General Question

chelle21689's avatar

Why don't men have as many low self-esteem issues as women?

Asked by chelle21689 (5082 points ) August 1st, 2012

Females seem to have much more low self-esteem than men. I know a lot of it is because of the media, but it seems like men don’t seem to be as affected by the media. They don’t feel pressure to look good, muscular, etc. It seems they aren’t that threatened by men with good-looks.

Even when it comes to skills, status, etc. guys seem to praise each other and envy them rather than be jealous. Why are most women programmed to feel threatened?

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40 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Testosterone.

jordym84's avatar

Men are just as prone to low self-esteem issues as women and they sure do face a lot of pressure from the media (though not to the same extent as women). They’re just better at hiding their emotions, so we don’t notice it as much, whereas women are more vocal.

tom_g's avatar

Let me propose that your premise is wrong. It might be that what you are describing as “low self-esteem” and competitiveness in women is merely manifested differently in men. Spoiler alert: men are just as screwed up as women.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I think there’s some truth to what you’re saying. True, women are known for being much lower self esteem than men, and perhaps they are. But it’s not true that men don’t feel pressure to look good or that they aren’t threatened by men with good looks. They have similar feelings about themselves as women, they just aren’t as emotional or open about their feelings as women tend to be. Many men feel pressure from the media to look good as well.

CWOTUS's avatar

Because we’re men. We don’t have a thought process that includes “low self esteem”. We build something (or break something) or we read, or write, or drink, or all three of those things, and suppress that.

Besides, we’re generally not smart enough to even realize that there could be anything wrong with us.

TexasDude's avatar

We often do. We are just expected not to show it.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Society, over-all, does not seem to judge men solely on their appearance. Men appear to be valued for the education level that they have achieved or for their position in their chosen profession. Where-as women are put down if they try to get a college degree & if they succeed in a business setting – they are looked at as being ‘bitches’ to work for. As women age, their value drops in direct proportion to their fading physical appearance, & men are judged to become ‘more distinguished’ as they age.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Men do feel that, then give up. We admire you women trying though. Looks exhausting.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Linda_Owl I always say that men age like fine wine, and women age like milk. It’s a curse.

I’m not sure if I agree that women are put down for trying to get a college degree. Being a college-age student, it feels as though a woman would be put down for NOT getting an education. In this day and age, having an education and a successful career is something that both men and women are expected to strive for. I agree that things USED to be that way, but I’m not sure they still are. Maybe there’s something to that “bitch” comment…but I say it’s better to be a bitch with a good salary than be loved as a cashier at McDonalds.

wundayatta's avatar

Thanks for the big laugh! Men have worse self esteem than women. Or maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know is that men need to hide their low self esteem more than women do. It’s not so cool for us to show our emotions, and even worse, we must never admit to any weakness. It’s hard on us, and it drives our self esteem even lower.

Low self esteem leads to a lot of bragging an posturing. Tell me you don’t see guys posturing all the time. You might think that’s high self esteem, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s men covering up because they fear their weaknesses are showing. So they brag, posture, attack, tease, pretend they don’t need anything and that they are fine.

You’ve heard of the famous sensitive male ego? Do you ever wonder why men need to be propped up by women all the time? “Oh my! I’ve never seen one bigger. I don’t know if I can handle it!”

Come on! Tell me you don’t understand that’s low self esteem!

Women tend to be more open about what’s going on inside them. They’ll share their feelings, good and bad. Men don’t understand this, often, because we are trained not to show emotions and not to talk about problems. It’s inhumane, really, but it’s been part of our culture for a gazillion years.

It’s probably healthier to talk about feelings and at least admit to them. You can get help and support from each other that way. Men can support each other, but only in code. And underneath it all, we have surely as many self esteem issues as women do. But I don’t think we deal with them as well.

And here’s a trick, men. If you do talk about your feelings, women really get into it. It’s a good way to build a relationship with a woman—assuming you want to do that. Not all men think that’s cool.

Mariah's avatar

I think they probably have a lot of the same feelings, but they are under much more societal pressure to hide them.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I’m a guy. I have low self esteem in spades. However, I’m just VERY good at hiding and dealing with it. Men are somewhat expected to not show weakness in our culture. In REAL Islamic culture men often express themselves freely. It is not expected for them to shutter their emotions. Recently however, islamic radicals have all but destroyed both islam’s reputation, culture, and warmth. If you ever get to know an average muslim man, you will find them to be kind, carring, open people. They are not afraid to show their emotions, and crying is actually considered manly in islamic culture.

marinelife's avatar

What is the basis for your assumption? In my experience men have just as many self-esteem issues as women.

Trillian's avatar

Who says they don’t? You are utterly wrong from beginning to end.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
YARNLADY's avatar

I’m with @marinelife and @Trillian on this one.

ucme's avatar

I resent the implication & anyway, I bet you’re talking about me, you are aren’t you?
See, I knew it, it’s just not fair!! ;¬}

Trillian's avatar

@ucme You resemble it too. I immediately thought of you!

gondwanalon's avatar

Maybe it is because men are just happier than women?

