5 "Masculine" Things We Need To Stop Mocking

Due to the devaluation of women in our society, we tend to mock things that are considered feminine. But even though things that are associated with men and considered masculine tend to be taken more seriously, there are also some masculine things we need to stop mocking. Like the feminine things we mock, these are often based on gender stereotypes and limit people's ability to express themselves fully by stigmatizing certain traits.

A quick note: When I talk about masculine things, I am referring to things that are culturally considered masculine, not things that are innate to men. For example, there is nothing about sports that makes them exclusive to men, but since men are more often encouraged to participate in sports and taken more seriously in them, sports are often considered masculine. But that in of itself is a problem, because the division of things into masculine and feminine is at the root of all the gendered jokes we make at people's expenses. The traits we mock are often the ones people aren't "supposed" to possess because of their gender or the ones they are socialized to cultivate because of their gender.

Here are some masculine stereotypes that we need to stop mocking — and why we need to stop mocking them.

1. The Dumb Jock

People seem to have this idea that playing sports makes you less intelligent — for women as well but especially for men, who deal with the "dumb jock" stereotype. Sports require a lot of intelligence in of themselves, and just because somebody went to college on a sports scholarship doesn't mean he's not also smart enough to be there. Athletic ability and intelligence are not mutually exclusive.

2. The Bromance

It's considered normal for women to be close friends with one another, but when men are, they're mocked as having "bromances." This stigmatizes relationships that are necessary for people of all genders' happiness and well-being. The word also contains hints of homophobia because it's a word for a romance between men and has a negative connotation.

3. The Nerd

The "nerd" stereotype isn't exclusive to men, but since men are associated with math, science, gaming, and other "nerdy" things, a socially awkward man has come to embody the stereotype. When people are very passionate about a "nerdy" topic, they're assumed not to be desirable friends or romantic partners, and that's ridiculous. Intelligence and passion are positive traits.

4. The Punk/Metalhead

These are actually two different subcultures, but they face a lot of the same stereotypes: They're considered self-destructive rebels without causes who are a bad influence on others. And since these cultures are unfortunately very male-dominated, this is a stereotype often associated with men. But neither musical genre or style is inherently masculine, and they both have much deeper, more complex, more profound, and more political meanings than defiance for its own sake.

5. The Socially Inept Guy

Men are taught not to show emotions and aren't encouraged to socialize as much as women are, but when we see the natural result of this — men being emotionally bottled up or reclusive — we tend to mock it. This is especially problematic when it's associated with autism spectrum disorder — that is, people insulting men by saying they're "on the spectrum" — because that shouldn't be a negative thing. And neither should any item on this list.

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