1. Physical. Whether competing for food, fighting hand to hand, or challenging each other in the sporting arena, mastery of one’s own physical abilities is an important part of being a man. The most primitive, yet still one of the most prominent traits, a man’s physical capability affects everything from self-preservation to mating preferences. The health and virility of a male make him an appealing candidate for partnership with the opposite sex, while his strength and stature still prove to be influential factors in both the social and business world.
2. Functional. Throughout time, a man’s ability and desire to provide for those that depend on him has been central to his masculinity. While utilizing a combination of physical ability, wit, savvy and ambition to succeed, his role as the breadwinner is what drives a man to achieve. No matter the geographic location or social situation, men work primarily to feed and create an environment of comfort for their wife and family. This is the commonly accepted role of the man within the social system and proves a formidable challenge that every man must accept.
3. Sexual. Traditionally, it has been more acceptable for a man to remain a bachelor later in life compared to a woman. The desire for independence and freedom from the command of others is typically a masculine trait.
A man’s role as the aggressor in finding a mate is frequently recognized in most cultures, leaving him to seek out and pursue his interest. Although this sounds like an archaic and primeval practice, it is still a very large part of the courting process in modern society. In fact, this image of man’s independence has become so accepted, and even glorified in mainstream culture, that married men often feel compelled to follow this independence still.
4. Emotional. The denial of ones emotions is ingrained in men from a very early age. The phrase “boys don’t cry” about sums it up. Whatever his position, a man must manage without regard to the emotional effect that issues have on him. The ability to suppress personal feelings enables men to maintain an objective view of the circumstance and carry on. A man is then able to make rational decisions whether in a situation as small as an interpersonal debate or as catastrophic as a bloody battlefield. That said, it is necessary and healthy for men to have someone that they can confide in – a mentor, a brother, a friend – and let the old guard down once in awhile so that stress isn’t bottled up to the point of exploding.
5. Interpersonal. In interpersonal relationships, men are prone to adopt leadership roles and take the initiative to act on the other’s behalf. This can manifest itself negatively in the form of dominant behavior, by suppressing the will of others in the name of self-interest. However, this leadership can also be utilitarian. It is highly effective in the family model, as the father is able to establish order in the household. Giving direction and acting as a disciplinarian are common functions of men as a result.