Men Get the Short End of the Stick: 10 Common Assumptions

by Leah McClellan

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Man in chains

This country is in trouble because men have given up the debate….Women say things like “We’re more spiritually evolved,” and we just go “Yeah, I guess that’s right…” Bill Maher Politically Incorrect: Women/ Feminism-Part 2

While checking out the forecast on The Weather Channel this morning, I was struck by how differently the male meteorologists were dressed compared to the women. The men wore formal business suits—complete with button-up collars, ties, and jackets. The women, on the other hand, were dressed in summery dresses or knee-length skirts topped with sleeveless blouses.

It all looked very sexist to me.

I could easily see the contours of one woman’s bra through her shirt; it was obviously a padded demi-cup. Her snugly-fitted skirt emphasized her hips and rear, but it was so tight that heavy creases were evident across the front of her thighs. Her upper arms were tanned and toned and, because of her form-fitting clothes, she might as well have been naked. There was nothing left for the imagination.

Seems to me it’s just the usual focus on women’s bodies while men wear the same ol’, same ol’ bulky man-outfit. Why can’t we just appreciate women for their intelligence, their minds, and their knowledge? Why must a woman’s body also be on display while working as an on-camera meteorologist?

Sure, sure, sex sells, even if it’s just sexiness or an attractive woman.

Some might say it’s about time—and it’s been time for a long time in many parts of the world—that women are free to display their attributes as they see fit. Why not? It’s their choice to go along with the dress code at their jobs or not. And who wants to go back to the days when we had to wear corsets and cover our ankles?

But wait a minute. Think about it.

Why don’t men display their attributes?

I mean, I like men. I’m a heterosexual woman who enjoys looking at men. Why are they all covered up? I don’t think it’s fair. Why do I have to wait until there’s a hurricane somewhere so I can catch a glimpse of Jim Cantore or Mike Bettes in a wet T-shirt?

If you think about it, men really get the short end of the stick. Not only do they have to wear heavy suits in the middle of summer, they also have a lot of unfair assumptions and expectations placed on them. Yes, we women still have our struggles in many areas, but what about men?

Men face much of the same bias and preconceived notions that women face: we have certain expectations of men and, if they don’t measure up, there are penalties: other men may tease them and women will snub them. Pressure, pressure, pressure. How many men are truly living their lives the way they want to without bending to social pressure?

Here are some widely-held assumptions about men. Which ones are you familiar with?

1. Men have natural aptitudes for fixing things around the house because they’re born with an innate interest in anything that looks like a tool or a gadget.

2. Men have a natural talent for changing tires or making repairs on cars as well as washing them. If they don’t know how to do the work themselves, they know exactly where to take the car or who to call—and they love doing it.

3. All men want to have sex as often as possible. They’re just born that way. They’re not interested in emotional intimacy as much as the physical release because the reptilian part of the brain is more dominant in men than women. Besides, they don’t really have emotions anyway.

4. Men are responsible for a woman’s sexual satisfaction. He should always make sure to actively give her as much pleasure as she wants before he gets his. Men like to work, after all, and this is just the male job description. Plus, women have no idea how to take charge of these things, and someone has to do it.

5. All men naturally gravitate toward team sports. Whether they’re active in a particular sport or prefer to cheer and shout and drink beer while their favorite team plays in the stadium or on the TV, it’s just natural for men to like sports. If they don’t, they’re, well, different.

6. Men naturally like to drink beer and eat steak. Unless he’s one of those guys who’s into some alternative, new-age kind of a lifestyle, or unless he’s a bit effeminate and goes for the chicken (probably because his wife nags him to eat better), a man just naturally craves manly food. Beer and beef are manly foods, after all, and men just like them.

7. Men don’t like to cook. They’re just not wired that way. Somehow, while still in the womb, men got programmed to either hunt the food or have it served to them, not prepare it. Unless they’re getting paid, in which case a man is called a chef.

8. Men need “honey-do” lists so they can remember the chores their wives ask them to do. This is because men aren’t designed for household tasks, so their brains aren’t equipped to remember these things. They may occasionally need reminders and corrections when tasks are finished, too. This has nothing to do with lack of job ownership, decision-making power, or being treated like one of the kids, by the way.

