General Question

Dansedescygnes's avatar

Do you ever feel pressure to "be a man" or "be a woman"?

Asked by Dansedescygnes (2881points) May 27th, 2009

And in what way does it happen to you in your daily life?

One thing I hate being told is to “be a man” or “man up” or something like that. It’s so often said in an assholish way. I for one don’t really care how feminine I am; it’s just the way I am.

But I will admit that sometimes I do feel like I come off as “weak” or “feminine” and that people will look down on me for that. I’m not here to please anybody or anything, but it is something that will occasionally bother me. Especially when I’m around people who more “manly” than I am.

Oh hell, when I’m around STRAIGHT guys. There; I said it.

ALSO: Don’t mind the avatar; I’m just trying out something new. :)

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46 Answers

MrGV's avatar

When I tell someone to man up I am trying to tell them to stop crying and whining about their problems and do something to fix it instead of sitting around doing nothing.

Being feminine doesn’t mean you’re weak unless you believe you are weak.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


Just know that yes, your comment made me think of this question, but I wasn’t necessarily referring to it in my question’s text. This is a question I’ve asked on every site I’ve been on. It’s one of my trademarks.

loser's avatar

I think it’s very rude to tell someone how to be. If they don’t like you, they can go away. You’re okay just the way you are.

casheroo's avatar

I’ve never heard anyone say “be a woman” ever. I’m pretty feminine, so I get a lot of eye rolls from my family because I like to ride that gravy train.

I do hate when I find myself telling my son “big boys don’t cry” because I don’t want him to ever feel that he can’t express his emotions. Men seem to surpress their emotions, and I think that’s really unhealthy.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


Well, that’s good, really. I remember asking my friend Rory if he felt pressured to “be a man” and he said “no, not really”. And he’s not exactly mister Macho Man either…I guess he’s just kind of indifferent to the pressure. Which is a good thing.


I cry as much as I want… :)

Myndecho's avatar

I live in a very masculine family, all my brothers, uncles, etc are heavily into sports such as rugby, football, fishing, etc. They’re all the stereotypical image of manly men and I’m just little young me.
You can’t help but be effected by it all, I try to drink very little and they all insist I should drink more, do more sports (I do like sports just not the same as them) Do I really need to explain the little things? They want me to be more manly, they can’t see that it isn’t always so great and that’s just not me.

Edit: I have to say this is most true with my taste in films and music, I wouldn’t dare tell some of them what I really like.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think adults should act as adults and the behavior of an adult female and male shouldn’t be that far apart.

Culture creates parameters that men and women are supposed to live within, I hate it, I am who I am and I won’t act or be the way others want me to be.

To thine own self be true!

Facade's avatar

@Dansedescygnes Good for him. Trying to fit into so called “norms” wears on a person.

cyn's avatar

NO i’m proud of who i am!
well except
i hate my period!

Dansedescygnes's avatar


haha…I’m glad I’m a guy…

DarkScribe's avatar

For some reason I keep thinking of Mel Gibson in the “What Women Want” movie.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


That’s true for me too as I’ve said many times. Especially when it comes to bubblegum dance. I discovered so much new music over the past couple of months and a lot of it is “gay” music and I just don’t really reveal that to most people. But I won’t hesitate to play Lady Gaga (LoveGame) in my car with my friends in it. :)

hiiiiiiii's avatar

Yes my family is always telling me to be more of a woman which is strange because I’m a man.

dynamicduo's avatar

No I don’t feel this pressure. Likely because for the most part I don’t care about what others say. I certainly wouldn’t give a hoot if someone told me to “be a woman”.

ru2bz46's avatar

I used to get that now and then when I was younger. Now, I am more confident with who I am. I don’t watch sports, I do yoga, I can sew, I own two chihuahuas and a pomeranian, but I don’t get shit from anybody because I know I’m a man, and I don’t care what they think. Apparently, they don’t think anything weird (or they hide it or dismiss it) because they can tell I am comfortable with my sexuality (hetero male, in case you’re now wondering). I do plenty of “man stuff” to make up for it.

Grisaille's avatar


That’d be feeding into the gross caricatures society has created. It’s all silliness.

You are as you are.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Believe me, when one starts to play around with gender identities, all kinds of people flip a shit- and I’ve dealt with a lot of it

cyn's avatar

i love that movie

Darwin's avatar

Lady Gaga’s music is gay? What is gay music, other than “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It”? My gay friends that are into music mostly like Broadway show tunes.

And actually I’ve been told to “take it like a man” but I am a girl and a heterosexual one at that. Everyone thinks of me as the big strong one, and consider my sister to be the delicate one, but she is gay, and is the butch one in her relationships.

Sometimes I think we all ought to give up on gender altogether, just as we are trying to get over race.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


I love showtunes too…!

Sometimes I think we all ought to give up on gender altogether, just as we are trying to get over race.

I think that sometimes too.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Darwin & Dansedescygnes – “Sometimes I think we all ought to give up on gender altogether, just as we are trying to get over race.”

3 cheers for that idea!!! Do you think it can ever happen?

Darwin's avatar

@rooeytoo – Not for a very long time, but maybe someday.

“Someday when the dream
Is coming true… ”
(from The Wedding Singer)

Johno666's avatar

In Australia there is an enormous pressure to conform to gender identity. There is a certain stereo type of what a man or woman has to be. Conformity is the expectation of the majority, There is a slight change in the current social climate but I do say slight.In Australia the expectation is that “men do not have feelings, they do not cry, they are hardened people, devoid of emotion”.Also for women there is an expectation that the woman’s position is behind the man, i.e – the man MUST be the provider, the worker & the security. This ideal is changing ,albeit, slowly. I am in no way, shape or form, advocating sexual discrimination, but in this country, that is how things have been & still are to some extent. Until this society as a whole is ready to make the subsequrnt changes.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Johno666 You must live in a different Australia to the one I live in.

