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Unofficial_Member's avatar

Do you think when people say men are supposed to have certain qualities they mean the other way around for women?

Asked by Unofficial_Member (5094points) August 9th, 2018

I remember what my aunt repeatedly said to my little cousin in the past when he was crying. “Are you a man or not?”, which I think is an odd way to calm one’s child. That is, of course, not the only gender normative phrases I’ve witnessed in the past. I have also heard “Men don’t go back on their own words”, “Be a man!” (Often said to a man when he is afraid to do something), “As a man you’re the head of the family”, “As a man you have to…”, etc.

When people said those things do you personally think that they mean it’s the contrary/okay for women to not have such quality? Do they believe that it’s an acceptable norm for women to cry, tell lies/not fulfilling promise, not do something they’re afraid of, etc? How would you feel when these things are done to you or your family members? Have you ever said such things yourself?

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23 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think they are necessarily saying it’s the other way around for women.

I think in the case of a man’s word, I think it harkens back to when women had no power, couldn’t own property, couldn’t make business deals, so men were addressed as the one giving their word. I think just like man and men can mean all people, this old saying about a man’s word can easily be changed to a person’s word.

Are you a man or not? Well, yes, it is more acceptable for women to cry, but it’s more situational than anything. A woman at work can’t cry just like a man in many situations or it looks bad. Men can cry when it comes to emotional sadness or happiness regarding family and tragic events, and it’s fine. No one is going to look down on a man who tears up when seeing his child accomplish something great, or cry when he loses his wife to a tragedy. Men traditionally had the responsibility of showing physical strength, and ability to earn a living, and were in roles that have an expectation of acting “like a man.” Of course, this is all changing in modern day. The doors are more mixed up now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is a very interesting question. It’s something I’ve never really thought of.
“Real men don’t cry, whereas women are actually expected to shed cute little tears of helplessness.
“A real man keeps his word.” I’ve never heard that applied specially to women, but I’m pretty sure most of us (women) understand that it’s important.
“Oh, he’s just sowing his wild oats. No big deal.” Well, you know what happens to women when they go around getting their field fertilized with wild oats, helter skelter.

It think the lines are becoming more blurred but the cultural expectations are still there.

LadyMarissa's avatar

When most of those phrases were originated, YES the were meant the way they sound as back then, women were supposed to be frail & helpless & the man was supposed to protect them!!! Over the years, times have changed & women have learned to take care of themselves. Sadly, old sayings die hard & it’s harder to get rid of the old sayings than it is to get rid of old traditions!!!

kritiper's avatar

No. No other meaning(s) for the opposite sex should be expressed or implied.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But apparently women don’t have to be told things like, “A real woman keeps her promises,” and you never hear, “She’s a woman of her words.” I wonder why that is?

kritiper's avatar

I always thought that women were more civilized than men, by nature. Almost instinctive…
Just my POV…

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am no longer sure of that. Now that we’ve lifted the cultural insistence for women to behave like ladies, I’m seeing more and more behavior that I would consider uncivilized from women. Yesterday, for example, some lady was parked in front of the house across the street screaming out of her car window, and every other word was “FUCK.” I got the impression she was angry about someone she thought was driving too fast. She ranted for 5 minutes, screaming and screaming.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Those notions are dying away fast as the harsh realities of today’s existence are driven home. Gender based stereotypes appear ever more silly as even gender itself becomes tough to nail down. That thing about men as breadwinners is a joke, as the entire household nowadays is engaged with the wolf at the door, and there isn’t time to even notice men dressed in skirts or weightlifters crying like little girls, particularly when ever more of them ARE little girls.

rebbel's avatar

It’s my party, and I cry if I want to.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Overall, I think blurring the gender lines is fine…but to me it means too many men now a days are willing to say to their exes, “You and the kids are on your own!” And then they disappear.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think that’s always been true of some men – not sure if it’s that different now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, there have always been men who absconded their responsibilities, but it seems like it’s just become the norm any more. I think it’s more prevalent than it used to be.

janbb's avatar

^^ Could be.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But….then again, it’s only been in the last 50 years or so that women making an actual living, enough to support their own household, has become a thing.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Dutchess III I think it’s more accurate to think of women as being forced into the workplace to make ends meet. And I would think it much more difficult for men today to abandon their families unless they exist as straight up outlaws. States have gotten really good at running those guys to ground in order to keep their dependents off the state doles.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My ex did it. Didn’t seem too hard for him. He just left the state and moved 2000 miles away. Just left us destitute.

And I think that in the 60’s, as more and more women started entering the workforce and fewer and fewer wanted to “settle” for being a stay at home Mom (I was willing to do it, though, but we could also afford it) that’s when women started to realize they didn’t need a man to take care of them.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The 2 trends intersected. The need for 2 (or more) incomes coincided with taboos against gender discrimination. Things have shifted considerably since the 60s regarding deabeat dads. The state and Federal governments have rendered it damned near impossible for a guy to hold any square job without him being found out and bled appropriately. He can’t own property, have a bank account or any other fungible asset that is immune from seizure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, many men have managed to find a way.

stanleybmanly's avatar

In the past. Today, even if you could not collect a dime, you would be allowed the luxury of relishing the man’s assured misery at the hands of the state.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well. As recently as 1995. The SRS did kind of track him down in Seattle, when he got busted for claiming my oldest daughter as a dependent so he could get welfare…and she wasn’t living with him. That’s when they discovered he owed me $28,000. I only ever saw about $5,000 of it after that, though.

janbb's avatar

Kind of derailed the question now.

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