Are Men Only NEEDED Or Are They Also WANTED?

 / 

are men only needed or are they also wanted

Men also like to be wanted, just like they are needed. They have feelings and sentiments too, and they also crave tenderness and care just like women do.

Running an online magazine about masculinity, I’ve come to observe a curious phenomenon. When we post about male rape victims or the enforcement of masculine gender roles, we get plenty of interesting comments.

But when we post about Nice Guy Syndrome and other issues around men who feel sexually unwanted, our comments blow up like they were directed by Michael Bay. This is an issue that touches men deeply and damagingly, and ties in with a lot of pain that, hegemonic masculinity being what it is, usually doesn’t get talked about.

Others, such as Hugo Schwyzer, have written about how straight men don’t feel sexually desired, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to overestimate just how deep this idea goes. It feeds into a phenomenon a lot of guys have experienced, a phenomenon based on weird broken ideas about gender roles, ideas so deeply rooted in the subconscious that most men aren’t even aware that they’ve got them.

The core issue is this: many, many men in our society feel they have to be needed, because they can’t imagine they could ever be wanted.

Being needed can take different forms, all of which resemble traditional male roles.

  • Brave protector against danger.
  • Bread-winning economic provider.
  • Indispensable handyman.
  • Problem-solving leader.

We get any more macho stereotypes in here, it’s gonna look like a Village People reunion. This is what being masculine means in our culture: to be necessary.

Related: The Only Quality That Matters In A Man

One of the most common complaints about feminism, all the way back to the First Wave, is that feminism seeks to make men obsolete or unnecessary. “If women can [fill in anything about female agency] what will they need men for?” runs the line, in every decade, in response to every advance. And while nobody is arguing that that’s a legitimate criticism, it’s important to understand that it arises out of real fear. Look at the keyword in that sentence, need. It’s always the same concept, however, that objection is phrased.

Plan A, for men in our society, is to be necessary, to be needed, to be indispensable. There is no plan B.

If plan A doesn’t come off, we are lost, we’re adrift, we have nothing. This is an existential fear, on a very deep level.

There’s a common observation among those who, like myself, have worked in senior citizen care homes. It’s related to why the population of those homes skews heavily female, to why men die younger than women. Over and over, again and again, those who are around senior citizens have to deal with retired men who, no longer working and no longer earning money, don’t know why they’re still alive.

They don’t know who they are or why they bother to continue drawing breath if they’re no longer needed for something important. Some of them find something else to define themselves, some new project or internal source of worth. Others just give up and let the next swell of ill health carry them overboard.

The “crisis of masculinity” that many people are currently wringing their hands over, the “mancession” involving men’s employment dropping slightly faster than women’s, the cultural yearning for an imagined past when men bestrode the world like gray-suited colossi, building and making and innovating important things, the same problem.

We’re at a place, culturally and economically, where many of the traditional sources of necessity for men have evaporated, or at least been drastically downsized.

We don’t need to have 25% of the population growing food any more; we can do it with 2%.

Women don’t need men to provide for them any more, education and career opportunities have opened up. All this would be fine, if there were any plan B.

It’s a well-worn observation that media is the first place to look for enforcement of societal norms. A quick glance at our culture’s media demonstrates that it endlessly reinforces the notion of male necessity. On a surface level, there’s the fact that with fictional heroes remaining overwhelmingly white males, if a guy doesn’t show up, there’s no story at all. That’s a nice form of necessity. Deeper than that, though, there’s the structure of every “romantic” subplot in every movie that has a character who can be accurately described as The Girl.

Every action movie, every sci-fi epic, all the movies that are stereotypically written off as male power fantasies, all have the same way that the hero gets the girl: he proves his necessity, usually by saving her life. If he weren’t there, she’d literally be dead.

