The above is a comment from reddit. This is a common mistake among the men’s rights movement, that there is something wrong with women dictating what a “real man” is. The truth is that each gender has its own standards for determining whether a person of the oppose sex is “relationship material” or “marriage material”.
Since from a relationship perspective, a man’s worth is as much about things outside of himself (success, charisma) as it is about innate qualities, women’s standards are going to be extremely fluid and seemingly arbitrary, since what women seek in a man is success, and success can come in all kinds of garbs. In an African tribe, a real man is any man who is successful within that specific environment, who is best capable of defending and providing for himself, his women and his children.
In a Western society, a real man is the same; the man who is most capable of defending and providing for himself, his women and his children. But since the environment is different, the requirements are different.
So there is nothing actually arbitrary about a woman’s standards. She cares about success and uses various heuristics to find out a man’s level of success. If she meets a man who is not very wealthy, but who has great charisma, good manners and sensitivity, then she will consider him a real man. If she finds another man who has $50 million dollars in the bank, but who is somewhat rude and selfish, she will consider him too a real man, even though she wouldn’t accept this type of behavior from the previous (less wealthy) man.
Perhaps 3/4 of a man’s worth depends on his capacity to protect and provide. His looks and other innate qualities (manners, kindness) determine the remaining quarter of his worth.
When it comes to judging whether a woman is a “real woman”, which I will interpret as “marriage material”, men too have their own criteria which may seem arbitrary to females. Men do not care about her wealth and success, these are just the icing on the cake, while when it comes to a man’s worth, his wealth and success is most of the cake.
A woman’s quality is judged based on her beauty, youth and loyalty, the qualities necessary for ensuring successful long-term relationships and healthy, high-quality children.
A man’s quality, too, is judged based on his wealth and success for the same reason, to ensure a successful long-term relationship and healthy, high-quality children.
So, in reality, both genders have the privilege of determining which specimens of the other gender are worthy when it comes to marriage and reproduction and which ones are not. This is called sexual selection, and it is essential for the survival of all sexually-reproducing species. There needs to be a mechanism by which a woman can differentiate between multiple male suitors and choose the best one among them and discard the worst ones, and there needs to be a similar mechanism for men.
I explain in further detail men’s preference for youth and lack of sexual experience in my essays The Most Desirable Women for Marriage are in their Early Twenties and Sexually Inexperienced and Why do traditional societies care so much about a woman’s virginity?