It’s a truly ruthless world for the man


Being a man does have upsides, of course. The downside is the aggression and violence

Photo credit: Samuel Muigai | Nation Media Group

The world of men is far more ruthless than any woman can imagine. Women are competitive of course, and like to win. But men’s lives are an endless struggle between dominance and defeat.

 Exactly the same way a young male lion fights to lead a pride, only to be dislodged a few years later.

Men truly didn’t choose for things to be this way, and very few of them like it much. But they all have to take part, and there’s no way out. Think about how a stay-at-home dad is somehow seen as a loser, rather than admired as a caring parent.

Men are acutely aware that there’s no safety net for a man who fails. No woman wants to marry an unsuccessful man. Nobody cares when a man falls by the wayside. On average, half of the world’s men drop out of the gene pool every generation. Men despair and commit suicide far more often than women.

Men rarely seek emotional support from their male friends, because as boys they learned that if they show any vulnerability they’ll be teased unmercifully. Male companionship’s usually based on shared activities, and male networks tends to be wide and loose.

Small groups

While women tend to have small groups of emotionally very close friends. And there’s always a cutting edge to men’s humour, even between men who like each other. At best, being roasted is some sort of sideways sign of affection.

Most women have no idea just how combative men can be towards one another. Even at the most basic level, the level of aggression is surprisingly high. Watch children playing in a schoolyard. The boys who aren’t cool get pushed around all the time, even by the girls. And how much sympathy do they get? None at all.

Men’s violence towards women is rightly a big issue. But men are far more violent towards each other. Almost all murders consist of one young man killing another, and almost all young men have experienced violence. In fact, it’s so common that it barely registers.

Snide remarks

All but the highest status men avoid anything more than casual eye contact with other men, in case it’s taken as a challenge. They know to appear confident to avoid being picked on. They learn to ignore snide remarks and insults that could escalate into conflict, and to deflect them with humour.

So a man will always be cautious around other males, unless he’s known them for very many years. And even then he’ll be careful around certain topics and situations.

Being a man does have upsides, of course. The downside is the aggression and violence. And so, successful societies restrain male competitiveness with good laws and policing. But in today’s unstable world, it remains essential.

Because while it’s often suggested that we should bring up men to be less confrontational, any community that did that would soon find itself being hustled out of existence by its more belligerent neighbours…


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