Man Bun, Or Man Braid? How About ‘Man, Do Whatever You Want’

Self-esteem issues aren't limited to women.

First the man bun, and now the man braid. Men are redefining where masculinity fits into the fashion sphere with unconventional trends that have been more than controversial. Women are crying with either support for these longhaired dudes rocking sporty up-dos, or in agony and disbelief that this statement even exists. With the man braid blowing up on social media this month, I have to wonder why so many people are fascinated, and outraged by hair? Women push the boundaries of fashion every day. From boldly colored hairstyles, to Miley Cyrus bun-pigtails on the top of our heads, we get away with the outrageous, original and unique…but why do we get a clean runaway, yet the lovely men in our lives do not?

An industry corrupt with the idea that only females should be painted like canvases into the masterpieces they dream of. That men are expected to take pride in their primitive masculinity, and accept any insecurity they may face. But the industry is wrong.

Men have no room to challenge their fashion identity and appearance without it trending on twitter. It’s not acceptable for them to explore or experiment with make up, new hairstyles, or bold outfits. I had a friend the other day suggest to me something I hadn’t really thought of before. If a man were to wear cover up, foundation or concealer – they would instantly be judged under society’s stigma that makeup is a feminine product. These products were created to give women confidence, and to make them feel less insecure about their imperfections.

 Men face low self-esteem too.

What resources do they have to assist them on the struggles they too will face in figuring out how to be comfortable with themselves? It can be hard for anyone, to be comfortable in his or her own skin. The gender identity we’ve been socialized to conform to tells us men and women should play certain roles. But in our modern world, we’ve come a long way. Masculinity is becoming less about power, control and business, and we see the voice of women turning up to high volume. Gender equality feels, for the first time ever, like it could truly be a reality for us. The world is in the midst of a revolution, but there is still a very long way to go.

For centuries we’ve seen beauty campaigns fill our radios, televisions, and now laptop screens. Campaigns, that fill our hearts with empathy and tell us stories of young girls struggling to build healthy self-esteem. The truth is, men have far higher standards to fulfilling society’s expectations for their identity. Be strong, be tall, and grow your hair until it fits into a bun at the nape of your neck. The lumberjack look is sexy, but not on everyone. Do you have what it takes to be attractive? Because these days it feels like the standards of beauty have extended far further than just self-representation. Women have the freedom to experiment with style, and get away with it regardless of it being authentic or not. We put fashion models on runways wearing ‘boyfriend jeans’ and men’s plaid but we discourage, and laugh, about the idea of men’s lingerie.

First the Man Bun, then the Man Braid. As for the next hottest trend in men’s fashion: Man, do whatever the f*ck you want.

Featured image via Taryn Elliott on Pexels


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