Johno666's avatar

It really depends which part of Australia you live in! RURAL OR CITY/SUBURBAN?

Johno666's avatar

@DarkScribe Are you a naturalised Australian?

DarkScribe's avatar

@Johno666 I am a Brisbane journalist living on the Gold Coast. Spend a lot of time in Canberra and Melbourne as well.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Johno666 I hold both British and Australian passports.

Johno666's avatar

@DarkScribe I dont mean to generalise but this is from my own personal experience of the places that I have lived. These social undercurrents do exist but more predominantly in the rural areas.

Darwin's avatar

My aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents found it to be true when they lived in Australia, that men were encouraged to be “real men,” leaders and providers, while women were encouraged to be followers rather than leaders. They lived in Melbourne but because they came from the US they could see the differences in the cultural expectations.

Compared to the urban and suburban US gender stereotyping in Australia is more prevalent, but compared to the rural US it is similar.

Johno666's avatar

@Darwin It is a quite easy observation to any person that is not from Australia. The differences are there for all to see. All you have to do is go shopping or go to the pub or hotel for a night to see these inequalities / stereotypes in full flight.

rooeytoo's avatar

I sure agree with Johno666’s observations from the female side of the coin. There is so little emphasis on girls accomplishing anything with their lives except having children or snagging a footy player. In general Aussie women are expected to stay in the background and be supportive. Some exceptions, but not many, it is definitely a male dominated environment. And yes, the males seem to be encouraged to fit the stereotype described.

Needless to say as a “bloody yank” I don’t fit that mold!

cookieman's avatar

You are who you are. Me?

I love show tunes.
I’m football player sized.
I don’t like sports.
I built my kitchen.
I watch “chick flicks” voluntarily.
I have a deep, bellowing voice.
I love to house clean.
I can do electrical & plumbing.
I carry a murse.
I read comic books.

Specific to the question, I am very decisive, motivated and organized and appreciate these traits in others. Whiney, lazy, clueless people frustrate me and I am often found telling them to get their shit together (which is just another way to say “man up”).

rooeytoo's avatar

I wanna know if darkscribe is shooting all those crocs on the Gold Coast or in Canberra or Melbourne? That’s a manly thing to do!

Johno666's avatar

A perfect example of the stereotype, the classic man is a hunter, woman is a gatherer attitude. Also prevelant in australia. Not in the literal sense of course.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rooeytoo > I wanna know if darkscribe is shooting all those crocs on the Gold Coast
> or in Canberra or Melbourne?

No, in Melbourne the only things getting shot seem to be by nervous Police, and so far no Salties on the GC. I still get up north several time a years though, will be in the Gulf in July – Thursday Island and then the mainland. BTW, it has been some time since I have had occasion to shoot one, but that might change later this year. We are spending some time in remote bush. If the occasion arises I’ll be sure to think of you.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


Ha. I wish I had a deep bellowing voice. Instead I’m stuck with this effeminate California-accent voice…lol

And don’t tell me it will get deeper. It already got deeper; it used to be really high. It ain’t getting any deeper. :)

And you sound really interesting.

ru2bz46's avatar

@Johno666 I just want to point out that @DarkScribe is not a hunter; he is a poacher/killer, and he does not even retrieve the game. There is a big difference.

Poser's avatar

No. I’m a man. What does it matter how I feel? Besides, I’m big enough that if someone calls my masculinity into question, I can just beat them silly.

That’s what real men do.

wundayatta's avatar

If I felt pressure, it was from myself. I looked at the myth of manhood, and I didn’t match up. Instead of feeling bad about that, I changed my idea of what it meant to be a man. In this version, showing weakness is a strength and inability to show weakness is a weakness. If you can show weakness, it means you are secure in yourself. If you can’t, you’re hiding something you feel bad about. That ain’t manly, I think.

Machismo is not manly. It is a complete delusion. Complete aggressiveness and assertiveness is usually hiding something, too.

A man is balanced. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, and he does not pretend to be anything else. He does not need to go along with the crowd, because he can stand on his own when he needs to. A man is always courteous to everyone, and sensitive to the feelings and wishes of others. He knows how to give and take without feeling less manly when he gives. A man knows that strength comes from inside, and can be expressed as physical strength, but that is not the only way to express it.

In many ways, perhaps all ways, the qualities of a man are similar to the qualities of a woman. They are the qualities of a person.

CMaz's avatar

I don’t feel pressure. I am a Man. It comes natural to me.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

In many ways, perhaps all ways, the qualities of a man are similar to the qualities of a woman. They are the qualities of a person.

I could NOT agree with that any more than I do. That’s how much I agree with that. :)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Growing up, people always used to call me a tomboy. I rode bikes, ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, climbed trees, played in mud, loved (and played) basketball along with many other sports, etc. Before I was old enough to understand what it meant, I asked my mom why people kept calling me a boy, when clearly, I looked nothing like a boy.

As soon as I got a little bit older I realized that everyone was implying that because of the things I enjoyed, I was somehow like a boy. Which, around 12, started to really piss me off. That’s when I first started realizing how stupid society is in the ways it limits both males and females. People are people and they like what they like. By the time I was 13, I forbid anyone and everyone I knew from ever calling me a “tomboy” again, which I would then follow with a lecture on why it was such a stupid thing to say.

No one ever called me a “tomboy” again. For that matter, everyone in my personal life knows better than to call me “masculine” or “feminine” – because they aren’t things that I believe in.

eimantas's avatar

No i’m not!

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