9. Men leave smelly socks and underwear or other clothing around the house just because that’s how men are. It’s nothing to do with the fact that their mothers picked up after them and they were never taught—or expected—to keep things tidy or do their own laundry as boys.

10. Men don’t have emotions like women do. They just don’t. They aren’t wired that way. And when they do have emotions, it’s not natural for men to show them. Be sure to forget about the men who write gut-wrenching poetry or song lyrics or the guys you see with tears streaming down their faces at funerals. Skip over all the many men in anger management classes or those who have such violent emotions that they kill people. Forget the men who act out their emotions with domestic violence and other violent crimes, such as rape. We’ll have to skip wars, too, and heck, most of human history.

A lot of the arguments and conflicts we have start with assumptions and unrealistic expectations.

Even if they’re traditional expectations, things just aren’t traditional any more. Or, at least, we’re coming out of an era when roles in life were determined by social forces and the dominant culture rather than individual choices.

Both men and women are becoming more aware, more conscious of choices and possibilities and less afraid of bucking against tradition. But we don’t always know how to handle things when it comes to personal conflicts over expectations. Buttons get pushed, defenses rear up, and people feel threatened. We go to work or school or get into relationships expecting that men are one way or another when, in fact, they aren’t. Not always. Or they don’t want to be. And too often they push themselves to do certain things because it’s expected of them but it only results in frustration for everyone.

A lot of men do fit the mold, and it works for them. But many more don’t.

Or they don’t know what they want because they’ve just been going along with the crowd. But they’re learning, just as women are. Why hold them back by putting them into the boxes that assumptions can create?

What would happen if women meteorologists wore the full-armor suits on The Weather Channel and the men dressed down a bit? Tight shorts, maybe, and a snug-fitting shirt unbuttoned a little so I can see a bit of his chest. Short sleeves, too, because I really like a man with strong arms—not too big, just tight. Nice. I’m sure the guys would appreciate the freedom not to mention lower dry-cleaning bills. If they could handle all the women gawking at them.

I think we can safely assume that The Weather Channel wouldn’t be in business much longer if they suddenly changed the dress code. But maybe, just maybe, if we loosen up the chains on men by letting go of assumptions we’d start seeing a lot of positive changes, not just for individual men but for all of us.

What assumptions do you make about men? If you’re a man, which ones fit or don’t fit? Can you think of any others? Comments are always welcome.

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{ 22 comments }

Jon Bennett

Your point about men needing lists made me smile because I live my life thanks to the power of checklists! LOL
Jon Bennett´s last [type] ..How Gaming Can Change The World

Leah

Hi Jon!

Yeah me too, for a lot of things. When I hit post just now that was one item crossed off! lol

I’m thinking of so-called “Honey do” lists that a lot of women make for the men in their lives and then complain or joke about them.

Jean Sarauer

Hmmm, I think I’ve shed my assumptions but I’ve had to work on it. I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist environment where roles were clear and lines were drawn due to gender. In some ways it felt safe, but in more ways, it felt stifling. It took a lot of work and awareness to move out of that conditioning, but I think (hope!), I don’t carry assumptions for either sex anymore.
Jean Sarauer´s last [type] ..Why Bite Size is the Right Size Content

Leah

Hi Jean! Wow on the upbringing. I had a mixed batch sort of situation–very glad my dad’s assumption was that I should know how to swing a hammer and run a power saw! In other areas my parents were pretty traditional.

I’d like to say I’ve shed my assumptions, and definitely don’t follow the ones I’ve listed, but I seriously doubt I’ve run into every situation possible. I mean, that’s where they get tested or we realize we have them/make them, seems to me.

How would I feel if the guys on the Weather Channel suddenly started wearing clothes as revealing as the women’s? I’d be shocked, shocked I say! lol

Justin Dixon

Great list! I can tell you had fun writing this post. Thought I’d go through and list my own experience with this list.

