Social Question

janbb's avatar

Is nagging considered basically a female trait and if so, why?

Asked by janbb (58720points) 1 month ago

As asked.

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25 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

In my opinion yes. I think because women generally are more concerned about safety and women do many more tasks than men at home, or did previously. People can nag about anything, but I think most of it is about domestic related issues. Anything from paying bills, filling the dishwasher “correctly,” not leaving dirty clothes on the floor, not driving too fast, not leaving food on the counter, and so on.

Women are nags and men are mules. It seems that’s the stereotypes.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Without a doubt. In their defense, women are more or less forced into the role, since men are basically pigs by comparison. Women are particularly endowed with an inexplicably powerful motivation concerning the feathering and order of the nest, and generally are unlikely to tolerate conflicting notions regarding this subject. And in every relationship that I’ve seen which has managed to weather the decades, it has always been the case that not only around the house, but with the relationship in general, the smart man understands exactly who is on the leash, despite any pretense to the contrary. No woman is satisfied with her man the way he is. Regardless of the compatibilities involved, there will be something that needs adjusting, and women will ALWAYS find it and readily let you know what it is—and persistently so. On the other hand, a smart man knows from experience the explosive risks to raising or contesting quirks he deems petty and unworthy of conflict. He might attempt to ignore the never ending list of his own shortcomings and flaws, but will almost certainly be ground down to compliance in the end. When people ask how my wife and I managed to get along for 40 years, I simply tell the truth— “I do as I’m told.”

kritiper's avatar

It is. But since it is a female trait, it is almost impossible to explain.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes because we have to ask them 50 times to do something, and men only have to ask us once, maybe with a reminder.

snowberry's avatar

My son was the worst nag ever when he was growing up. If he wanted somethng, he’d keep at you until during a moment of distraction or weakness, you let him have his way.

He’s married now, but I doubt he’s changed. It seems he’s also “refined” his skills. He loves, loves, loves debate. He simply seems to thrive on conflict. Nobody in the family likes to talk to him, and we’ve learned to shut him down when he starts.

snowberry's avatar

I’ll also add that when I was newly married, my husband seemed to want me to remind him to do stuff a lot. I’d ask, he’d promise, then forget about it. He actually asked me to keep “reminding” him. I finally stopped asking, because, as I told him then, “When you promise to do something, then forget about it, you’re lying. I’m not going to help you lie anymore.”

gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t think it has to be used exclusively with women, but reflecting back on when I’ve seen it used, it seems to be consistently used to describe women, and I guess, less commonly, with kids (e.g. “My son’s been nagging me to buy him a new bike.”). As to why? I suspect it’s cultural and goes back centuries, but that’s just a guess.

snowberry's avatar

Interesting story my mother-in-law told me. She said her husband would always leave his dirty underwear on the floor after he had changed. Everything else in the bedroom and bathroom was in order except for the dirty underwear (weird). This really distressed her, and she found that nagging didn’t work.

One day they had guests over and since they had recently completed the addition of a master bath and bedroom, she gave them a tour of the house, so of course, her husband was following along. When they got to the master bedroom, there was his dirty underwear on the floor.

Apparently that got her husband’s attention, for he never left his dirty underwear on the floor again. .

elbanditoroso's avatar

Wow, some female anger showing up here.

@Dutchess_III says that she has to ask 50 times for a guy to do something. Three questions:

- is a guy supposed to take everything a woman asks as an order and as gospel?
– is the rule to drop everything and do it at her behest, regardless of what he is doing or thinking?
– is a man not allowed to think for himself, analyze the situation, and then responmd accordingly?

Men aren’t automatons, nor are they mindless. Perhaps if the women were more attuned to how men feel about what they are being nagged about, and their autonomy as males, there would be less nagging necessary.

Perhaps nagging is a reaction to a perceived female loss of control? Men traditionally (although not as much any more) controlled just about everything in the family or the tribe – female nagging may have developed as a means of female control over something—meaning that this was a manifestation of an attempt to be powerful in a milieu where they were otherwise powerless.

There’s research to be done here. In households where there is a strong female (makes more money, has a more responsible job, a leadership professional), does the less strong male nag more? In other words is it a gender thing or a power thing to nag?

And what about lesbian and gay households? What’s the nagging dynamic there?

Final question – at one point does a nagging woman produce a henpecked spouse? henpecked

continually criticized and given orders by one’s wife or female partner (typically used of a man).
“his father, a henpecked husband, is petrified to raise a voice”

cookieman's avatar

I can be a nag sometimes and I’m a guy. Sounds like a stereotype.

