College males need support too

State Hornet Staff

To get straight to the point, male empowerment is an absolute necessity that does not receive the right attention.

When engaging in conversation with female colleagues on the topic of male empowerment, I tend to elicit the same reaction: a eyebrow cocked with a chuckle and the question “do you really need male empowerment?”.

Now to be fair, I am well aware that women have had it worse for centuries and still face underrepresentation in the workplace and a lack of equal pay. But to every coin, there are two sides, men’s struggles being the smudgier, harder-to-read side.

Again, as a disclaimer, know that I am all for equality and hope to one day live in a world where sex, age, race, orientation and preference no longer matter.

I did not even know what male empowerment was until recently. For the longest time, I believed there was a hidden stigma for males to follow certain standards under the consequence of being seen as less of a man if you fail to meet that standard. After a recent male empowerment seminar at Sac State Monday, I learned that I am not the only one who believes men are in need of assistance, too.

If you are not strong and athletic, you are a wimp. If you do not get women with ease, you are at risk of being called a homosexual. If you do not put yourself out there as a boisterous show off with a disregard for everything but looking manly, then you will be overshadowed by others who do.

There is a lot of pressure for males to adhere to the definition of a man that years of overt masculinity has pushed for. Being the guy that respects women, does well in school and abides to the rules is simply not a norm, and not by choice. That cannot be stressed enough.

I have bumped into former classmates from middle school and even high school who were either timid or well-mannered that flipped the switch after high school. They were either involved in dealing drugs or talking about how they have fulfilling jobs to look forward to as a truck driver or factory worker because the hours or pay rate was “really good.”

The Pew Research Center in an article in May revealed trends of male high school graduates entering college falling behind female graduates from 1994 to 2012. It can go without saying that despite progressive movements of women’s rights and LGBTQ acceptance, the pressure to be the steak-eating, football-frantic, beer-crazy manly man society expects men to be has not faltered.

Men have it easier than women; that is a given. But no one ever specified if it was all men. Women are encouraged to go for independence and strive for the very best they can be while men are still forced into either/or situations on what makes a “real man.”

I’m not saying men have it worse, but I refute the notion that life is a breeze for us. What I will admit to is that there is a very real battle for conformity that leads a considerable amount of men to become people they are not, which leads me to argue in favor of male empowerment seminars intended to break the norm and condone school and leadership instead of sexism.