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The pathetic, substandard life of the average modern man

Modern man faces significant challenges on a daily basis as a consequence of today’s societal undercurrents. We do not mean to diminish the difficulties faced by other genders, but I believe we can all agree that the average honest and modern man must live in fear and bear a heavy burden. They begin and end each day facing challenges that are not only distinct from others but also significantly more uncertain and challenging.

As a brand that believes in men’s empowerment, we want you to see what the average modern man has to face and accept while going about his daily life. This is not intended to depict the modern man as the sole victim of society, nor is it propaganda.

Modern man in Culture and Media are portrayed in unrealistic and stereotypical ways.

Tired of seeing illiterate and absentee fathers? Tired of every man on TV being a sexy womanizer? Men are as well. Men are frequently portrayed as inept, misogynistic, brutish slobs who only think about sex, beer, and sports and have few redeeming qualities. The superhero, on the other hand, is the gold standard and an almost impossible ideal—the man who is financially successful, in perfect shape, rich, handsome, brilliant, and athletic.

Society constantly asks men to choose between being sensitive ninnies or hyper-aggressive bullies, financial providers for their families or absent fathers, “men of the house” or “abandoners.” And so the “man-box” begins—our culture’s acceptance of “being a man” is narrow and limiting.

Where are the depictions of men who are complex, kind, communicative, and nurturing? The modern man who can be both warrior and poet as needed, who can love deeply and long-term, and who has multidimensional abilities in a variety of areas?

Combating Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and Man-Boxing

All of these seemingly disparate social issues are rooted in society’s perceptions of masculinity. Men are taught that their role is to “provide and protect,” which leads to racism. The majority of systemic racism stems from white supremacists seeking economic advantage. A man isn’t a man unless he’s financially successful (so the old stereotype goes). And for a long time, racism has been used to leverage financial success for a small group of people at the top. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about men who were dumped by their lovers or wives in favor of someone who is financially more stable or secure. They are also not to blame; it is the patriarchal structure that causes men and women to behave unconsciously.

Sexism and patriarchy stem from the belief that women are “less than” men. It’s part economics, part control, and part sex access. Homophobia is a way for men to isolate themselves from other men, as well as from platonic touch (“No homo”) and emotional intelligence. All of this contributes to the “Man-Box” — the notion that there is only one “right” way to be a man while marginalizing those who differ from that idealized man. Oppressed groups are oppressed for a reason.

We’re fighting it all!

Every Kind of Relationship of the Modern Man

The first thing that comes to mind when people think of men and relationships is sexual relationships. However, men are equally interested in and committed to a variety of other types of relationships. Fathers and their sons and daughters, sons and their fathers and mothers. All types of familial relationships. Long-term committed relationships between two people who love each other. Platonic relationships. Workplace relationships. Relationships are formed online. Getting to know new people. Friendships that transcend stereotypes between gay and straight men. The modern man loves his children with all of his heart and soul, and they make deliberate choices to love differently than their own parents. ALL of those relationships are part of today’s man’s psyche, and they should all be celebrated by our society and culture. After all, having a loving relationship with another person is a sign of strength.

The easy disposal of men and boys

Historically, men have been the first to go to war, the first to enter a burning building, and the last to leave a sinking ship. Men are viewed as the champions of economic progress, putting in place the infrastructure that powers our transportation and communication systems. However, there are hidden costs: thousands of men die each year in coal mines, railroads, sewers, satellite towers, and other dangerous workplaces that are all too often taken for granted. There is something in our collective consciousness that treats men and boys as disposable, from the invisibility of boys who are sex trafficked to men who are exploited as cheap manual labor. This is true even in the worlds of sports and entertainment. Showcase someone as a hero, but when they are severely injured, there is always someone else in line.

What we consider “progress” often comes at a high cost for men and boys. This is most commonly seen in places of shipbreaking.

Shipbreaking occurs when cruise ships, ocean liners, and freighters are towed onto a beach and broken down with mallets and bats by the most impoverished men and boys in the surrounding community. This is where ships go to die, as well as men and boys.

Rape and sexual assault also affect men and boys in an unnoticed way. There is no clear language, few outlets for them to discuss it, and a societal reluctance to come forward.

Paternity Leave, Stay-at-Home Dads, and Parenting

While times and stereotypes change, there are still many places where mothers are seen as the default parent, the one who is more “natural” at parenting and caring for children. Dads are clearly present in their children’s lives, but Stay-at-Home Dads Dads are (still) frequently stereotyped as slackers or losers, despite the fact that nothing could be further from the truth. They are present for their children because they want to be involved in their lives. Nonetheless, men are not supported in learning about their roles as fathers in the same way that women are taught about their roles as mothers. This begins at a young age—boys do not play with dolls. And it continues all the way to the workplace, where men—even men with money, status, and privilege—often find it difficult to take paternity leave without being questioned. Men face significant challenges when it comes to divorce and custody. The judicial system favors mothers over fathers in terms of child custody. Fathers who are active and involved in their children’s lives should be admired. That will not happen if men are only viewed as financial providers incapable of nurturing.

The LGBT Movement and Gender and Sexuality Expansion

Despite the advances made by the LGBT movement, it is still difficult to be a man who deviates from gender and sexual norms. Homophobia, transphobia, and gay-bashing are still prevalent. Why? What is it about the perception of a “real” man that allows these things to happen? Men of all genders, on the other hand, are becoming more vocal and supportive of the entire gender spectrum. How long will it take for all genders and sexual orientations to be accepted as “normal?” Should we even categorize people as male and female, or should we simply strive for an all-gender world? We are now seeing many stories of same-sex families with grown children who appear to be doing well, thank you! We are encouraged by the rapid progress made in LGBT rights, but the work is far from done.