Speaking of which…@Dutchess_III, if by “them” you mean “men”, it certainly isn’t all men. My wife doesn’t have to ask me at all — because by the time she thinks of something, I already did it. Usually a couple days ago.

chyna's avatar

That’s why I want to marry @cookieman when I grow up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@elbanditoroso its over months. Not right that instantant

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso But which gender is it who wants the control, or is it both? Woman typically run the household and so when the man is not conforming to what she wants then she has to ask multiple times. If the men won’t do what is asked specifically because she is nagging, then who is the one trying to exert control? Sometimes it is just a time thing, like her schedule in her head is different then his. He wants to do the tasks in a different order. Then it is a communication issue. They are not telling each other the plan in their own heads for getting things done.

I think the big problem comes when roles and responsibilities are not well defined, or when one of the people hates the tasks that are assigned to them. They just don’t want to do it. I think that is where a lot of couples fail. If someone hates doing something, then stop asking them to do it if it is possible. Shift some responsibilities around.

One of the things I remember being told to us women is when your husband comes home don’t talk about all the things that need to get done when they first walk in the door. Their new girlfriend would never do that, because brand new relationships don’t have bills and remembering to pick up pool chlorine, and other tedious obligations. I think both genders want that though. It makes me so happy when I walk into the house and my husband greets me with a happy voice and happy to see me and no questions.

The other thing I remember being told is men want to feel good about themselves (so do women for that matter) and I think nagging feels like we are being told we are not good enough or doing something wrong, and men especially seem intolerant to that. My husband HATES to be wrong in a way that I did not realize until the last ten years.

If I had to guess, I think my husband would say he feels the most nagged in the car when he is driving.

rebbel's avatar

Nope, it’s sexist as fuck.
I’ll tell you, it’s sexist.
Sexist, I say.
For the people in the back: sexist af.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie The driving analogy perfectly illustrates my views in this question, which is why any traveling involving the 2 of us will find my wife behind the wheel until or unless she is exhausted to the point of collapse. Otherwise, there can be no peace in the front seats of whichever vehicle involved. The wife is (to put it politely) a cautious driver whose approach to motoring is to leave an hour early to arrive at a destination I consider 20 minutes distant. I just will not drive slow enough for her to judge it reasonable. I pride myself on my ability to sit in that passenger seat and watch as the cars,trucks , bicycles whiz past us. Multi lane streets are of no use to her. She will sit behind a line of vehicles a mile long, ignoring the empty lane to her left, while I keep my mouth shut. My normal behavior is to fall asleep as quickly as possible, which would irritate her just slightly less than comments on her driving. But she has grown to accept the “truce”, with me driving us both only in matters of urgency.

jca2's avatar

@stanleybmanly: For that, I give you credit for not saying anything. I would have a hard time sitting with a timid driver and not saying anything. I’m also not one who wants to arrive a half hour early and wait around for something to start.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly Oh gosh. You get credit from me too. I couldn’t do it. I don’t think I could leave so early and arrive so early and be so patient.

I’ve offered to drive more. The reason I want to drive more is so he can see what it is like to be a passenger. I am the driver once in a blue moon, but it’s usually a very short trip, like 15 minutes because I picked him up, or something like that.

My husband’s driving for the most part is fine, and we can drive for five hours without me saying a word and then something will happen that I “backseat drive” for a moment and to him I’m constantly criticizing his driving. It feels to me like he’s not happy with me in many ways if I’m honest. That type of reaction when a spouse over focuses on things to be angry about is usually really not very good at all, but maybe I’m being paranoid.

Here’s some of the things he does in the car that winds up being a problem. He looks down at the radio on a curvy road. He doesn’t slow a little before a curve. He doesn’t start braking soon enough sometimes so I don’t know if he saw the stop sign, red light, warning sign to go much slower than we are for the ramp, other cars brake lights, and you get the drift. I can’t read his mind. If he doesn’t lift off the gas soon enough I don’t know he saw the need to brake.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I used to go out with a guy who was a terrible driver (in my opinion). He would change lanes without signaling and stuff like that. It was really scary.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

As my Old Pappy would have said, never touch a question like that with a ten foot pole. Wise man, my Old Pappy.

sorry's avatar

I believe when it is done by a male it is called ‘being a manager’... and when it is done by a woman it is called ‘nagging’.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Thankfully, most of the time his driving is fine. We just drove over 3 hours to West Palm Beach and no problems. He even set cruise control at the speed limit, and I don’t even mind if he drives a little faster on the highways here, but he said he didn’t want to worry about police. He does that a lot.

Oh, the only annoyance was I questioned why he chose the parking spot far from the store entrance at IKEA (we stopped there for an hour) when it was already drizzling. He did get annoyed for a moment, but it wasn’t a big deal.

For some reason my husband was extremely kind, happy, and helpful today. Not sure what happened. Ha!

ucancallme_Al's avatar

Of course it is, you know that already!
The history of the matriarch in modern culture.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’ve been thinking more about it, and when males exhibit the same behavior, it’s often labeled as “harassing,” “hassling” or even “pestering.” I have no idea why this is.

Dutchess_III's avatar


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