Give the guys a break: the unfair expectations boys wish would go away


From being good at sports, to the idea that men should hide their emotions, here's some stereotypes we wish would disappear

Nicola Chan |

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"Act like a man", "Tough it out" - these are some of the ideas our male junior reporters wish would just go away.

Guys should be muscular, good at sports, and capable of fixing things around the house. We’ve all heard these male stereotypes, but are they healthy and realistic expectations for boys and men?

For this Brovember cover, Young Post asked our male junior reporters what they wish people didn’t expect of them just because they’re guys.

I hate how people genuinely expect you to be muscular, fit, and sporty, as a guy, and all the fat-shaming that comes with it. Sometimes I just want to curl up on my bed and watch Netflix with a huge bag of chips, and no one, absolutely no one, can take that away from me! Besides, no one has the right to comment on my body shape!

Ernest Leung Lok-hang, 20, University of Oxford

I really wish people wouldn’t expect us to show no emotion and tell us to “act like a man”. Men are often discouraged from expressing their feelings in public, which includes the feelings of depression and anxiety that we all experience in one form or another. There’s a reason more women are diagnosed with clinical depression: because it’s more acceptable for them to seek help.

I would really like more people, in particular men, to reassure other men that it’s OK to show their emotions.

Cyrus Chu, 17, St Louis School

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Cockroaches are one of my biggest fears. But because society tends to expect males to protect females, I am often expected to be the one who has to deal with these little creatures when they appear. Even though they don’t bite or hurt, I find their appearance repulsive, not to mention there’s a possibility that one of them might suddenly crawl up my back! Why should guys always be expected to take on this task? The mental fear of roaches is real, regardless of your gender.

Nester Chik, 17, Sing Yin Secondary School

The notion that guys should be strong, never shed a tear, and should enjoy doing certain activities that are deemed manly, has been around for far too long. If a guy doesn’t match these expectations, they might feel bad about themselves – but they shouldn’t have to!

I wish people would get rid of these standards because it’s not fair on those who don't meet them.

Alpha Ngai, 14, Chinese International School

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I wish people would stop expecting me to grow a beard just because I’m a guy and it’s Movember. I’m often told that I would look good with a moustache, but I don’t agree. A lot of my friends who, like me, don’t have a lot of facial hair, think this is a silly expectation, too.

I support the Movember cause to raise awareness of men’s health issues, but don’t think every man needs to grow a moustache to show their support.

Nicholas Ng, 17, South Island School

From a very young age, boys are expected to only hang out with other boys. I personally find this very annoying. I hate that any relationship between a guy and a girl outside of school or work is seen as romantic. I hope this will change soon.

Zachary Perez Jones, 15, South Island School

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I think guys have it much easier than girls in terms of unreasonable gender expectations. That being said, I don’t think it’s good that guys are often told to “tough it out” when dealing with any mental health issues. This is really unhelpful and can be dangerous.

It would be great if guys were able to openly discuss their mental health with others, and not be looked down on or judged.

JR who prefers to remain anonymous, 21, University of Hong Kong

Edited by Nicole Moraleda