The pressures on Modern Man.

There is a constant pressure to be the ‘alpha male’, always joking, up for a laugh, successful, rugged, attractive to every woman and respected by every man.  It’s exhausting.

It’s easy to suggest that you just don’t, that you just turn away from the constant demands to be just so, that you switch off the phone, television and radio, that you become pious and self-righteous by ignoring temptation and sacrificing everything.  But that in’t modern life, not is it particularly inspiring, or even good for you.  

We are surrounded by people and things that are constantly suggesting that life would be so much better if we conform. These are a few examples of those pressures: some link to blogs that go into more detail about the particular pressure, and give some ideas on how you might overcome them or turn them down, if they are a major impact on your life.  

The World Wide Web

The Internet is arguably one of the greatest achievements of the modern world, virtually everything you had to once do in-person or on the telephone can now be down via smart-phone.  It has allowed academics and activists around he world to communicate and collaborate outside of political constraints.

The challenge to the common man is that it encourages him to consume, provides information that is mostly not validated or impartial, and bombards him with advice and guidance on how he is supposed to be.

Social Media

Social Media has done so much to bring distant family and friends together and allow communities to keep in touch, share ideas and change the world.  But it’s dark side impacts on lives on a daily basis.  From cyber-bullying to trolling, it allows nameless and faceless people to comment on and negatively affect their pinions of themselves.  For the Common Man who experiences non elf these effects, there is still the constant pressure to be seen to be the perfect man, with the perfect family, friends and lifestyle.

Newspapers

There is no doubt that newspapers provide information and insight to the Modern Man, but concerns about honesty and bias have always been in question, at least for the national papers.  As Mark Twain was reputed to say: “If you don’t read the newspaper then you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper, then you are mis-informed”.  Many of the tabloid newspapers strive to maintain outmoded gender and cultural stereotypes, and drive the political agenda in the interests of their owners.

Mis-information

It is good to be informed, and good to know your subject, in order to guide and inform others.  But for the Modern Man, there is now so much information available than ever before, and no checks on it’s validity.  that’s not to say that the authors of such information are going out of their way to lie – though many do for their own financial gain – they may genuinely believe such information.  The challenge for the Modern Man is in passing this information on – as verbatim fact – and thereby spreading misinformation.

Career

There are very few men that don’t have to work to pay the bills, and a good work ethic should be core to the Everyman’s way of life.  But society drives Everyman to strive for promotion, resulting in longer hours, more responsibility.  Men boast about their earnings, their seniority and the number of staff as if these are attributes of a good life.  As the Dali Lama is quoted: “…he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present…”

Men's Magazines

Men’s magazines have changed a lot over the last ten years, moving from titles like Esquire and Playboy, to modern titles which seem to celebrate the worst of ‘laddish’ behaviour.  Men’s health magazines spend many of their pages advertising products that will shape you into the ‘man you want to be’ and are littered with articles about achieving the perfect body in only six weeks.  Impossible claims that leave the average man feeling disillusioned and unworthy.  Most of the models that are held up as exemplars of the fit man can afford either the time or extensive cost to have a personal trainer with them on a daily basis, or are athletes as their profession, hardly something that Everyman can aspire to.

The Environment

There are few people that can really deny that our environment is in a mess, in the last 5 years alone average temperatures have skyrocketed to levels which are likely to cause long-term problems.

The media is full of stories about the scientists getting it wrong, or that its everyone else problem or that there’s nothing you can do.  So Everyman does nothing, turns his back assuming that the next generation will pick up the problem, or a benevolent government will move us to a new planet

Consuming

Not many years ago, it was standard practice for Everyman to have a toolkit and a rudimentary understanding of mechanics.  He would readily take out a spanner and fix – or attempt to – whatever household item had failed.  If he couldn’t then a call to the local trades would have the problem sorted.  Nowadays with our modern manufacturing techniques and ‘built in obsolescence’ Everyman has virtually no chance to repair and instead has to replace everything.  its got to the point where many of the trades have gone out of business as they cant repair these devices.  This disposable aspect to society, and the constant advertising of products that make you and your life better, simply serve to reduce Everyman to an androgynous consumer of ‘stuff’, as yet another of the key skills of the true masculine has been removed from his repertoire.

Celebrity

There have always been celebrities and celebrity culture.  Musicians, Actors and even Scientists like Albert Einstein were held in high regard as the best in their profession, entertaining and educating the world.  Nowadays the ‘cult of celebrity’ has allowed everyone to become a celebrity, regardless of their abilities.  The media pushes aside about suffering and injustice for more palatable ‘news’, and Everyman encourages and nurtures this by downloading their videos, liking their posts and generally consuming their banality.

Family

The role of the Modern Man in the modern home has changed over the last generation.  Gone are the days of coming home after a hard day’s work, to help with homework, fix the car and talk with his family.  Nowadays, he has nothing to fix, as it’s irreparable or easier to buy a replacement on-line.  Understanding how things work is irrelevant as he can never compete with Wikipedia or YouTube.  He is constantly compared and contrasted in the survey results of Women’s magazines, and compared with ‘Ideal Man’ in the bedroom and the boardroom.  He is expected to compete with his peers on the curricular achievements of his children,  proximity to the best scools, holiday’s abroad, the car he provides his wife and the stuff he buys for his kids.  Life for the family man is one of consumption and competition without purpose.  

Pornography

Pornography has long been a controversial topic, from the objectification of women and their potential abuse at the hands of their agents, through to the male need for diversity and pornography being a lesser evil to having an affair.  The porn industry has moved from a relatively well regulated industry that published ‘top shelf’ magazines to today’s freely available, anything-goes content, with different producers going to ever greater extremes to attract viewers and subscriptions to their sites.  the concept of ‘soft porn’ no longer exists, with the standard fair being abusive and degenerating content which ruins the lives of the men that view it as well as the stresses that film it.

The 'Alpha Male'

A Man’s Man used to be someone who was friendly, articulate, educated and generous to a fault.  Someone who was a positive role model to other Men, acting in their true masculinity.  He could change a car tyre, play the piano, charm the ladies and was always the Man to turn to in a crisis.  Today’s Man’s Man is more about ego and conquest, success and ownership.  Yesterday’s Man’s Man would step in to protect the smaller boy from the school bully, today’s Man’s Man was the school bully.