7 Things Women Are Expected To Justify In Their Friendships That Men Just Aren't
Your friends are the ones who accept you no matter what, right? Unfortunately, double standards between men and women don't stop when it comes to friendships. There are plenty of things women are expected to justify in friendships that men don't have to, thanks to the outdated gender norms that our culture applies to pretty much every possible situation in modern society.
When we think about male privilege, things like the gender pay gap and men interrupting women during work meetings often come to mind. But the thing is, male privilege is also apparent in everyday friendships and social interactions, not just in the workplace (although there are plenty of those, too). For instance, although research shows that men tend to swear less than women do, women tend to say "sorry" a whole lot more for unnecessary reasons and are generally socialized to be humble (not overly confident, which is often read as "being stuck-up") with their heads bowed down.
The more women are expected to behave in a certain way, the more likely it is that they'll experience sexist microaggressions and everyday misogyny. Gender discrimination is harmful for everyone in the end, and putting a stop to it in friendships is just as important as promoting gender equality in the workplace. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that women are almost always expected to justify that men get a pass for in friendships (FYI these can apply to friendships women and people of all genders):
Ever heard of a woman being called "catty?" That's how women are described when they gossip, share secrets, or are pitted against each other for whatever reason. This kind of sexist vocabulary normalizes the incorrect notion that women are out to get one another.
So when a woman makes the decision to be supportive and respectful of others by not passing on rumors or talking about people behind their backs, that's behavior that deserves to emulation, not rolling eyes. Also, just because a woman doesn't want to dish on everything she heard at a party doesn't make her a goody two-shoes.
2Going Out With A Bare Face
"I was running late." "I couldn't find my foundation brush." "The dog ate my foundation brush." No matter what, women shouldn't have to justify going out with friends sans makeup. Beauty and style are all about doing what feels good to you, and there's no need for your friends to raise their eyebrows if you decide to wear a full face of makeup during brunch one day and none the next. Ideally, if they're good friends, they won't judge you. Oh, and if you feel like wearing just lipstick and nothing else on any given day, that's of course OK, too. As the saying goes: You do you.
Traveling with your pals can be an unforgettable adventure, but so is traveling alone. Women who decide to go backpacking, touring the globe, or simply take on a long drive often have to justify why they want to be, well, alone. They're warned that it's too dangerous, that they'll get tired of being on their own, that they need their friends or significant other. That they're somehow "less capable" of traveling than men.
4Not Having A Strong Reaction
Emotion is a big part of double standards between guys and girls. Women are called an "emotional wreck" if they get upset about something, but in reality, it's totally normal to have, well, feelings. Additionally, women shouldn't have to feel like they're being horrible if they don't get emotional about a situation. We're not robots.
5Ordering Literally Anything
It doesn't matter if you pick a shrimp salad or a bison burger — you shouldn't have to explain any of your food orders when you go out with friends. Of course, if you're just looking for something to start the conversation, food is always a delicious topic. But as for what you eat, when you eat it? It's your choice!
The sexist hierarchical structure of our society looks something like this: Men lead, women follow. God forbid, a woman might actually (gasp) disagree with something their friends say, especially the ones who are guys. Women ought to be perfectly comfortable speaking their mind without getting worried that those in their inner social circles will be put off.
It seems as though whenever guys are sarcastic with their friends, they're seen as being "funny" or just "that guy who always jokes around." But when women display even a little bit of sarcasm, they're being "mean." As long as you're not hurting anybody or being overtly offensive, there's nothing wrong with getting a bit sassy.
So the next time you're with a female friend (or any woman in your life, really), give her the time and space to be herself. That's what friends are for, right?