Are Stereotypes About Men and Women True?

Are Stereotypes About Men and Women True?

After reading this post about common stereotypes for American states, I chose to do a similar Google search for stereotypes of men and women.

Without further ado, here’s what happened when I searched “why are men so…” and “why are women so…”

Why are men so….

mean
stubborn
hot
pathetic
cranky
stupid when it comes to women
shallow
lazy
jealous
insecure

Stereotypes exist for a reason. The only problem is when we assume they’re ALWAYS true.

Yep, that sounds about right.

Why are women so…

emotional
crazy
cold
complicated
stuck up
sensitive
weird
self-centered
mean to men
illogical

No comment. :-)

Stereotypes exist for a reason. The only problem is when we assume they’re ALWAYS true.

Come to think of it, maybe the key to relationships is as simple as finding a partner who doesn’t embody the worst stereotypes.

What do YOU think?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Selena

    I think the people who see stereotypes are those who are most likely choosing people with the same traits over and over. Possibly because they have another trait, like “hotness” that goes along with it. ;)

  2. 2
    Ellen

    Boy, this post is gonna get a lot of comments!

    The best advice a college bf gave me was: See people first as individuals, not their gender.  That said, I generally find men more alike (amongst themselves) than women. To me there are so many types of women that generalizing is ridiculous imo. For one thing, a lot of women are on overdrive in order to compete successfully with men in school, the workplace, etc. so are becoming more masculine in their mien.

    Insecure men, for the most part, tend to (consciously anyway) avoid or neglect their feminine side.

    In general I find men less complicated than women, true. 

    The only real stereotype I see consistently with men is their shallowness and lack of sentimentality about sex, love unless it’s their momma or daddy or something. Proof? Men are much more likely to replace a woman quickly- even a woman who has been important to them their entire lives- with the first suitable replacement that comes along (and often not that suitable or acceptable), rather than be alone. I see this consistently with widowers everywhere. It sickens me frankly. I mean, where is the loyalty? Can’t they observe a suitable period of mourning even? I just will never, ever understand it or accept it.      

  3. 3
    Heather

    Actually Selena, that makes alot of sense!

    I’ve dated a few abusive guys in the past, and it got to where I would think, good god, why are men so damn MEAN???  Is that just part of their genetic code, to treat women like crap and hurt them?

    But once I did some work on myself, I came to learn that I CAN stand up for myself and set boundaries, and not let guys walk all over me, simply for being nice. 

    Having said that, where’s the stereotype about guys tuning us out while they watch TV? :P  I swear, there are times I could probably tell my guy that I’m sleeping with an alien and he might not even bat an eyelash, then look at me five minutes later and go, “Huh?”

  4. 4
    Selena

    That’s called “selective deafness” Heather. I’m laughing, because that may actually be male trait: I remember my son had it as a little boy! :)

  5. 5
    Fiona

    OK I’m sensitive and I’m emotional and if I get hurt I can certainly be upset (which is maybe manspeak for crazy). On the flip side I am caring, loyal, and hate hurting people. I can only hope for some redemption…. 

  6. 6
    Joe

    @ Ellen: how does it feel if I turn it around and say women are overly sentimental about sex, love?

  7. 7
    Rachael

    Lol heather! I know what you mean! Cause i’ve been with those guys…Luckily my current doesn’t do that. He’ll even allow me to engage him (however briefly) while watching football! Amazing! I find it mind boggling though that he can be looking RIGHT into my eyes, at full attention (speaking a complete sentance even) and still catch something, turn around and yell “awww COME ON!” at the tv. Like…How the eff did you even see that? lol Fascinating.

  8. 8
    Ruby

    I think it’s still more acceptable for women to embody masculine traits than the other way around. It’s easy enough to ascribe the attributes EMK listed for men, as being female traits as well. But when you try to say that men are illogical, emotional, or sensitive, well, them’s fightin’ words! There is still an expectation that men should be strong and rational. The truth is, I’ve known some pretty sensitive, emotional men, as much so as any woman. And what is so bad about being sensitive or emotional, as long as one isn’t overly so?

  9. 9
    Rachael

    Ellen

    Maybe it is therapeutic for those men to fill that hole? Even if the new woman doesn’t compare to the ex, or the deceased. I personallt wouldn’t look at this behavior as insulting, or disrespectful to the woman. I see it as rather sad and kind of endearing. As if to say “I just can’t take it being alone, and without her.”. Maybe the new woman is a replacement. But men have different ways of coping with pain. 

