Masculinity in Today’s Society

Masculinity, as defined today by pop culture and general society, is something that continually shapes the lives of men from the day they are born until the day that they die. In doing so, women’s lives are also tremendously affected, as the male culture perpetuates male dominance and privilege, thus systematically oppressing women. From day one, we are taught to “be a man”, meaning that being a man is just that – an act, not something that is inherent in our nature. In a popular blog by Harris O’Malley (also known as Dr. Nerdlove) that can be found here (, it is cited that the definition of manhood is defined by “violence, social dominance, anti-intellectualism and aggressive, even uncontrollable, sexuality.”

While I may be generalizing a bit here, most men are taught by mainstream society to solve their problems through fighting or violence instead of talking things out, for example. Men are taught to be dominating over women, and that women are to be seen as objects for sexual conquest, but not necessarily love. The more women a man can sleep with, the more credibility he gets in the figurative “Guyland”. Men are expected to be the masters of all sports, and if one is not athletic, he is immediately cast aside. A good example of this (and one I can relate to) is when men choose to do band or theater in grade school instead of athletics. Words get thrown around for men like these, including “band nerd”, “faggot”, “queer”, “gay”, etc. These words can be very detrimental to men at a young age, because, as popular consensus holds, being called anything that is in the “homosexual” realm, is, in a sense, taking away the manhood or “man card” of that man. It is not necessarily claiming that the man is literally homosexual when these words are thrown around. Instead, it is emasculating them and labeling them as “feminine” – the last thing you want to be labeled as a man in Guyland. 

Living in Guyland is cut throat. You are expected to appease and please your male peers at all times, for fear of ridicule and mockery. You are expected to dress manly (basically anything that is not feminine) and treat girls with respect yet use them as objects for sexual conquest at the same time. Anything that goes against this culture is subject to the rejection of your “man card” by your peers. Because of this, a culture is created where men cannot really trust each other, even their closest friends. They know that one little slip can lead to the dismissal of their masculinity. Emotions are never to be expressed – this is a sign of weakness. Weakness = femininity in guy culture. Instead, everything must be bottled up and suppressed. We are just supposed to “man up” and “deal with it”.

For an idea of what it is like to live in Guyland, I encourage you to watch this trailer for “The Mask You Live In” ( What is described in this video describes atypical Guyland to a “T”. While I acknowledge that not every male experiences all of this growing up, I know that it is very accurate of the masculine culture I grew up in. These are the expectations that are generally held of all males despite their sexual identity. Again, these are the expectations that society tends to hold, and not every male may experience these things, nor may they be met with all these expectations. I am just trying to describe it the best way I know how – through Guyland as I experienced it.



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