As we experience a shift in social values towards inclusivity, it has become apparent that traditional stereotypes associated with manliness are crumbling and making room for a new standard of masculinity grounded in empowerment and acceptance. The message for this movement encourages men to embrace their authenticity, resulting in others following by example.
Topics of conversation that were previously taboo or only considered woman’s territory are starting to gain new recognition among men. For example, body-image-related issues have primarily been a girls-only dialogue, but men are starting to see that an improper and unattainable representation of the male body is just as mentally and physically harmful to men as it is for women.
In fact, both sexes are beginning to understand that gender norms are mostly societal constructs. According to a poll published by the Pew Research Center, Americans are aware of the difference between the ways men and woman express their emotions. The study found that 87% of survey respondents believe men and women communicate feelings differently, 58% of which attribute this distinction to society rather than biology. In fact, 60% of adults in the US place importance on supporting boys in becoming more open to sharing their feelings.
It appears that this perceived value is impacting the characteristics young men attribute to the ideal man. A study from the University of British Columbia found evidence that males ages 15-29 are ditching long-established masculine attributes for more conventional virtues. Participants indicated that men should be helpful (91%), charitable in their communities (80%) and open-minded (88%). The values of physical strength and independence fell lower on the list with 75% and 78% respectively.
Experts are excited about the positive direction the change in masculine ideals will have on the mental and physical health of both men and woman. This gradual evolution will continue to revise the ways in which we perceive gender and relationships.
Pew Research Center