There are a lot of myths out there about women: We can’t do math, we’re all just trying to land a husband, we’re constantly having pillow fights, and once a month, we become chocolate-pounding rage monsters who put the whole office at risk for bears. The thing about restrictive gender stereotypes, though, is they cut both ways — our male brethren are also subjected to unfair assumptions. One Reddit thread sought to dispel some of these by asking the men of Reddit to share which myths about men are completely untrue, and infuriate them the most.
Listen, I am no innocent here. Though I was taught early on that media present a two-dimensional, incomplete picture of womanhood, it wasn’t until much later that I began questioning some of my assumptions about men. My belief that men want women to play “hard to get” led me to spend most of high school sprinting out of the room whenever a guy I liked walked in, and then cruelly berating him if he ever managed to catch up with me. You know, flirting!
The truth is, though, just a sexually frustrated girl who once told her crush to “dig a hole and die” and then was shocked that he didn’t immediately make out with me, I was engaging in the same kind of reductionist thought process I had been taught to criticize — I was responding to society’s idea of a person, not the actual person in front of me.
There is a difference, of course, between men being misunderstood and the centuries of economic and social repression of women, but the only way to move forward is to recognize our assumptions about each other, and then put them aside so we can truly see the person in front us, who they are beneath their gender, race, creed, or sexuality.
In light of that, here are some of the myths we should finally retire about guys, according to the men of Reddit.
"Men want a woman to play hard-to-get."
As I mentioned earlier, this one took me a while to figure out.
"Straight men can't be feminine/gay men can't be masculine."
THIS. THIS. THIS. Can we stick this up in every school/office/government building/bar? Thanks.
"Men only talk to women for sex."
Admittedly, this post is problematic because women don't owe anyone a conversation, or even a "Hello."
But, believing that men only want to talk to women to get laid reinforces another harmful stereotype, which is...
"Men are constantly thinking about sex."
The idea that men are constantly consumed by thoughts of sex can be damaging to guys who are led to believe they are somehow "less than" because they manage to put their sexual fantasies on the back burner long enough to like, hold down a job or talk to someone without wondering what they would be like in bed.
This concept can also put a huge strain on relationships if a man's partner thinks that he's not attracted to them just because he's not ready to go at the drop of a hat.
And to believe men want to have sex all the time leads to another inaccurate conclusion...
"Men are shallow."
Again, men are more than just sex robots.
"Men aren't/don't want to be caregivers."
The idea that dads are the back-up parent is damaging to men, women, and children.
"Men don't like cuddling."
Everyone wants to be little spooned. Every. One.
"Men are unemotional."
Quick note that to "come off as gay" is not a bad thing (and that the toxic "real man" narrative is exactly what this post was initially meant to break down in the first place), but he does make an important point that more space needs to be made to allow men to express their emotions.
"All men love sports."
I mean, come on. Still with this?
"Men don't get insecure about their appearance."
Though society does not put the same pressure on men to look a certain way as it does on women, men also face harsh judgment and expectations about their appearance.
Also, how does anyone still think it's OK to comment on anyone's appearance? As long as you managed to make it out of the house mostly clothed, good for you!
"Men can't be abused."
Although the majority of domestic abuse victims are women, men can be victims as well. Male victims of domestic abuse face unique challenges, like a shortage of resources, skepticism from police, and significant legal obstacles.
All in all, it seems about time we pack away our out-of-date gender stereotypes back in some attic somewhere to collect dust, and make room for every person, regardless of their gender, to be whoever they want to be.