Most of you have likey seen this:

What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.

The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, they can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life. Your belly usually hides your big hips. One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache..

You can do Christmas shopping for all your relatives on December 24 in 30 minutes.

No wonder men are happier

ucme's avatar

@Trillian You mean, I look like a scary clown created by Stephen King?

rojo's avatar

Speaking personally, It just doesn’t seem to register on my radar. Yea, I would like to lose a few pounds but I look around and hey, I am not the worst case here, so, maybe I’ll have that regular beer instead of the lite kind. Honestly, I think it is because we do not spend as much time actually thinking.

rojo's avatar

@gondwanalon Underwear? Geez, I must save like $8.95 a year and I didn’t even know it! That calls for a celebration! I wonder if Spec’s has any of those 24oz Stone IPA’s left?

josie's avatar

I don’t know. But everything you said is true. Men tend to admire and attempt to emulate their role models, not resent them.

And it is true that men tend to give respect to their betters, rather than despise them.

Regarding good looks: I am not that bad, but there are better looking guys than me, and I do not give a shit.

Your observation is valid.

But who knows.

I am sure plenty of people will try to blame the phenomenon on white American male institutions and racism, sexism and Capitalism, but I would be skeptical about that.

Good Question!!!

tom_g's avatar

Are we now claiming that “men are happier”? I think I missed the links to these studies. Or is this “men are mars, women are from venus” grocery aisle-style analysis time? Seriously, I’d love to see the data here. Maybe men are in general happier.

tom_g's avatar

And @gondwanalon – I know you’re probably just being funny or something, but it seems that you have some very rigid ideas of what a woman and man are.

Probably regret this, but let me take a stab at some of these…

Maybe it is because men are just happier than women?
I’d like to see the data here. I am highly suspect, however.

Most of you have likey seen this:

What do you expect from such simple creatures?
Your last name stays put.
If you choose to. Just like women.

The garage is all yours.
Huh?

Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Really? You mean, the way that most men I have ever known were just as involved in the wedding planning as the women.

Chocolate is just another snack.
Yep, just like for women.

You can be President.
So can women…if they can get themselves to vote for a woman. So far, they’ve been pretty apprehensive.

You can never be pregnant.
Most women I know say, “It must suck to have not have the ability to be pregnant.”

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
I am not alone in wishing women did the same.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.
Nope.

The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You’re right there.

You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Speak for yourself.

Wrinkles add character.
You mean, some women (and men) like the wrinkled men look?

Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental$100.-
My wife’s wedding dress $100. My tux rental was more.

People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.
Many men would see this as a disadvantage of being a man. Perspective.

The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
The same back woods honkytonk that encourages belching for men would likely expect it for women.

New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
Just like they don’t for women.

One mood all the time.
You don’t think much (or know much) about men apparently.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
That’s too long.

You know stuff about tanks.
I know one person who knows about tanks – and she’s a woman.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
Same for women.

You can open all your own jars.
You’re right there.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
What world provides credit or “extra credit” for adults?

If someone forgets to invite you, they can still be your friend.
What’s wrong with that.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
You can’t find cheap underwear?

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
I have 3 pairs. How could one need more. Oh, right…they don’t.

You almost never have strap problems in public.
You’re right there.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
This is a good trait for all humans to have.

Everything on your face stays its original color.
Except for all of the old-age splotches I am getting, just like my father.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
Not true, but would be a nice thing for all humans to adopt.

You only have to shave your face and neck.
Women don’t have to shave anywhere. My wife didn’t shave her legs or arms for the first 9 years we were together.

You can play with toys all your life.
Yep. Just like women.

Your belly usually hides your big hips.
Not sure a belly hides much.

One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons.
Same as women.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
Same as women.

You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.
No, I can’t.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
True, I guess…?

You can do Christmas shopping for all your relatives on December 24 in 30 minutes.
I don’t buy xmas gifts for adults in my family. Neither does my wife. Nobody has to buy people gifts they don’t want or need.

No wonder men are happier
Again, I’d love to see evidence that this is true.

What I get from above is some kind of stereotypical self-limiting “woman” compared with stuff that non-limiting, full women also experience.

I’m not denying that there are differences between men and women. There are. But the question is about self-esteem and men. While I felt that the original question had an invalid premise, it’s a decent question, and it’s one that we can look at without setting outdated (or never-dated) self-imposed concepts of what a woman or a man is.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

We face the same challenges and feelings as women. We just learn to hide them at an early age. Yeah, it’s a hell of a lot of fun too.

rooeytoo's avatar

I immediately think of that movie, Full Monty, where the fat ugly looking guy criticizes, in all earnestness, the gorgeous woman because her breasts are too big.

Men have been engineered to believe they are superior. In all species except human, females are more prized, in humans female babies are killed off because males are the prize.

