Navigating Masculinity: 10 Major Disadvantages Faced by Men

By Krystal Brown

We look at 10 significant hurdles that men often come across, shining a light on the not-so-well-known issues they face in today’s society.

Pressure to Be Strong and Tough

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Men are often taught from a young age that they have to be strong, tough, and stoic. They are discouraged from showing emotions, asking for help, or admitting weakness. This can lead to a lot of stress, isolation, and mental health issues for men who feel like they have to hide their true feelings and needs.

Higher Risk of Violence and Injury

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Men are more likely to be involved in violent situations, such as fights, wars, or crimes. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving fast, drinking alcohol, or smoking. These factors increase the chances of men getting injured or killed, either by others or by themselves.

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, men tend to be more likely to be risk-takers than women. This difference may be influenced by hormones, particularly testosterone, that are linked to risk-taking behavior. Additionally, social factors like the pressure to conform to gender norms can also play a role. Some possible reasons why men take more risks include Young Male Syndrome, environmental influences, possible neural differences, and variations in coping styles.

It is also important to note that men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors because of their upbringing and socialization. Men are often taught to be tough and aggressive from a young age. This can lead them to engage in risky behaviors as a way of proving their masculinity or toughness. 

Lack of Support and Resources

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Men are less likely to seek or receive support and resources when they face problems or challenges. This is partly because of the stigma and shame that men may feel for needing help and partly because of the lack of availability and accessibility of services that cater to men’s needs. For example, there are fewer shelters, hotlines, or counseling centers for men who experience domestic violence, sexual abuse, or mental health issues.

Difficulty in Expressing Intimacy and Affection

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Men are often expected to be dominant, assertive, and sexual in their relationships. They may face criticism or ridicule if they show vulnerability, tenderness, or affection to their partners or friends. This can make it hard for men to express their true feelings and desires and to form meaningful and lasting connections with others.

Pressure to Perform and Provide

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Men are often judged by their achievements and accomplishments, such as their education, career, income, or status. They are expected to be successful, ambitious, and competitive in their fields, and to provide for their families and loved ones. This can create a lot of pressure and anxiety for men who feel like they have to live up to these standards, or who struggle to balance their work and personal lives.

Limited Choices and Options

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Men are often constrained by the norms and expectations of masculinity that dictate how they should look, act, dress, talk, or think. There are certain jobs that are considered to be  feminine. In fact, there are certain career paths where women are seen to be more credible than men. For example, event planning, catering, and so on. All of these just tend to limit the career options a man can have.

Higher Rates of Suicide and Substance Abuse

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Men are more likely to die by suicide than women, especially in certain age groups and regions. They are also more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with stress, depression, or trauma. These issues are often linked to the factors mentioned above, such as lack of support, pressure to perform, difficulty in expressing emotions, etc.

Lack of Recognition and Appreciation

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Men are often taken for granted or overlooked for the contributions they make to society, family, or community. They may not receive enough praise, gratitude, or recognition for the work they do, the sacrifices they make, or the challenges they overcome. They may also face stereotypes or prejudices that portray them as violent, aggressive, selfish, or insensitive.

Difficulty in Accessing Healthcare

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Men are less likely to visit a doctor or seek medical attention when they have health problems or concerns. This is partly because of the fear of being seen as weak or dependent, and partly because of the lack of awareness and education about men’s health issues. Men may also face barriers such as cost, availability, or quality of healthcare services that cater to their specific needs.

Military Draft

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In countries with mandatory military service, men may face the disadvantage of being legally required to serve, while women are exempt. 

One of the main concerns regarding the military draft is the potential infringement on individual autonomy. Men may find their life plans and personal goals disrupted by mandatory military service, as they are compelled to put their civilian lives on hold and dedicate a significant portion of their time to military duty. This can impact their educational pursuits, career opportunities, and overall life trajectory.

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