Since American social constructs came to be, the male has been deemed the breadwinner; the hard worker, the provider, the protector. The father-figure kisses his wife and heads to work, leaving her to tend after the children as he puts in the long hours necessary to bringing hoe the bacon. Of course, in recent times, these gender roles have begun to shift. There are more and more female professionals, and just as many stay-at-home dads. But in spite of the collective progress our nation has made in the smashing of long-standing and restrictive social norms, money and manhood remain closely intertwined.
Masculinity and Financial Stability
There is still a major disparity when it comes to the way that men and women view their financial capabilities. Women tend to view economic stability as a privilege – they enjoy contributing to household income, and their ability to do so bolsters self-esteem and further develops a sense of independence. Men, on the other hand, view monetary contribution as a necessity – they feel as if they need to bring in the majority (if not all) of the household income, and if they fall short, their very manhood will essentially be threatened. And it is not merely the perceived fiscal role of men and women that varies. When it comes to money, the way that men and women (generally) handle their earnings is quite different. Men tend to take more financial risks, and rarely save for emergencies. Many men use money as scorecard, and struggle immensely with self-esteem when financial issues arise. Still, in today’s society, men tether their masculinity to their breadwinning abilities – archetypal gender roles suggest that manliness correlates to the amount of cash a man is able to bring in.
Money and Mating
Of course, women look for much more in a suitable mate than financial accomplishment. The makings of any good partnership include trust, communication, intimacy, and a plethora of other cogs and gears. In a recent study, however, it was found that the majority of American women favor perceived wealth over physical appearance when it came to initial attraction. According to the study, 64 percent of women admitted that they wanted to marry a man who made more money than they did; none wanted to marry a man who made less. So the male inclination towards spending rather than saving is, perhaps, justified – at least as far as the intrinsic human need to find a mate and reproduce goes. Throwing down $10k on a Rolex may seem irresponsible, but a luxury watch might have the same effect as a brilliant bunch of tail feathers has on the female peacock.
Pretty, Pretty Peacock
So then, all of this to say that despite the recent wave of equality-focused feminism and the disassembling of limiting and prototypical gender roles, women still want men who make more money, and men still associate fiscal stability with masculinity. Many men admit to feel overwhelming amounts of pressure and stress when it comes to breadwinning. The problem with the emphasis on affluence is the length many men go to in order to keep up outward appearances. Masculinity is closely tied to self-worth and personal identity, and without a steady (and impressive) income, and the ability to flaunt net-worth, some men will lose their sense of inherent value and become riddled with depression and anxiety. What it all comes down to is establishing a solid sense of self-appreciation and acceptance regardless of financial status. Like most things in life, money is far from a constant. Security will fluctuate, and it is important to have an authentic grasp of self to fall back on, regardless of what external forces are at play. Learning to communicate effectively, adequately express emotions, compromise, and work hard towards constant self-betterment are the qualities that will undeniably stand the test of time.
And that is where we come in. We help men who are struggling to develop a genuine sense of self-worth break through ideals and ego, and get in touch with their innermost selves. For more information, please contact us today.