Fear is a universal condition of the human experience. But what are fears that are unique just to men?
A few that come to mind:
The fear of not being able to perform sexually.
The fear of not being able to provide for their family.
The fear of being called a "sissy."
The fear of being rejected by women.
Again, I just came up with those off the top of my head. I'd love to see what others you all can come up with.
What I'm more interested in is how you all think these fears get in the way of a man's emotional/spiritual/intellectual progress. Taking it a step further, how can we conquer these unique fears and move on in our progress as men?
I think many fears inherent to men stem from one basic fear: the fear of failure. Failing to provide for your family, failing to live up to others expectations, etc. I think to an extent the fear of failure exists within every man.
For me personally, with no family to provide for as of yet, the fear of failure exists as a fear of having regrets. The only thing that I truly consider myself to be afraid of is having regrets in the form of missed opportunities or a failure to act. For me, conquering this fear comes in the form of seizing opportunities as they present themself and following them to an end. Carpe Diem and all that.
Wife and I looking this over, and she made an excellent point. As a former single mother, the fear of not being able to provide for the family is not just a man-thing. It was a very real fear for herself, as well.
Point taken. I like what John said that perhaps there aren't fears that are unique just to men, but maybe there are ones that men experience more often or to a greater extent.
While single mothers definitely have the fear of not being able to provide for their children, I still think men experience this to a greater extent because we've been told and conditioned our entire lives that it's the man's job to be the provider. We're supposed to bring home the bacon, earn the bread, by the sweat of our brow... and so on and so forth.
I don't think that any of those fears are unique to men. I think that men experience them more often or to a greater extent than women. Or if you want to be picky, there are female equivalents to all of these.
That being said, I think that fear of rejection isn't only limited to being rejected by women. I think everyone is afraid of being rejected. I think we are Homophobic because we don't want to be rejected by our friends if we are seen as gay. I think being called a sissy is a form of rejection. If we don't perform sexually, we will be rejected by our lover.
Just thinking about the ones you listed, most of them stem from a fear of rejection in a broad sense. This goes hand in hand with our need to live in community.
One fear I've been mulling around in my head: Fear of not being respected. I've heard there was a survey that asked what you would rather be more: loved or respected. Men predominantly said respect. What do you think?
When I said fears being unique to men, I didn't mean fears that are universal among men. So, yes I agree, homophobia is not universal among men, but I still think it's a fear that men (generally) tend to suffer to a greater extent than women. I think my wife makes an excellent point on why men tend to be homophobic as opposed to women.
"Homophobic" and "anti-gay" aren't necessarily the same thing, though; be careful about using them synonymously.
Homophobia is an irrational fear of homosexuality, whereas anti-gay can mean anything from disapproval of homosexuality in general to active hate crimes against those who practice homosexuality. The label "homophobia" seems to always jump past the "disapproval" end of the spectrum, straight to "Nazi gas chamber" end; it's neither fair nor accurate to caricaturize people in that way.
Yeah I didn't mean to caricaturize anyone special, sorry if I offended anybody, I just meant to reply on Stephen's comment:
"The knee jerk anti-gay reaction I see from many men is truly frightening as well. It kind of reminds me of KKK or Nazi SS style racism." and verified that Nazis were against gays as well as disabled.
I think most men that are homophobia or against gays, are just afraid of them being involved in their interactions or stuff like that.
No offense taken, Tim; I just wanted to clarify something that has been bugging me for awhile, and your post brought it to the front of my mind. :)
I'm personally against homosexuality, but I'm not afraid of it or those who practice it. It always bugs me when people like myself are caricaturized as "homophobes," simply because we don't approve of a lifestyle.
Of course, there are those who are truly afraid of homosexuality, as if it's a disease they can catch. There are also those who direct their anger (sometimes violently) against the people themselves, which is asinine and deserving of our scorn.
I just don't like being grouped in with the latter ignoramuses.
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