Men Seeking Women For Self-esteem
It’s sad that some women may rely on men for their self-esteem due to harmful messages about being an inferior gender.
But I think it goes both ways. I think just as many men seek women for self-esteem, though for different reasons.
I started thinking about this after reading these words from Maria Infante on your blog:
For as long as I can remember I looked to men for approval. Why? Maybe it was my absent father who was only around for dinner and bed. He paid the rent but didn’t show me much interest. And he favored cousin Daniel over me. So I made it my mission to become his favorite child.
I sought his love and attention by cutting my hair to look more like Daniel, and I wore clothes that looked like my cousin’s. But instead of being invited to join dad and Daniel, I was scorned and left behind.
Always longing for men’s approval I became promiscuous in my teens. I guess I had “daddy issues.”
I’m sorry that Maria has suffered from low self-esteem and has made harmful choices due to a society that looks down on being female. But at the same time, boys’ self-esteem is so often based on women’s response and attraction to them that guys can also put unwarranted stress on themselves as they seek validation from women, and lose peace of mind in the process.
Some boys listen to other boys brag about getting hot girls, and they see other boys doing what they desire. And these other, more sexually successful boys may even be less attractive, or even downright douche bags, yet they still get laid. So the rest of us get the feeling of missing out, and feel a sense of failure or undesirability. Now add a sense of competition with other men — feeling we don’t measure up — and that just adds salt to the wound.
It’s weird how much joy, pride and anger, for boys, is actually based on female desire or lack of desire for them. It’s just amazing how boys’ happiness and self-esteem is based on all this.
Just speaking as a man and observing how — god! — men do so much for female approval. The middle aged guy with the Porsche? You think it’s just because he likes flashy cars? Hmm, most likely it’s “peacocking” to show off to women. Now think about all their work moving up the golden chains to have money, and then spending it to look better than other men in order to impress women.
Boys and men feel so dependent on women for validation, leading them to feel happy or depressed.
You know how with rich and poor we talk of the “haves” and the “have nots”? It seems that as far as dating there are a few men who get all the pleasure and ego strokes while other guys are like paupers, just getting crumbs. And in terms of ego strokes its the reverse — ha!
And then women get blamed, and that’s wrong, as more often than not it’s the guys’ faults holding them back. But it’s very hard to swallow your pride and admit your faults.
In fact, I think it sucks for women because they are often the losers in this, being the pawns of men’s egos competing with each other. So men are unhappy too, because all the competition is f*cking stressful!
It’s hard because our society — not just men, but society — shapes people to be so competitive with each other. When you compare yourself to others, you’re bound to be unhappy, because someone is always more talented, better looking, smarter and more successful. So it’s just a set up to being dissatisfied. I’m saying that as a man who struggles with this problem, because I’m such a competitive person in just about every way.
But in my opinion dudes are selling themselves short. But why are we selling ourselves short?
So many of us compare ourselves to other men and base our self-esteem on women’s approval, which just leads to unhappiness. Instead, we should stop worrying about how we compare with others and shift our focus to see that there really is so much to be thankful for and to be happy about.
Hi Bob. BroadBlogs here.
I think this is the first time I have responded to a post from an author.
I appreciate your articulating what I’m sure many men feel (I’ve heard their complaints), while noting how commonly we unconsciously get caught up in competition and feel bad about ourselves. I also appreciate your pointing out that women end up getting hurt by being pawns in this made up male competition. And how it’s important to base your self-esteem on something other than a stupid competition that society sets up and that we unconsciously internalize. So I appreciate your articulating an experience that many men complain about while actually taking the time to stand apart to question the whole thing.
BTW, Michael Kimmel, who studies men, says that men frequently overestimate how much sex other men get. Partly because most of the stories you hear from other guys are made up and partly because things like pornography make men think that other men are having much more sex than they actually are.
And then of course, women who have a lot of sex are often shamed and yet men get angry that they can’t easily get sex. These are two dynamics, created by our culture, that work against each other.