Why Do Men Struggle with Masculinity? A Deep Dive into the Modern Man’s Dilemma

Men struggle with masculinity—it's a statement as old as time, yet more relevant than ever in the modern era. While the social construct of masculinity has evolved over time, today's man still grapples with defining his role in society.

The struggle manifests itself in various ways—from self-esteem issues to emotional detachment. TMITP aims to dissect the complexity of modern masculinity and offer actionable insights.

Table of Contents

What Is the Traditional View of Masculinity?

Traditionally, masculinity was defined by qualities like strength, courage, and leadership. Men were expected to be breadwinners, devoid of emotional vulnerability. This “John Wayne” archetype may have worked for a different era, but is it realistic for the modern man?

Not quite. The relentless pursuit of this outdated model has led to a slew of mental health issues among men, including depression and anxiety. It's crucial to reassess our understanding of masculinity to be more inclusive and nuanced.

Moreover, the traditional view often pigeonholes men into a restrictive box that doesn't acknowledge the full spectrum of human emotions and capabilities. This can be especially damaging in relationships and self-development.

How Does Society Contribute to Men’s Struggle with Masculinity?

Let's face it—society plays a significant role in perpetuating the traditional norms of masculinity. From the toys boys are given to play with, to the movies that glorify hyper-masculine heroes, societal cues are everywhere.

Even phrases like “Man up” or “Boys don't cry” can subconsciously instill the idea that showing vulnerability is weak. This pressure can lead to emotional suppression, creating a cycle where men struggle with masculinity and are unable to express themselves authentically.

If you are interested in how society's expectations can intensify these struggles, check out our blog post on fragile masculinity.

Why Is Emotional Vulnerability Seen as Weakness?

One of the significant ways men struggle with masculinity is through emotional vulnerability. It's a sad paradox that the capacity to be emotionally open, often considered a human strength, is seen as a male weakness.

The reasons are multifold. Historical norms and cultural expectations have combined to create an environment where men feel unsafe displaying their emotions openly. This leads to a lack of emotional intelligence, which can impact relationships and mental well-being adversely.

Yet, the tide is turning. More men are seeking therapy and engaging in conversations around mental health, signaling a shift towards embracing emotional vulnerability.

How Does Struggling with Masculinity Affect Relationships?

One of the more understated areas where men grapple with masculinity is relationships. The inability to express feelings can lead to misunderstandings, and, in extreme cases, emotional neglect.

Many men find themselves unable to meet the emotional needs of their partners, not because they don't want to, but because they've never been taught how. It's a cycle that begins in childhood and manifests into adult relationships.

Women are not exempt from this either. Societal norms around masculinity often place undue expectations on men, which women internalize as well. The result is a strained emotional connection, often requiring professional intervention.

What Are Some Ways to Navigate Modern Masculinity?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some suggestions:

  • Self-Awareness: Understand the societal constructs that have shaped your perception of masculinity.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Learn how to articulate your feelings in a healthy way.
  • Therapy: A safe space to explore your thoughts can be incredibly liberating.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. It's never too late to redefine what masculinity means to you. You have the power to break free from societal expectations and discover your authentic self.


While men struggle with masculinity is not a new concept, it's important to recognize the unique challenges the modern man faces. By acknowledging the societal pressures and embracing emotional vulnerability, it's possible to navigate the complexities of masculinity in a healthier way. It's a journey, but one well worth taking.

Ready to delve deeper into these issues? Don't miss our article on fragile masculinity to explore the societal expectations that compound these struggles.