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In most, if not all cultures, men have lifestyles that differ from women, although what this looks like will differ from one culture to another, and may be susceptible to change from one generation to another.

Definitions of what it means to be a man evolve over time and varies across cultures.

In addition, being a man means different things to different people. Some people believe that being a real man means following God with compassion and confidence in who and what they are. Others hold that being a good man means placing the needs of their families ahead of their own desires.

In many societies, being a man means being faithful in all of a man's relationships, and treating their possessions, professional positions, and the environment as if they will eventually hand them down to someone else.

In many cultures in the past, and in some cultures and among some individuals today, being a man meant showing no weaknesses. Men were expected to be stoic, holding their emotions tightly, no matter what was going on, and if unable to do that, the next step might be aggression.

In these cultures, a manly handshake would be firm, and a man would keep his emotions together, except when it came to anger. Otherwise, a public display of emotions was deemed unmanly. Hardness was masculine, while softness was feminine. Men would respond to the exhortation to "be a man" by getting harder, tougher, more competitive, ruthless, and uncaring.

Boys were subjected to demands to "be a man" or to "man up" from an early age. Often well-meaning, this pressure could shame and harden a boy before he even reached adolescence, thus perpetuating a hardened male lifestyle.

Even in cultures today, where men are allowed to show emotions other than anger and aggression, softness is generally associated with femininity. Boys do not strive to be soft; perceived softness is ordinarily viewed as a failing for boys and men.

This is still the case in many cultures today, and in some individuals, but it is not as prevalent as it once was. Men are now allowed to shed tears at certain events, such as funerals.

Although mores have changed over the generations, there are few, if any, cultures in which men's lifestyles are the same as women's lifestyles, and there's probably nothing wrong with that.

What it means to be a man is subjective and varies across cultures and individuals.

Men's issues and topics specific to men are the focus of this portion of our web guide and its subcategories.





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