Interestingly, the romantic movies often stereotyped as female fantasies do not generally have this dynamic. Oddly, however, even those rarely focus on the male lead as the object of desire; the female gaze is commonly absent from these stories. Instead, the heroine tends to be the object, and the hero prevails by demonstrating that his desire for her is the biggest and most special and pure and so on. Not even in the realm of “chick flicks” about the joys of heterosexual pair-bonding are men seen as desired, as wanted.

I’m not speaking in the abstract here; when this wanted/needed dichotomy was first pointed out to me, I felt a deep and embarrassing pang of recognition. I myself like it when I can rescue my girlfriends when I can save the day or handle the problem or otherwise demonstrate my irrefutable necessity. I like feeling needed because even for me, even with all my ever-so-educated awareness of gender roles and stereotypes, even with all the women who’ve told me I’m sexy and desirable, I still can’t quite convince myself that I’m wanted. Even if I am, being wanted can only be a nebulous and fleeting state. Being needed, now, that’s solid. That’s a reason to keep going.

Related: 28 Fun Questions to Ask a Guy That He’ll Love

It is downright incredible how resistant to empirical data the sense of being unwantable is.

It took many years and girlfriends before I began to suspect that every woman who slept with me might not be humoring me out of pity. Even then, and to this day, I feel more secure in relationships when I can provide a measurable and necessary form of value other than just my own charms, whatever those might be. Girlfriend needs a ride to the airport? I’m on it! Needs a ride to the hospital? Even better!

The rare occasions where I can help out with covering bills when she’s short on rent (most of the women I’ve loved make more money than a starving writer, it turns out) are even better, because I am Providing For My Woman, and I feel the warm glow of centuries of hegemonic masculinity validating me.

Let me be clear: I know this is stupid. I know it’s asinine social programming and that these women consider me sexually and emotionally desirable. But there’s a difference between knowing that and believing it. And for guys who haven’t got a girlfriend, who feel the bitter sting of active rejection or the endless cold of passive rejection, who yearn for love and sex and the touch of another hand… what can they possibly believe about being wanted?

The fact is, as I’ve learned during prolonged periods of loneliness myself, when a lifetime of “Ewwww, gross, naked guy!” jokes combine with stretches of personal rejection, it’s easy to feel neither wanted nor needed.

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a job where your particular abilities are necessary, so that’s a form of being needed, one you can throw yourself into, but it’s not the same as being needed by another person. Being wanted by another person, at that point, has disappeared over the horizon, into an unmarked area of the map labeled ‘HERE BE UNICORNS THAT DISPENSE FREE MONEY.’

It’s easy to get bitter when you feel unwanted, and so this unfortunate confluence of forces has left our culture littered with embittered men who get very upset about what they can’t help but perceive as their own failure.

Related: A Male Brain V/s A Female Brain: 13 Interesting Differences

It’s easy to dismiss them as angry losers or some other convenient pejorative, but I’ve walked a few too many miles in their shoes to call their pain baseless. I don’t pretend to have a solution, but the least we can do is begin to correctly identify the problem.


Written by Noah Brand
Originally appeared on The GoodmenProject.com
Are Men Only NEEDED Or Are They Also WANTED
are men only needed or are they also wanted pin
are men only needed or are they also wanted

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

How To Make Right Decisions: 10 Proven Decision Making Tips You Can’t Afford To Miss

How to Make Right Decisions: Best Decision Making Tips

Have you ever found yourself standing at a crossroads, unsure of which path to take? Trust me, we’ve all been there! Life is full of decisions, big and small, that shape our journey and define who we are. This is why it’s crucial that we learn how to make right decisions.

Scratching your head about making a life-altering decision? Life loves throwing us curve-balls and forcing us to make decisions. Whether it’s choosing a career path, making a major purchase, or deciding on a life partner, the ability to make right decisions is an invaluable skill.

So let’s explore what is decision making and delve into some amazing decision making tips that will help you be a better decision maker. These practical insights help you navigate life’s crossroads with confidence and clarity.



