of work to come up with interesting articles relating to how we live today. Her articles appear on a wide variety of websites, from men’s and women’s lifestyle blogs to dating sites and beyond.


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