I perceive females as having a lot of choice (to use Jenn's word) in how they will act, talk, dress, be. But males? It isn't so much their choice, as they are constantly told conflicting things: Be sensitive, it's OK to cry . . . don't be such a wimp! Be forward and pursuing . . . that man is harassing me and needs to be punished! Real men could be a nurse or a secretary . . there aren't any 'real' men working here!
From day one, boys get told that they must somehow earn and prove manhood . . but now, nothing really qualifies them, no matter what they do. Even posting something like this can get a guy accused of being less than manly, a whiner, a wimp (I know, I've been called such things). But, I don't hear anyone saying that girls will have to earn or prove that they are "real women". Pretty much, if they possess a vagina, they qualify. Everything after that is icing for them -- be a homemaker, or an iron worker . . . have a partner, or stay single . . . have children, or be childless . . . get formal education or just have common sense . . they never stop being women, and no one asks if they are "real". But men . . somehow are supposed to chase the elusive "real man" that everyone told them they should be . . but never really how. Men are always subject to not being "real", and women define that as much as anyone.