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Tristan Zapata-Pulido

Professor Granillo

English 101

6 November 2018

Masculinity Stereotypes that Hold Us Back

Some might consider you to be feminine if you even show a small amount of emotion. It

is common for men to not show their emotions, as guys in today’s culture find it as being

feminine or as some would call it “gay”. In many cases men would only show anger for every

situation to avoid showing their true emotions. Therefore, in contrast to those who would find it

to be feminine to show anything other than anger, men are devoid of their emotions that make

them men. In Andrew Reiners “Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest” he discusses the issue

of men thinking it is not manly to show emotion. Although Reiner and others would argue that

men are deemed less emotional; though with a rise in metrosexual and stay at home fathers the

tough guy stereotypes die hard. Men have been seen to be falling behind women in school, along

with having a higher rate in suicide, if they learn to think beyond their own stereotypes they can

see there is nothing wrong with being emotional.

Andrew Reiner is a writing and cultural teacher at Townson University, along with a

course called “Real Men Smile: The Changing Face of Masculinity”. Reiner examines how the

perception of masculinity have and haven’t changed since the eighteenth century. Plenty of his

work has been published in papers from the New York Times, Washington Post Magazine,

Chicago Tribune, etc. His article “Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest” had first appeared

in the New York Times on April 10, 2016. His course is full of research from the places such as

Boston Children’s Hospital, along with other professors. With Reiner teaching a course on the
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changes of the perception of masculinity he was motivated to prove that there the decrease of

men in society; caused by men thinking they shouldn’t be expressive.

While it has come to notice that men have fallen behind in society it was what motivated

him to write his article. It was stated by reiner that “As men continue to fall behind women in

college, while outpacing them four to one in the suicide rate…”. This is where men are starting

to fall behind in society, these negative effects of not showing emotion makes them feel as if

they have no one to go to. Though there are men who are falling behind in society, all these

stereotypes that hold them back are starting to fade away.

While it has come to notice that men have fallen behind in society it was what motivated

him to write his article. It was stated by reiner that “As men continue to fall behind women in

college, while outpacing them four to one in the suicide rate…”. This is where men are starting

to fall behind in society, these negative effects of not showing emotion makes them feel as if

they have no one to go to. Though there are men who are falling behind in society, all these

stereotypes that hold them back are starting to fade away.

Though there are the struggles with the stereotypes of masculine norms; the emergence of

metrosexual men and stay at home dads are making these stereotypes die hard. Metrosexual men

are seen as what this generation would call “homo” but are rather just straight men with a refined

taste in things. It is become a bit more common for men to have these views, along with having a

liking to fashion; this is more in a sense of wanting to look good, it has nothing to do with

sexuality. Stay at home dads are starting to become more accepted by people in society; in

addition to Reiner’s counter, an article by Patrick Tucker who spoke on stay at home dads. To

add to the emergence of fathers who work from home, there are more bonds that come between
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them and the child, this doesn’t show any decrease in masculinity. Though the stereotypes have

been dying there are still those who fall behind in society.

A big area in society that affects men in the long run is in school, where men have fallen

behind women. To account for this decrease, in Reiner’s article he stated, “By the time may

young men get to college, a deep-seated gender stereotype has taken root… about themselves as

learners.”. Men find it that they would rather gain their Man Card, rather than succeed like a girl;

or that extracurricular activities are girly. In contrast to that boys who take part in these activities

have been reporting to have better grades along with higher levels of school engagement. But

these activities are being slandered by young men, resulting in those stereotypes of there being

femininity in education. As these types of stereotypes affect boys in school as they transition to

college it is now harder for them to get in and succeed.

Throughout the whole entire school system from elementary and after, consistently show

that girls have always had higher performance levels. This is why it has come to show that men

have fallen behind in college and the rates aren’t changing. Stated in Reiners article, “In 1994,

according to a Pew Research Center analysis 63% of females and 61% of men enroll in college;

by 2012 …the percentage of men has gone unchanged.” (591). This unchanged number of men

could be a result of men having those stereotypical views of succeeding being girly. With the

enrollment numbers being low the rate of acceptance is another area to dive into.

While the enrollment numbers show the amount of men applying it is important to see

how many are being accepted. In an article pulled from the database by the Women in Academia

Report stated that “…the acceptance rate for all women was 57.4%” along with the “acceptance

rate for all men was 53.9%”. Even though there is such a small dificit between men and woman

there are more than a million fewer applications that are place by men. As a result of the
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decrease in enrollment in colleges, as well as a lower acceptance rate this a reason men could

have a higher suicide rate.

