Sep 25, 2014

Alright Ladies, Let's Man Up - 7 Stereotypes We Should Let Go

So I read somewhere that our very language is indicative of our gender stereotypes.  Being gutsy or bold is "manly" or "macho."  Being whiny or a wimp is described as "girly" or "like a girl."  And I was on board the indignation train.

But then I read a few posts by other ladies and thought, "Huh.  We kind of do this to ourselves."

I've read several women mention going on dates "for the free food."  A-what?  That is both a jerk move and the fact that you're still expecting a man to court you and pay for all your activities while you're on a date is... uh... well, "girly."  It's a gender prejudice, just like unequal pay, or the old-fashioned mindset that "women should be housewives" but we (as women) seem to be ok with this one.

Why?  Because it benefits women?  Because we want men to be manly and take care of us?

A dating blog that I initially enjoyed has made just a few too many unkind criticisms of dating prospects.  It really bothered me that the mindset here was "these guys are all weirdos."  Um, maybe you're just not compatible.  Those things sounded awkward, sure, but it doesn't sound to me like it was all the man's fault.

I'm hearing far too little willingness to take responsibility for our actions and far too much entitlement about what men are expected to provide to women.  And if this is the way we treat men, is it any surprise that they would respond in kind?  If we box them in a stoic little package that isn't allowed to be a stay-at-home parent, have emotions, and must pay all the time is it any surprise that we associate words like "manly" and "macho" with those things?

I feel like women are trying to, and succeeding at, escaping their own box to pursue their passions and desires regardless of gender expectations.  And awareness and acceptance are gradually spreading.  But we're doing men a disservice by not allowing them to do the same.

7 Stereotypes We Should Let Go

  1. Men can't cry
  2. Women can't be strong
  3. Men aren't good at household chores
  4. Women aren't good at math
  5. Men shouldn't stay home with the kids
  6. Women shouldn't make more money than their husbands
  7. That any individual's behavior can be explained by attributing that trait to the entirety of that gender
Our language reflects our perceptions and opinions as a society.  So if you want "feminine" or "girly" to not be a total exclusion of traits like toughness, or career success, then go out and be the example of feminine or girly you think everyone should associate with the word.  The principle of inertia states that nothing changes without an outside force to influence it.  Be that force.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Ghandi

In what ways do you defy gender stereotypes?  What stereotypes bother you the most?

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