Last week my boyfriend and I were talking about our high school selves. You know, what we were like as teenagers during some of our most formative and most, decidedly, awkward years. We started talking about insecurities we had, and then I asked, “Wait, what do teen boys feel insecure about?” As someone who was a teen girl myself, I’m all too familiar with the ups and downs of teen girldom that I experienced IRL and also see depicted in everything from TV shows, to movies, to dope enamel pins, to Twitter statuses, to Instagram posts, and music videos. Teen girl insecurity is a pretty common theme, but it’s also incredibly fetishized; sad girls who don’t feel entirely comfortable in their bodies, in the real world, are seen as cute and endearing.
Teen boys? Not so much. I mean, teen boys’ adventures in awkward adolescence usually aim for laughs in pop culture with very minimal angst; definitely nothing about crying. So I listened with rapt attention when my boyfriend talked about the things he was insecure about, especially when he mentioned body insecurity. That’s a subject that, understandably (LOL, thanks, sexism) is dominated by perspectives from women, but men experienced anxiety about their bodies and societal expectations too.
The truth is that boys are insecure AF about a lot of things, including some things you’re probably insecure about too. You just never really thought about it…until now. Check out these nine things you had no idea teen boys were insecure about. Hey, maybe it’s time to lay off the short jokes you lay on that one guy friend of yours.
Sex, Or A Lack ThereofDudes in high school really aren't having as much sex as they claim to, or the way you might think they do. Period. They're not getting any most of the time, and they're feeling insecure AF about the fact that our society implores them that they SHOULD be getting some if they're a man with any shred of worth. The world needs to let guys be sexless in peace TBH. American Pie
ZitsAs we know, dudes get zits too. But unlike girls, it's not socially acceptable for them to cover them up with makeup, and you won't see many dudes going out of their way to cop some good face masks either. In fact, skincare is incredibly gendered, and men who venture into its waters might be derided as girly. So, imagine living in a society where you're expected to uphold this certain level of masculinity, to the point that doing something about your face full of acne is frowned upon. They need to stop using their body wash as soap and get some good acne treatments without shame. Gravity Falls
Not Being Able To Grow Body Or Facial Hair ProperlyEspecially facial hair, since people will notice your struggle mustache a lot better than your sparse chest hair. It's less about wanting to necessarily rock facial hair, and more about the lack of ability to do so...even if you don't even want to rock a sexy five o'clock shadow. That '70s Show
Losing Their HairYou know how the dudes in Grease would always make such a big to do about combing their hair? Well, your classmates might not have too much longer to enjoy that themselves! Some guys start losing their hair as early as their late teens, and trust...they're insecure AF about it. They'll get over it eventually--I know a lot of guys right now in their twenties who have accepted their baldness--but don't push them there. If you notice your guy friend getting a little bald spot, he probably already knows and is dreading the next several years. Don't rub it in. You wouldn't want to go bald against your will, would you? Grease
Being SkinnyWhile skinniness is, unfortunately, seen as a holy grail of hotness for girls, it's definitely not for a lot of guys. I admit, I used to joke around about my male friends' scrawniness a ton when I was a teenager, and I had no idea how sensitive that actually made them. While women are chasing after a snatched waist, a lot of dudes long for some muscle definition. Freaks and Geeks
Being ShortThis might seem pretty obvious, but it's worth mentioning regardless. Your short male friends might have developed a sense of humor about their small stature, but that doesn't mean they're going to be okay with you joking about it. Please...don't clown on your short male friend too much. Men who are shorter than average end up with enough complexes...maybe we should lay it easy on them. I say this as a tall girl who has clowned men for being short before. Sorry, boys! The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Being PaleWell, I suppose this mainly applies to white dudes, but my boyfriend mentioned that being pale was something he was super insecure about as a teen. As someone who is black, I certainly can't relate to that regardless of my gender. Not to mention the fact that, across cultures and through history, paleness has been considered ideal and often signified higher status. Being dark? Not so much. Having darker skin could signify everything from being of a "lower" race to performing manual labor (you know, working outside a lot with the sun bearing down on you...you're gonna tan). Despite the popularity of tanning in western countries, we still live in a world where people buy skincare products with bleaching agents in them to make them lighter, so, yeah, light is still in. But guess what? You can still get hurt feelings about being made fun of for the way you look, period. So even if pale people aren't oppressed because of their paleness, you don't want to be the a-hole who jokes about their skin. Just...don't be that person. The Inbetweeners
Being NakedFor some reason, I thought that dudes were really comfortable being naked around each other. Pop culture sort of always makes men's nudity into some joke, so I figured that translated IRL. Turns out, eh, not so much. Plenty of men are just as uncomfortable with stripping down in front of people as girls are. Skins
MasculinityOkay, I could write a whole essay about this, but here's the quick and dirty: Men are socialized to adhere to standards of masculinity, period, and they're rigid AF. It's actually really sad, the limits that are placed on men in the most bizarre, inhuman ways. Like, a dude can't even cry--even as a child!--without being told to man up or to stop being a "pussy." It's no wonder so many deal with all this pent up rage that they don't know what to do with. Dope
Do any of these things surprise you? Do you think boys should be more open about their insecurities? Tell us in the comments!