Now while men in society are not just falling behind in school but are outpacing women

in suicide rates four to one. This could come from falling behind in school along with being less

expressive in everyday life. One issue in school that may cause boys and men to turn to taking

their own lives could come from the stress and failure they go through. Outside of school men

could be dealing with hiding who they really are, and not showing their true feelings. Perhaps it

is that some men lead a life where they are insecure and have secret’s they feel will hurt

themselves. Both issues lead to a rise in suicide rates which is why men are falling behind in


In relation to school, it is a factor that not only holds men back academically it could also

be a cause of suicide. In a survey I created on survey monkey I asked some coworkers and

friends in high school; the short survey was based on men showing emotion, but mainly about

school making suicide rates go up. Some questions were what was believed to cause suicide rates

in students ranging from high school to college. What I found was that it was though that to

much work causes stress leading to poor decisions; eventually down the line these decisions can

lead to suicide rates. The reason that kids stress over to much work is that they get overwhelmed

and don’t have the resources.

In a survey I conducted I wanted to cover some areas about suicide rates that are caused

by school. I sent it to a couple of my coworkers along with some friends, all of which were men,

who are in high school currently. The overall research was to find out how students felt in school

and if they would consider themselves as one who stresses over work and finds themselves

wanting to quit.
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Based on my results many students and others, I found that many students agree that too

much work causes a lot of stress; ultimately leading to failure. I find this to be the biggest reason

that kids will find themselves stressed out about school, teachers who will give out too much

work with little time to complete. It has been noted that giving kids more time to work and get a

start on their assignments can result in more effort put into the work. In personal experience

around my senior year my classmate had a petition with the principle that seniors would have a

maximum amount of work given. The end result was that teachers give us moderate amounts but

more time in class to get a head start, and to the principles surprise the class of 2018 had almost a

perfect graduating class. Although it is not just stress alone there are factors that are caused and

made worse due to stress in school.

Some would see that many factors of failing caused by stress are what makes students

give up, having a lack of motivation. I found this in question 3, but along with lack of motivation

were bad choices, suicide, and all of the above. With the real highest choice being all of the

above, many of my peers thought that all three are caused by too much stress. There has been

only one case where a student has taken his life at my school, and I had been related to stress and

falling behind in school. I myself have found each one of these factors to lead to the next, but

there are all things that male peers have said, and I feel as if it has to do with norms of us falling


In relation to the male stereotypes of men being less expressive, which holds them back

in society, including school. Most of those who answered showed that they stress, but in another

question asking if they could go to any staff member for help; many of them said they were able

to see a teacher for assistance. But the it was highly voted that they could go to them sometimes,

and some said never. I wanted to ask this question because I feel this is where the stereotype falls
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deeply; men feel as if they can do the work and don’t need any help because they are “a man”.

But with men falling behind in school, they don not go to anybody because like stated before,

succeeding is girly. It shouldn’t be the thought of being girly that holds us back nor should being


To conclude my survey, I asked two small questions about how men feel about being

emotional. I wanted to know how they felt about what can lead to suicide and if it normal for

men to be expressive. When relating to suicide I asked if men hide how they really feel and have

nobody to talk to can that lead to suicide. It was mainly between people choosing either having

nobody to talk to, or both; I agree that both hiding your true emotions and not having someone to

talk to is a big factor. It makes them feel as if they are alone and the struggles they go through

can not be helped. This is in relation to the ways men fall behind in school and in society, with

lower rates in school and higher suicide rates.

Some might see it as girly or feminine if some emotion is shown

, men are stereotypically seen as strong and call out those who show emotion. It should

not be considered “gay” for a man to show emotion, but these stereotypes are dying; the rise in

metrosexual men and stay at home dads is breaking down these manly stereotypes. Men should

learn that it is not only anger that is “allowed” and be more aware that it is fine for men to show

any other range of emotion. With Andrew Reiners article along with other that speak on the

issues of men falling behind in society, it should be noted that with this decline that men should

look beyond their own stereotypes and not be devoid of the rights and wrongs of the male norms.
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Works Cited Page

Appel, M., & Kronberger, N. (2012). Stereotypes and the achievement gap: Stereotype threat

prior to test taking. Educational Psychology Review, 24(4), 609-635.


DDB worldwide; stay-at-home dads: Uncommon and exceptional - findings from the 2013 DDB

life style study(R). (2013, Jul 05). Health & Medicine Week Retrieved from


Reiner, Andrew. “Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest”, They Say/ I Say, Edited by Gerald

Graff, Kathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 4th Edition, W.W. Norrton, 2018. pp. 589-595

The nationwide gender gap in college acceptance rates. (2016). (). Bartonsville: BruCon

Publishing Company. Retrieved from ProQuest Central Retrieved from