Up Next

8 Things To Never Do In The Morning After Waking Up

Things To Never Do In The Morning After Waking Up

Mornings can be a battlefield, especially when the alarm clock rudely interrupts your dreams of tropical beaches and unlimited snooze buttons. But here’s the deal: there are certain things to never do, once you’ve woken up. Trust me, I’ve made my fair share of morning blunders.

Picture this: stumbling around and extremely groggy, you are reaching for that tempting snooze button like it’s your lifeline, only to realize that you’ve wasted precious time and now you are running late for work and household chores.

If you relate to this scenario, then it’s high time you ditch those toxic morning habits and practice some healthy ones. So, grab your coffee and read on to know about eight things to never do after you wake up in the morning.



Up Next

Monday Morning Inspiration: 8 Simple Tips to Make Your Monday Morning Better

Monday Morning Inspiration: Best Tips For Monday Morning

Discovering a way to enjoy the start of your week is hard for everyone. After a weekend full of relaxation, you have to go back to work or school and face another five days before you can rest again. If you’re looking for Monday morning inspiration, here are some tips!

Hearing an alarm on Monday morning feels like a punch in the gut. It’s an unpleasant reminder that it’s time to get up and do adult things again.

But out of this widespread feeling of discontent comes an opportunity for change! Instead of letting the Monday blues take over, let’s see if we can find some ways to find Monday morning motivation and make the first day of the week more enjoyable.



Up Next

9 Fun and Effective Exercises For Brain Health To Keep Your Mind Sharp

Fun Exercises For Brain Health To Keep Your Mind Sharp

Ever wonder how to keep your brain in top shape? Welcome to the gym for your mind! Let’s flex those mental muscles and discover the key to a sharper, healthier mind with the best exercises for brain health.

In a world where physical fitness often takes the spotlight, it’s time to shine a light on exercises that pump up your brain. There are certain brain exercises that can increase brain health, and boost cognitive function & mental agility.

Practicing brain exercises regularly can do wonders for your mind’s health, helping you stay sharp, focused, and mentally agile. So grab your mental sweatband, because we’ve got all the brain-boosting moves you need to unleash your inner genius. 

Best Ex



Up Next

Compulsive Pulling, Picking, Biting: The What, Why, and How of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Tips For Overcoming Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Do you tend to bite your nails often? Do you have a habit of pulling your hair without even realizing it? Engaging in such repetitive behaviors that seem beyond your control can be a sign of body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). So, are there any self-help tips for overcoming body focused repetitive behaviors?

Yes. Most of us frequently pick at our skin, pull our hair, bite our nails without being aware of it. While such habits can seem harmless at a glance, when it becomes uncontrollable and left unaddressed, body focused repetitive behaviors can seriously affect our mental health and quality of life.

Although such behaviors can be challenging and distressing, there are ways to overcome it. Let’s explore this complex and often misunderstood phenomenon, exploring what are body focused repetitive behaviors, its roots, i



Up Next

How To Exit Your Lazy Girl Era? 8 Steps To Bid Farewell To The Lazy You

How To Exit Your Lazy Girl Era? Steps To Say Goodbye

Are you tired of feeling stuck in the “lazy girl” era? Do you find yourself constantly being held back by the demons of procrastination and struggling to break free from its clutches? Well, you have come to the right place, because today we are going to talk about how to exit your lazy girl era.

We are going to explore eight effective strategies that can really help you say goodbye to your lazy girl era for good and be productive. So, if you’re ready to kick laziness to the curb and unleash your inner go-getter, keep reading and get ready to transform your life.

Related: Kaizen: A Japanese Technique for Overcoming Laziness



Up Next

5 Powerful Benefits of Imaginative Thinking

Imaginative Thinking: Powerful Benefits Of Imagination

The benefits of imaginative thinking are unending to be honest. However, in this article we are going to explore five of the most interesting and powerful benefits of imagination and imaginative thinking.

KEY POINTS

Imagination is a fundamental aspect of human life.

Imagination enables one to look beyond the world as it is.

Imagination helps create different lenses through which to see the world.

Our