Men, Money, and the Pressure to Be Successful Financially

Of course, having enough money to pay your bills and live within your means is a good thing. And it has long been assumed that men would be the ones to provide for their families in a family unit. Even if there is a husband and wife and the wife works, it is assumed that the husband will be *responsible* for making sure the family is financially secure.

Some men abuse the system in order to achieve financial success. Others feel like failures because they are unable to live up to society’s expectations of them. All of this is complicated by a world that is changing faster than most of us can keep up with. There are fewer career jobs that come with built-in security and allow you to retire with a pension. Because of robots, technology, and automation, there are fewer jobs available. A $1,000 unexpected expense would be disastrous for a large percentage of families.

It is up to us to co-create a future in which everyone has access to financial security and it is not so inextricably linked to being a man.

Sports as a Lens of Culture and Masculinity

Sports have traditionally been the domain of men—not to say that women aren’t wonderful athletes and fierce competitors, but it’s undeniable that men have been faster, stronger, and more powerful on average. Sports emphasize so many positive aspects of traditional masculinity—after all, strength and power are wonderful qualities when used for good. Historically, sports icons have been our heroes; they are beautiful, golden boys who are idolized. Bullying, power struggles, homophobia, and sexual abuse are all manifestations of masculinity in sports. The challenges of parenting (or taking paternity leave) when you have a high-profile, high-paying job and people rely on you to help their country win. Concussions are common in sports, prompting discussions about mental health. Covering up sexual abuse so that sports heroes can continue to play has an impact on all men on a micro level. What about men who have no interest in sports, especially competitive sports? Why should they feel isolated? Shouldn’t sports be an option, not a requirement, for a fully realized life? The discussion about men and sports becomes a discussion about the best and worst of men and masculinity.

The Young and the Elderly, the Fit and the Weak

Older men are seen as weak and feeble, whereas younger men are not yet financially successful.

But, aside from age, there are other types of societally defined weaknesses that keep men from fitting into the traditional man box. If you are not able-bodied—i.e. if you are disabled in some way, weakened by injury or disease, or suffering from mental illness—you are told to “man up” and “take it like a man.” Worse, you are publicly marginalized, shamed, bullied, rendered invisible, and otherwise excluded from the boys club. It could be the reason why body-image issues are becoming more prevalent in the masculine realm. A quest for physical perfection is a way to demonstrate strength and manhood. But is that really the path we want to take?

Granting men permission to be whatever they are—young, old, weak, strong, able, physically challenged, happy, depressed—is not just a part of manhood. It’s a fact of life in the twenty-first century.

The Prison Industrial Complex and the Climate Emergency

Climate change not only has the potential to destroy life as we know it, but it is already doing so. And when people are literally fighting for resources, waging all-out wars, men will be on the front lines. Shouldn’t we figure it out first?

Meanwhile, the prison system disproportionately affects men, and we don’t talk about it nearly enough. There is no shortage of inquiries. Is the prison system effective in making people better people than they were before they went in? How does a man transform on the inside? Are men and women sentenced equally for the same crimes? What role does mental illness play in criminals who are imprisoned? What about ethnicity? What is it like for children who have a parent in prison, particularly a man? How difficult is it for men attempting to parent their children while incarcerated? What effect does the school-to-prison pipeline have on our country’s boys? And how do we work toward a better understanding of how violence and aggression lead to the most heinous crimes so that we can prevent them from happening in the first place? The answers to these questions will bring about change, and change is required to address the societal impact of crime and punishment in the twenty-first century, as well as its effect on men.

Raising boys today to become the modern man

Boys face distinct challenges. Traditionally, there were two approaches to raising boys: dismissing bad behavior with “boys will be boys” or admonishing boys for showing signs of weakness, particularly emotional weakness, with the phrase “be a man.” Where is the acknowledgment that boys are complex beings with a variety of needs, and that maturing into a man is not a one-size-fits-all proposition?

There are few resources and agreed-upon methods for raising boys as a parent, educator, or role model—or simply caring about boys today. How can we teach boys to respect women, other boys, and themselves? How can we assist boys who have been impacted by racism? How do you approach boys about #MeToo and sexual consent? And how do we have conversations with boys about how they can be victims of sexual assaults, a rarely discussed topic? What about boys who are growing up on the opposite end of the gender spectrum? What about transgender children? LGBTQ? What should parents do when their sons fall behind in school? Is ADHD being overdiagnosed in boys? How do we deal with aggression and violence—how do we prevent things like bullying and school shootings? Do boys raised by single mothers or two gay fathers require more support than boys raised in traditional households? If so, how does that look?

Aside from mental issues, most boys are unfamiliar with their own bodies. When are men going to learn about their bodies? How about sexual education? Do boys know anything about prostate cancer or the problems that may arise in their penis? Girls have problems as well, but they should never cast a shadow over the problems that men face, as this may have long-term consequences for their lives.

Can gender equality be attained without the Modern man?

These are just a few of the issues and questions that modern man has to deal with on a daily basis. From being afraid of being labeled a stalker simply for asking a random woman on the street for assistance, to being told and accepted that men do not know how to love and will never understand how to care for someone. The stereotype that “men are born brutish and stay brutish” must be abandoned. In a generation where different genders are given the opportunity to fight for their rights, why shouldn’t we give modern man the same opportunity to speak out for their rights?

Best for Him is doing just that by providing a platform for the modern man to come forward and express their opinions and problems that no one else is listening to. If we do not fight for each and every gender, the fight for gender equality will be futile and a never-ending problem for future generations. The modern man needs to be taught how to be human, from health and sexual issues to relationship and behavioral challenges, because all men were once scared little children who just wanted someone to reach out to them and guide them towards becoming a better humans.

What is “The Modern Gentleman”
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