My girlfriend is way better at fixing things than me.
I can at least change a tire, but again my girlfriend is way better at (and more interested in) mechanical stuff than me.
I like sex, no denying it, but I’m just as likely to not be in the mood.
We both enjoy, I’ll leave it at that.
Was never big on team sports, I used to like boxing though, and I’ll never turn down a sumo wrestling match, those things are incredible.
Really don’t like beer, (except for when cooking with it) and the only meat I eat is fish and eggs.
I LOVE cooking. Part of the reason for my diet was the challenge of making something delicious, easy, healthy, and affordable.
I do work better with a list.
She leaves just as much or more than I do, at least mine is in a consistent pile, I can’t argue about my socks though.
I am emotionally distant but that is part of my personality more than just me being a guy.
Justin Dixon´s last [type] ..The Nice Guys Guide to Standing Up For Yourself

Leah

Hi Justin!

Thanks so much for your input. Yeah, I had fun writing this and imagining male meteorologists in a manly equivalent of tight skirts and tops lol

I agree that it’s about personality more than gender. I admit it’s a struggle for me to not be a slob with some things, like laundry. I mean, who cares? lol Well, I do prefer things tidy but I don’t have tidy habits ingrained in me so I have to think about it and make new resolutions regularly :)

I can definitely be emotionally distant, depending on the situation and who I’m with. Doesn’t mean I don’t have any emotions.

Have an awesome day!

John Sherry

Interesting angle Leah, sexy men and assumptions about the male species. I forever hear that men don’t do emotions and that, if they do, they must be gay, even though the ladies then go on to say, “Oh for a man who is sensitive!” Can’t win there. Not all men think of sex all the time and if we did we could never have time for posing and flexing our biceps (or holding in my flab in my case which is exercise in itself). And the classic ‘men leave everything lying around’ stigma which isn’t true because I don’t leave my credit card about when a shopping trip is being planned. The other male basher is that we never pay attention when our lady partner’s are talking, probably because we don’t like to interupt. You see it’s all too easy to do and I am only saying that to demonstrate it.

Seriously whoever actively uses male and female stereotype criticisms needs to remember that it says more about them than those they are pointing a finger at. We are all different and have our own foibles which are personal not gender based.
John Sherry´s last [type] ..The True Path To Simple Living

Leah

Hey John,

I have no idea what anyone means when they talk about a “sensitive” man. What does that mean, exactly? A man with a highly-developed sense of empathy? A high emotional IQ? Someone who knows how to communicate well and easily about tough topics? I’ve known men who probably could be called very sensitive, very feeling, very in tune with those emotions, but with other issues, in one case pretty serious.

Used to want a bumper sticker that says “Women, when you’re bashing men, remember who raised them.” Or “If you’re bashing men, be sure you’re bringing up your sons right” :)

Have a great day.

Cath Lawson

Hi Leah – I’ve heard all of those and as you say, most of them are untrue – at least for some men.

The beer thing is weird though – I know a few men who will drink beer in public but at home they will have wine. My husband prefers wine but, in public, it’s like they feel they have to fit in and drink beer like the other guys.

Leah

Hi Cath,

Nice to see you here! Yes, some are true for some men, others aren’t. But they’re so common I can list them right off the top of my head because of hearing things like that so often, mostly from women. And I often crinkle my nose because so many men I know or have known just don’t fit the stereotypes. Some, sure. But not all.

Interesting about the beer. That’s making me think of preferred or popular drinks in different groups, like martinis and so on…I mostly like wine and sometimes beer so I’m the odd woman out sometimes though I’ve tried things here or there just to try it. Guys act surprised when I order Guiness Stout lol (that’s a manly beer lol)

Have a great day!

Giulietta Nardone

Hi Leah,

Lots of stereotypes about both genders. I listened to The Hustle For Worthiness DVD about 4 months ago and Brene said on it, “but we have to save the men too.” You can’t liberate one half of the population without liberating the other or it’s pointless.

I wrote a paper on men’s liberation way before it was even a topic. My feminist teacher ripped it apart and gave me one of my lowest grades. Yet, I did the same kind of research I did for the papers I got A’s on.

Men and women are both limited by their roles.

Men usually have to go to war. Young men had to sign up in previous US wars and be sent to their potential deaths. I’d call that getting the short end of the stick.

Men often have to pay alimony forever. That makes no sense to me. Once the children grow up, why wouldn’t it end? They end up living in their cars.

Men still wear suits. Women can wear suits and skirts.