I have never understood it, wars are the work of men, more crimes are committed by men, mothers are afraid to send young males into the mens room alone so they bring them into the ladies room until they are 16 (some of them look that old), pedophilia is the penchant of men, they refuse to admire the athleticism of women instead leering at their bodies.

And yet they feel superior and are more treasured as offspring, why is this?

dabbler's avatar

@chelle21689
Do men think about esteem issues differently?
After a lifetime of not getting much of the kind of sympathy men need for their pains (getting some wrong kind or being dismissed as woosy or whiny) men are more resigned to get used to measuring up. Who has as much dough as Branson or Merhvold or Buffet(Warren not Jimmy) or Slim(Carlos) ? Or the looks of the Mr’s Pitt or Clooney or Simmons(Henry). It is after all a waste of energy to consider oneself on scales guaranteed to indicate failure. Men can feel the pain of inferiority just fine. Some even start shooting the place up of taking that kind of thing too personally.

Cooperation and compliments ?
Men can understand they are more likely to cause permanent damage if they fight so enlisting allies with compliments and admiration is often a better long-term strategy when the parties are enough alike to respect agreements. Teamwork.

But honestly, can’t all the same be said of both genders? (Except maybe the shooting part, women are gaining on men but have a lot of catching up to match men the primal shooting department. I’m not encouraging that, just sayin’, that is different).

I think the contrasts you draw are more applicable to the differences comparing people trying to figure out how to escape their anonimity and sameness with folks who are making the best of it.

Nullo's avatar

Machismo, perhaps, or maybe we forget about it. Once I started getting into shape, I realized just how low my self-esteem had been. I’ll try to stop before I hit ‘arrogant jerk.’ XD

gondwanalon's avatar

@tom_g That was a total joke of course. And an old one at that.

The part that I like the best is “the world is your urinal” and that alone has got to bolster self esteem because men don’t have to assume a submissive posture to pee.

Jenniehowell's avatar

seems to me that if it were really true that men didn’t suffer from low self esteem issues in large numbers just like females do then the sales of sports cars to men of a certain age would be much lower – as would the sales of giant pickup trucks etc. to men who don’t need them for work related functions (short man syndrome). Not to mention the plethora of sales & marketing every year out the wazoo for products geared toward nether-region enhancements and improvements of the average male… or the hair replacement, hair growth, hair coloring etc. industry. Of course there’s also the number of cases of domestic violence, abuse & extreme levels of control that some men have in their relationships – yet another sign of significant insecurities in many cases/to some extent.

Granted men are not necessarily insecure about the same things as women so you won’t necessarily see them caring as much about the size of their stomach or ass as they do about the size of their penis, their bank account, their car or the number of/class of women they could get attention from on a daily basis.

I don’t think any gender has the monopoly on insecurity – it’s just that each gender has insecurities about a variety of totally different things.

rooeytoo's avatar

Why is sitting a “submissive” posture? Is it submissive to sit at a desk as do CEO’s, is it submissive to sit in the pilot’s seat of a huge jet, is it submissive to sit down to crap?

What a strange thing to say or think???????

Response moderated (Spam)
bookish1's avatar

@chelle21689: You don’t think they do? I think men are just expected not to let on that they have self-esteem problems, whereas it is something that women are expected and allowed to talk about. (And it does not originate from this, but it is cultivated to fuel capitalism for both parties, I dare say…)

Silence04's avatar

What you are talking about is not really low self esteem, you are referring to body dissatisfaction disorder. It is true there are more women that suffer from body dissatisfaction than men. Why that is still trying to be proven, but many studies show it is due to the role media plays in portraying the “ideal women,” which is often very unrealistic.

Paradox25's avatar

The header on this thread, I’m not so sure that this is true at all, though I know what you’re implying. From my experiences with being around all types of men and women, and in various situations I would say that it is at least even, or the other way around. Guys have many pressures on them, and the perceived stereotype of men having less self-esteem/confidence issues than women is, for the most part, an illusion created by society.

You don’t read about too articles attacking women for not being ‘real’ women anymore as do for for men not being real men. Unfortunately, one of the many expectations of men is to, and ironically, not talk about their concerns. Many women won’t even bother with guys who don’t live up to the macho expectations of them. Wow, there is so much more that I could add on here but I just wanted to make a few brief points. Your issues above are valid, but us guys have our own concerns which easily make up for these.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m better at hiding it. But I know I’ll never be Don Draper.

CWOTUS's avatar

That’s okay, @Blackberry. Even Don Draper isn’t really Don Draper.

mattbrowne's avatar

This is from a magazine with a good reputation

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-women/201001/the-truth-about-women-and-self-esteem

The article lists several studies on the subject.

“Yes, you can find individual studies that show that men have higher self-esteem and mastery than women, but when you average across dozens and dozens of studies, at most you find a miniscule difference between men and women that depends on which measure of self-esteem or mastery you use. The mischaracterization of women’s and girls’ identities as weak and conflicted has many potential negative consequences.”

snapdragon24's avatar

The only reason why some women may suffer low self esteem issues is probably because they are around individuals (men) with low esteem.

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