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Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Is there a female equivalent to the "Man Child" I hear so much about?

Asked by Imadethisupwithnoforethought (14676points) August 22nd, 2012

I often hear men described as “man child“s or women saying that men need to “Man Up”. What is the female equivalent of this? Does it exist? Are women automatically real women upon breast development or menstruation, and have no further qualifications to prove that they are adult women?

Are there any qualifications at all to being a woman?

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24 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

XX chromosomes?

fundevogel's avatar

I don’t think those sorts of pressures are couched in gender for women the way they are for men. Masculinity has all sorts of associations with self-reliance, strength, ambition and responsibility that, lets face it, aren’t conjured up by the word “feminine”.

That certainly doesn’t mean women don’t face those issues, but publicly those issues have not been linked with the concept of “womanhood” as they have with “being a man”. I think that’s why there is not a ready equivalent of “man child” or “man up” for women. Though I use the phrase “man up” without regard to gender. It’s like a pair of pants. It may have been designed for a man , but but a woman can wear them just the same.

Pandora's avatar

For women it is worse. Any time a women is thought to be slightly childish or irrational, than it has to be that she is either a bitch or pm’sing or simply immature. This is a description to all females to put them down. But I have known women who are often referred to as little girls.
The closest equivalent to man up for a woman I suppose is take it like a man.
It doesn’t come with the cycle. A woman isn’t considered a woman unless she can do all that is expected of her and be soft but not emotional and be as strong as a man when necessary. I don’t mean physical sense, but more emotional and supportive.
Oh, wait, women have been told to grow a pair or doormat, which would be the equivalent of man up.

Coloma's avatar

Sure there is, there is always an equal and an opposite to everything. A “girl child” would be an emotionally immature and childish woman who uses her coyness, seductive powers and manipulgtive behaviors to get what she wants, under the constant threat of going emo on you if you don’t meet her bottomless pit of needs. Gah!

I AM a woman, and personally, I don’t know how some men can put up with many womens emotional issues. Of course, I am a rare, rational thinking female personality, not driven by emotions, and feeeeelings. Feeeelings are NOT FACTS! haha
I am more driven by rational logic although I am very well integrated and have no trouble expressing my emotional side, just not in a sloppy, splattering sort of way.

I love my girlfriends but have let go of several emotionally high maintenance female friends over the years.
I don’t do hysteria, hypersensitivity and walking on eggshells with emotionally unstable females, at all.

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma I agree. I also can’t take the overly sensitive, emotional female who lives for theatrics.
But labels don’t just stop at them. Often times females are viewed emotional no matter what, simply because they bleed once a month. The moment you disagree strongly about something, you are labeled emotional or bitchy and probably pmsing or menopausal.

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora I totally agree that women often get a bad rap for their softer side, I just hate manipulative PEOPLE in general. Being a direct and honest type I can sniff out manipulative behaviors a mile away and feel ashamed that some women give ALlLwomen a bad reputation via their over emotive styles at times. haha, we both agreed at the the same time. Synchronized agreement. :-)

Pandora's avatar

So we must not be on our cycles. LOL

Coloma's avatar


I used to have a friend that was SO, incredibly, hypersensitive to everything, all the time.
Once I had her try a shade of lipstick I had bought and told her, sincerely, that I liked the brighter color on her. She flipped out and accused me of ” criticizing her makeup.” OMG! This same woman would just automatically go into her ” helpless waif” routine anytime she wanted extra male attention.

Once we were at a function and when parking there was a dead cat in the gutter. Sad, yes, unpleasant to notice, but she went nuts, going into this huge emotional blowout about how she just couldn’t get out of the car!
Jesus, just GET OUT and don’t LOOK at the poor thing! I wanted to strangle her!

YARNLADY's avatar

Baby doll?

Pandora's avatar

LOL @Coloma, I have got some beautiful tales of emotional women, that I have to tell you some day. I know what you mean about wanting to strangle them. I’m way better in writing to them but in person I freeze up the same way guys do. I grew up with 3 brothers so I wasn’t exactly the dainty type, so I never did understand it. Closest I came to being insane emotional was during my first pregnancy. After it was over and I thought about how I acted, I couldn’t apologize to my husband enough for putting up with me and not murdering me in my sleep. I was a complete wack job. I mean I really wasn’t in my right mind.
Ah, another name for women wack job.

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora Well, my ex husband brought out my “hysterical” side a few times, it was humiliating, to say the least. But moments are not ingrained, hardcore, patternistic behaviors. Of course us girls have our hormones and PMS and pregnancy is a challenge, but my god, some women are just looney tunes all the time. haha

woodcutter's avatar

You are describing the eternal search of the perfect woman of some of those middle eastern men. The one’s who prefer them to be uninformed and cherry. Some are willing to die just to get a whiff of 72 of them. Sounds more like hell to me, but thats just me.

Sunny2's avatar

A lot of women are called, “Baby.” Some of them talk baby talk and think it’s cute. They may be helpless about money matters. They may get convenient headaches to avoid things they don’t wish to do, and I’m not talking just about sex. They may be the equivalent of a “man child.”

tinyfaery's avatar

A man child is just a boy who doesn’t want to grow up. A girl can fit this category; though, woman child is not as catchy.

