Men vs Hollywood Stereotypes. The struggle is real.
. . . Brad Pitt. George Clooney. Johnny Depp. Denzel. Clint. Leonardo. Christian Grey. Every day we see articles that speak to the struggle that women have meeting the expectations set by our society and the media, but almost never do you see or hear anything about the struggle for men to meet those same expectations. Most women do not even believe that the struggle for men is real. But it is, and it’s something that we, as wives (and sisters, daughters, and friends), need to start acknowledging and working to combat.
My husband and I recently went to see 50 Shades of Grey, and while we were waiting for the movie to begin, I commented that we were going to find out what made millions of women flock to the novels. What was the great attraction? My husband didn’t miss a beat. “He’s a good-looking billionaire. What’s not to love?”
I attempted to explain that there are lots of good-looking billionaires in the world–both real and fiction, but there was something else. There was something different about Christian Grey that attracted women, and that he and every other man could probably have the same thing if they figured out what that “thing” is. He couldn’t see it. For him, and for most men, the standards of “attractiveness” are set by our Hollywood leading men. Looks. Money. Strength. Power. Fame. To them, those are the ideals, and they compare themselves to those standards every day, usually to their own detriment.
Depression, feelings of inadequacy, and feelings of powerlessness are rampant in men bombarded with these societal messages every day. Just. Like. Women. Who knew?
So what do we need to know here? What can we do to help? First, we need to know and understand that more than anything in the world, your man wants to be your hero. He wants to be your leading man. Can he take you to dinner in Paris by his private helicopter? No. But he can shovel a path to your car in the snow and warm it up for you. He can fix your leaky faucet. He can take care of the maintenance on your home and vehicles. And he can bring in a reliable paycheck. So that’s what he does.
Your job is to acknowledge it. And say “thank you.” And tell him how much you appreciate his efforts. Even if he hasn’t acknowledged your efforts lately. Even then.
Likewise, maybe he doesn’t have a nice set of washboard abs, but he does have that great smile that melts your heart. And oh how you love how he looks when he wears that color blue. Tell him. Don’t make things up. Tell him the things that you sincerely find attractive about him. For me, I tell my husband all the time how I adore his salt and pepper mustache and beard and those lines around his eyes. And i mean it. I do. Maybe he doesn’t believe me, but it’s true, and I’m going to continue to compliment them every time I remember to.
Acknowledge the way he always makes it to work–through sickness, blizzards, storms, floods…even stifling dreadful heat. He goes. Because he’s a hero. He cares for his family very, very well. No matter what.
And acknowledge when he does sweet things for you. I’d like to see Christian Grey come throw a load of laundry in the washer when I’m overwhelmed with other things to do. What? He would never? Well, what kind of hero is that?
I’ll keep my guy, any day. I think I’ll go tell him that right now. Why don’t you do the same. Then share what you said and how he reacted. Was he surprised? Did he try to act all cool and calm about it? Did he compliment you back? Did he beam with pride? I look forward to hearing all about it.