What Are the Traditional Gender Roles of Men?

The traditional gender roles of men are based on the themes of strength, honor and action, according to licensed psychologist Will Meek, PhD. Such gender roles culturally encourage men to take certain actions while refraining from others.

The characteristics of strength in the gender roles of men are self-reliance, rationality, emotional toughness and courage. The characteristics of honor are responsibility, duty, loyalty, selflessness, integrity and compassion. The characteristics of action are risk-taking, ambition, competitiveness, volition and agency.

These characteristics affect male gender role expectations. Men are encouraged to show toughness and to always be in control. Correspondingly, they are discouraged from showing emotion by crying or displaying other signs that could be perceived as weakness. Expectations for attitudes of males are to hold work in high esteem and to expect women to serve as the primary caregiver to any children in the family. Men are discouraged from the desire to be a stay-at-home dad or to be comfortable with their wives earning more money than them, because this is outside of the traditional gender roles.

Collectively, these characteristics, themes and expectations are part of the two primary traditional gender roles of men: to be a provider who is able to secure necessary resources for his family, and to be a protector who is able to defend his family and his home.