Haleth's avatar

In movie/tv terms, maybe the manic pixie dream girl?

They’re seen differently because society has different expectations of men and women, but both have youthful qualities that put them outside the mainstream. In romcoms, it seems like the man child is either portrayed as someone who needs to be fixed by a woman who has her life in order (as in Knocked Up) or a wacky sidekick who gets in the way of a couple (You, Me & Dupree; Ted). A MPDG usually redeems a mopey male protagonist with her fun, spontaneous attitude, but doesn’t have many goals or desires of her own.

In tv and movies, the man-child can exist as an entity of his own. He has goals and desires and a love interest is secondary, even if society doesn’t really approve of him. A MPDG is more accepted by society- who doesn’t like a cute, fun, quirky girl?- but she’s all about the love interest.

The reason there are so many man-child guys in pop culture is because of their big, fun personalities. People still judge men on things like money and power, but confidence is at the root of both of those. It’s easy for a guy to be confident if he’s born into money and power. If he he has the same confidence even though he’s unemployed and living on someone’s couch, that dude must really have a set of brass balls.

In real life, you have to cooperate with other people and make responsible, unfun decisions. We don’t like man children for their immaturity, but because they just don’t give a fuck. For men who have responsibilities or aren’t very confident, it’s sort of an escapist fantasy. (Because confidence= power, so you can never have enough.) Most movie & tv writers, directors, execs, etc. are men, so we see a lot more escapist fantasies from the male perspective.

For women, for the longest time, finding the right guy was the only route to power and security. So when we see escapist fantisies from a woman’s perspective, it’s still usually centered around some guy. Like, uh, Twilight. That sells the fantasy that you can be bland and boring but some tall guy with a chiseled face will sweep you off your feet.

So if you’ve stuck with that long, convoluted explanation, Bella Swan is the lady version of the man-child.

ucme's avatar

Is it empty headed bimbo?

Shippy's avatar

Most of the time I am a woman, whatever that means. In my mind, it would mean adult, reacting like an adult, being comfortable, and processing well , adult information. Being able to respond in an emotionally mature way. Relating to and being comfortable with the requirements too, of being an adult. At times when I feel vulnerable I can feel my child appear. I am not sure I know many people polarized to their child, and many women who are over “feminine” can have a childlike quality about them. It’s an interesting question really. I’m finding it hard to answer!

JLeslie's avatar

I would say a woman who is a spoiled, selfish, whiny, brat is probably the equivalent. Or, maybe it is a woman who seems emotionally unstable, moody, hysterical?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Haleth I wouldn’t think so. The man-child is usually his own person, whereas about 90% of the issues with the MPDG are that she’s not really her own person with her own issues and growth but rather a vehicle for our Male Lead to grow.

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought There isn’t really a female equivalent to the “man-child” because women are already supposed to be a little bit more like children. That’s why we need all these laws in place, making sure there’s a (presumably male) doctor helping us making big life decisions, protecting us from ourselves. We also need a good man to help us be responsible, otherwise we might just spend all the money at the mall and never balance the checkbook. The man-child is a deviant, he is childish despite his gender; women simply are a bit childish already, so they are simply existing in their natural state.

The “man-child” is also yet another way for it to be the responsibility of women to do housework and parenting. He’s such a child, he can’t even do his own laundry, or clean the dishes properly, or remember to put a lid on the blender before making smoothies, or even do more than “babysit” his own kids – don’t you see, ladies? If you don’t do the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, the child-rearing, it’ll just never get done properly, and then where would we be?

wk143sk's avatar

Male = Man-child
Female= Bitch, crabby, snotty, PMSing, just being “emotional,” need’s to get laid, and my absolute favorite… Sensitive.

Men have it easy and should thank God every night they were able to get through that day without being killed or mauled by one. I am a woman and there’s so much crap that men use to stereotype women that are either not true, or not true for all. Just about every stereotype out there about guys are true because half of them confirm the fact that they’re all dogs who just really want to get laid, and if the man is single, every nice gesture he has made to a woman is for the soul purpose of getting in their pants.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Believe in oversimplification, do we?

(the sole purpose…)

wk143sk's avatar

^^ Oversimplification? Men aren’t simple at ALL. Men are so confusing, they don’t even know half the shit they should know about themselves and the way they act the way they do. My husband is all into that John Gray “men are from mars. women from Venus” stuff, and while i don’t like it, I do have to say that a lot of his theories are correct.

gailcalled's avatar

@wk143sk” __Just about every stereotype out there about guys are true because half of them confirm the fact that they’re all dogs who just really want to get laid, and if the man is single, every nice gesture he has made to a woman is for the soul purpose of getting in their pants._

I am quoting you, correct? Who said that the fact you mention is really a fact?

Who provided the data that half of all guys confirm that fact?

Do you see any problem with your choice of words?

kitszu's avatar

To me the “man-child” is the spoiled prince. His female equivilent? The “damsel in distress”. She is the grown “woman” who still seems to constantly need saving from something. The women reading this know exactly what kind of female I’m talking about.

Is a boy an man because his penis gets hard? No more so than a girl is a woman because she has breasts and she bleeds.

“Man”, “Woman”, these are titles earned only by strength of character.

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