Dear Society, | Teen Ink

Dear Society,

October 24, 2015
By PhilMoore4-H GOLD, Dover, Delaware
PhilMoore4-H GOLD, Dover, Delaware
13 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be the change you want to see in the world!"

I am writing to you in response to a magazine editorial asking readers to discuss their opinions on the greatest challenges facing their particular gender group. In thinking about this topic, I came up with three problem areas for the male sex. While males face a plethora of issues, we mostly face three major criticisms. Males are criticized for their physical appearance, for their masculinity, and whether or not they choose to keep up with the current fashion trends.

The physical appearance of a man is judged on so many things. Allow me to name just a few of the main aspects of a man’s appearance that are criticized. Our height is a big problem. Society tells guys that if they are not 5’10” or taller that they are short. This leads to people of shorter statures longing to be taller or hoping that their natural physique will be enough to woo the person they are trying to court. The physique, or build, of a male is also under constant scrutiny by the public eye. Males are told nonstop that they should have perfectly toned arms and legs, perfect washboard abs, and should be a copy of Channing Tatum. Guys are also told that their facial features should be chiseled form stone and sharp. According to society, all of these combined can contribute to how masculine of man is.

The masculinity of the male gender is constantly changing in definition. However, the basis can be anything from our physical appearance to how we act. Generally, if a guy is strong he is seen to be more masculine than other men are. The same generalization can be made for men who have full beards and facial hair. However, facial hair has a bit of a catch associated with it making it a complicated matter. If a guy is clean-shaven, but has sharp facial features, he may be seen as professionally masculine. If a man has a neatly trimmed beard and moustache, he may be seen as just regular man as opposed to being seen as more masculine or not. The men that have untrimmed beards that do not appear to be kept are occasionally put down by society and considered dirty. The masculinity of man is also determined by what kind of sports a guy plays. If he is in a dangerous sport, such as American Football or Rugby, he is possible glorified and even more so if he is great performer in the sport. On the contrary, if a male is gay or bisexual he is considered less masculine because he is seen as more feminine. Never mind the guys who have great features and builds, are active in sports, and are gay or bi. Those men are definitely feminine and not masculine at all. They should just be forgotten about, as they are obviously not “male.” However, do you know what is definitely masculine? Current fashion trends.

Yes, we live in a world where weird fashion trends are more masculine than gay varsity cross-country runner who prefers to be clean-shaven. Men’s fashion continues to get weirder and odder as we evolve as a society. Not that long ago gauged earrings made their appearance in the public. What a sight that was, and still is, to see regular people roaming around with giant holes in their ears; some of them being large enough to fit a giant novelty pencil through. As we have grown up and changed, society has decided that men should once again grow their hair out. This led to guys using hair products to get their hair to go up over the top of the heads to the back. This, in turn, led to guys figuring out how to tie their hair up with elastic bands if it was long enough to do so. The entire process of males growing out their hair looks ridiculous on them. When guys put up their hair, their heads become deserted islands with only a little deformed palm tree on the whole island. Their hair becomes more of something to make fun of than something is considered fashionable. What makes it worse is when guys try to mimic lumberjacks while working on their long hair. Flannel is not for everyone and not every guy can pull it or long hair off. Men say no to such fashion, but society says, “Do it.” To top it off, society has created a new trend for men over 28. This new trend is known as the “Dad bod.” Society is drifting from wanting guys to be hunky to telling them that they can be fat. However, to fit into the craze you just cannot be fat. This too also has rules. Society is looking for a fit kind of fat that shows some muscle tone but not the usual six-pack abs. All of the current fashion trends can be challenging for men. Not every guy has ear that can fit gauges. Not every guy likes to wear long hair and “man buns.” Flannel only looks good on a few guys and not the general populous. The greatest challenge is deciding whether you want to be healthy and fit, but not in style, or risk health issues by going for the “dad bod.”

So, what are the challenges of being a guy, you ask? The simple answer: Everything. The long answer: Everything. It is not easy to keep up with what society says is ideal for a man. The moment you finish working for that great appearance and build yourself up, society comes along and changes what is ideal. Guys can work for the symbols of masculinity all they want too. Nevertheless, as soon as they reach the goal society no longer likes them. Current fashion is always a struggle for men. You may be perfectly in style one day, or maybe ahead of the curve if you are lucky, but the next day you could be so last season. All of the men growing out their hair and keeping up with that trend will soon realize that it is all in vain when society comes up with the next craze. The challenges against males are simply hard and hardly simple. As males, we are never right. There is always something about us that needs to be fixed. However, the moment that we fix it, it is wrong again. Overall, the greatest difficulty in being male is the world we live in and life in general. Though society’s ways may be wrong, they may even be perverted. We will hear them out but some will not easily be converted to their way of thinking. In fact, some will often disagree. Nevertheless, at the end of it all, we are “beautiful in our way because God makes no mistakes.” 1.) 2.)



1. Credit to Depeche Mode for "Somebody" lyrics in last paragraph. Full list: "the world we live in and life in general," "ways may be wrong, they may even be perverted," "hear them out...won't easily be convert to their way of thinking," "some will often disagree," and "at the end of it all." 

2. Credit to Lady Gaga for "Born This Way" lyrics.

The author's comments:

This is an opinionated piece I wrote in response to a college writing prompt. This particular prompt lends itself to being taken and ran with by whoever is answering it. What is said is purely from my own mind and contains many generalizations. 

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