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Being "manly"

The stereotypes associated with being a man today are often suffocating and limit an individual's potential for growth and development and can even adversely affect their perception of themselves and what it means to be a man. When we transition into being a teenager we try to define ourselves and who will be as adults and this process, while already a difficult one, is made even harder by the expectations society has of men. The pressure to behave in a certain, manly fashion is placed upon nearly every boy at this point in his life and this can clash with what he wants to be or do. Boys are expected to enjoy certain activities over the other, such as playing sports rather than wanting to dance. So rather than enjoying his hobby a boy is made to adhere to these norms that are severely outdated and serve no purpose in our modern society which is an injustice to those who do not necessarily want to conform to this idea. Another thing that is frowned upon is a boy showing his emotions, how often have we heard phrases that convey sentiments that crying is for the weak and that showing your sadness makes you less of a man? To cry and express yourself is human and no one can be expected to be perfect. Often boys don't even know they're treated like this and this leads to them being unable to express what they feel as adults because they don't think it's the manly thing to do. The confusion a boy can face in his teenage years is similar to those of so many others, he wants to try and grow as a human being but the clash between what the world expects of him and what he may want for himself is often difficult for him to resolve on his own. The expectations are high and not enough of us are told that it's okay not to meet them. The idea of being a man is so difficult to define, we put it into simple words and have everyone agree to it, each individual is different and unique in how they approach the world as we know it. Similarly we can't define how a boy is supposed to behave and how is destined to grow into a man and such stereotypes only hold us back collectively by operating on the assumption that people all behave the same way and individually by not giving a young, impressionable person the chance to grow into his own version of himself, not the version the world expects him to be.

-Adit Deepak

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