Ask men if they like wearing a tight rope thingy around their necks all day at work. Who thought that up? Reminds me of a noose.

Some men don’t like sports but feel they have to watch it to be able to talk about it.

We’re all repressed! Set everyone free … and watch the Earth transform.

Giulietta
Giulietta Nardone´s last [type] ..Is your life a daring adventure

Leah

Hi Guilietta,

Thanks for your excellent additions to this list. They all could stand to have a post of their own–or a book. Especially the one about war: my stepfather was horribly traumatized by WWII and it pretty much defined his life with his periodic breakdowns. From the “old school” where men have to be tough, therapy was out, and we all suffered personally and directly from WWII–even in the 70s and 80s. Grandfather, same thing but from WWI–mom told stories of how her dad had such violent nightmares that he had to sleep separate from her mom, my grandmother. Little brother couldn’t handle a Navy ship on peaceful duty, even…long story!

Ouch on the paper. I understand–I almost got kicked out of university for my “alternative” views though they were well supported by my research lol

Love how you put it: yes, we’re all repressed. Set us all free!

Adena Atkins

“Why do I have to wait until there’s a hurricane somewhere so I can catch a glimpse of Jim Cantore or Mike Bettes in a wet T-shirt?”

That indeed is the question.

Brill-i-ant
Adena Atkins´s last [type] ..Inter-Galactic Artist Kindness Day

Leah

Thanks Adena! Have to say I like what Mike Bettes looks like in a hurricane more than the other guy :)

jonathanfigaro

I’m a man and i can’t deny the truth you’ve circumference through those allegations. Your totally right, I love beer and steak. I love to leave my stink stuff around. And my mom usually bitches about it. But I tell her I leave those clothes lying around because i know you love to pick up after me.

Then she just looks at me like i created slavery. And then i end up doing it myself. lol But seriously, i think your post is right on. And one thing you forgot is, All men, Love woman…well not all men (Smh)..

Leah

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your input! Glad to hear from the guys on this. And you prove my point: not all guys are total slobs–you pick up your things in the end! lol

Yep, lots of guys (and gals) love the beer and steak, but not all of them.

Have an awesome day :)

Christopher

Awesome post Leah!

As a man, I am very proud of the lifestyle I’ve chosen, where I simply behave as I want to in any moment. Examining those assumptions, I don’t know how to fix many things, I don’t know how to change a tire, I find that women like to have sex just as much as men do, I do love team sports, and I do love beer and steak (although I love wine more), I love to cook, I love cleanliness, and I become extremely depressed when I suppress my emotions. As a doctor, I don’t wear shoes and go to work often in shorts and a t-shirt. How about that for breaking social codes!

You’ve made me proud to live the life I’m living. If only all people would just be themselves!

Leah

Thanks Christopher! I really appreciate your candid response. I especially like this: “I become extremely depressed when I suppress my emotions.” Yup. I think that’s often a key issue in depression, among other things of course.

Cool that you go to work in shorts and a t-shirt. I love it!

Be proud. Yay for men! They aren’t just a stereotype anymore :)

Keith Davis

Hi Lea
Oh dear… I score very badly on the checklist. LOL
I’m hopeless around the house with DIY and all my sports have been individual sports (athletics and skiing) and this blogging business is fairly solitary.
I did like a beer or two when I was young but now I’m a white wine man.
As for smelly pants and socks… no thank you, I’m fairly civilised.
Good to read a post by a woman who is standing up for we poor men.
Power to you Lea.
Keith Davis´s last [type] ..A splash of colour

Leah

Hi Keith,

Aw, that’s too bad you don’t fit in with the stereotypes lol Just kidding. So glad the guys are appreciating this. It just irks me how men get bashed and stereotyped and squeezed into boxes–it’s just not fair! Not any more fair than the same thing done to women or anyone else. Plus I like men, you know? I’m a woman, for crying out loud lol

Glad you stopped by :)

Keith Davis

Hi Leah
Glad you like me.
Please give me a call, my phone number is…. LOL
Keith Davis´s last [type] ..A splash of colour

Leah

LOL As I tried to think up a witty comeback, I admit that “Typical man!” came to mind! Hey, I hear it so often it got stored in there somewhere :)

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