We all know that women are often objectified, expected to look a certain way and act a certain way. As of late, online media content has focused on the female gender topic.
There has recently been another resurgence of the feminist movement. Online magazines are publishing more content that dispels gender stereotypes about women, Hollywood has produced a round of films with strong women protagonists and celebrities, and vocalists like Jennifer Lopez have produced reverse-gendered music videos, namely her new new music video for “I Luh Ya Papi.”
But what about the gender stereotypes surrounding men that we leave unaddressed? We focus on the pressures and expectations society places on women, but again, what about men?
Here is a list of things we need to stop assuming every man must have:
1. If he’s not the breadwinner, there is something wrong with him.
The “hunter gatherer” mentality that tells us men should provide for the home is an ancient concept. In fact, I would argue that the model no longer holds any weight.
Darwin explained evolution as part environmental and part genetic; animals have the ability to adapt genetically to environments.
As societies become more egalitarian, with men and women both taking part in all forms of work, sole male breadwinning is no longer necessary, expected or accepted.
The “hunter” identity we associate with men helps them thrive in social settings, but is not necessarily natural. Just because things have been a certain way for a period of time does not mean they come naturally.
Men are socialized to think they must provide for the home. This has become a universal concept that is more apparent in developing societies. The breadwinner family model is nothing more than a stereotype based on a history of human tradition.
2. If he’s not ripped, women don’t want him.
Why do men go to the gym to get “jacked?” Is it to attract women? To compete with other men? To be healthy? Yes, men have more natural muscle mass than women, but some of the heavy-lifting techniques are hard on the skeletal and muscular structures.
Plenty of women do not care if a man is “jacked” and some even find it unattractive if a man is too jacked. Men, we don’t just want you for your body; we want you for the whole package.
3. He needs to be “manly” to attract women and be accepted by his bros.
If doing the “manly” thing means drinking beer, wrestling a bear and liking football, then it seems pretty lame. Instead, manliness should be measured by maturity: having an organized life, being independent and respectful of others.
4. If he hasn’t slept with a lot of women, he’s a loser.
For some reason, it’s more acceptable for a man to sleep with more women than it is for a woman to sleep with a lot of men. There is no male equivalent for the word “whore” without putting the word “man” before it.
Coolness among many groups of male friends can be measured through “scoring.” If a man is not promiscuous or does not have “game,” he is often shamed.
5. If he likes “girl” books or chick flicks, he’s either gay or weird.
Have you ever noticed that when you try to get a guy to watch a romantic comedy with you, many of them flip out or are reluctant to do it?
It’s perfectly acceptable for a girl to like a shoot-em-up “guy” movie, but when the roles are reversed, many men do not care to associate with entertainment they believe is catered to women.
Both genders have expectations that cry for change. Rather than focusing on gender differences and expectations, perhaps we should seek to discover how the human community could evolve.
Just as racial discrimination affected (and continues to affect) stereotypes, gender discrimination feeds widely held generalizations — and we often exemplify them.
We should not fixate ourselves on past transgressions when working to create progress. It’s important not to forget the past, as we should work to learn from mistakes, but it should hold the center of our attention.
We humans are all obviously capable of the same things. We all deserve to get what we want, regardless of gender. In changing the way we think about gender, not shaming men or women who deviate from the socially constructed “norm” is the first step we must take to dispel gender expectations.
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