  10. 10
    Ellen

    PS Sorry for the second post, but men are much less likely to want to learn from women than the other way around. It’s like unconsciously we get tied up with “Mom” in some way and this stubbornness kicks in.  A kind of “no woman is going to tell me what to do”.

    I’ve been married twice: Once for 7 years, once for 25 and in all that time I doubt my husbands actively or willingly tried to learn from me. And listen, I’ve got plenty to share, offer. I always got the feeling I was expected to learn from them, listen to them though. So I did. Know it sounds a bit insipid, but from my first husband I learned to explore fiction in a big way and more profoundly, from my second to get tougher emotionally …..

    So that has also frustrated me. I mean, imagine being with someone 25 years and in all that time you can’t for the life of you see how they have learned lesson one from you. Nothing is said anyway to indicate this, nothing openly acknowledged. To me it is a type of major emotional withholding.

    What do others have to say on this subject? ’Cause I would love to find out if I am correct in my assumption or not gals/guys.   

  11. 11
    Rachael

    I’d really like a man’s perspective on the “replacement” behavior! I’d love to fully understand it!

  12. 12
    Heather

    @ Selena and Rachael,

    I tried that experiment once, with my ex husband.  He was playing another one of his online games (he was addicted to gaming, among other things), and I was talking to him.  I either got no response, yelled at for interrupting his serious “quest” (yeah pal I have your “quest” right here, LOL), or an absent-minded “uh huh”.  So I said hey hon, I have some news, I’m pregnant.  And with an alien baby, too!  All I heard a few seonds later was, “Uh huh.”

    It really must be selective deafness.  It drives me batty sometimes!

  13. 13
    DinaStrange

    Of course, we don’t believe in stereotypes…only watch when you say word “threesome” the reaction of men and women :)

  14. 14
    Michael17

    Well, this is my take.
     
    Men go for femininity. Which means that we will go for crazy emotional woman (i.e., a woman with high femininity) over the more logical easy-going “Plain-Jane” (a woman who is less in touch with her femininity). And then when the woman we chose exhibits her illogical, crazy ways, complain about how nuts women are, all the while the “Plain-Jane” was passed up or made “one of the guys” is actually quite easy to get along with.
     
    Similarly, women go for masculinity. Which means that many women will go for a man’s man (a guy with high masculinity) over the “Nice Guy” (a guy who is less in touch with his masculinity). And then when the man you chose exhibits his brutish insensitive ways, complain about how men are jerks and scumbags, all the while the “Nice Guy” that was passed up or Friend-Zoned actually has none of those hard-to-get-along-with tendencies. 
     
    So both genders end up complaining about the other, with the “Plain-Janes” and the “Nice-Guys” both complaining about how they are what the other gender says they want but they never get picked.

  15. 15
    Ruby

    Michael17 #14
     
    Well, this is totally counter to what EMK advises when he says that men like easy-going women. Since when is easy-going “plain”, and crazy is feminine and attractive? I think you are saying that men are willing to overlook a woman who’s unstable, if she’s hot enough.
     
    My boyfriend is very masculine, but he has an emotional, caring, sensitive side, too. For me, it’s the best of both worlds. He IS a nice guy, which is good, because I’m not interested in dating jerks.

  16. 16
    Michael17

    Ruby #15:
     
    Good point. This is what I meant (and forgive my poor wording above): A man will go for a woman who is in touch with her femininity EVEN IF it means we have to put up with a lot of crazy, INSTEAD OF a woman who is not in touch with her femininity, even if she is perfectly sane and logical. That said, a woman who is having crying jags and throwing fits all the time gets old VERY VERY fast to most men. Also, we do tend to run from a woman who is initiating too many “where is this going” talks or is talking about her ticking biological clock.
     
    A woman who is mature and easy-going, AND who brings her share of feminine energy, with even a little bit of girly emotional craziness, is what we want. At the end of the day we need to know you’re a girl. If you’re more logical or less emotional than we are, then that could be a problem. So we really want a mix, a balance.
     
    Just as I’m sure you love both your boyfriend’s uber-masculine side AND his emotional sensitive caring side too.
     
     
     

  17. 17
    Michael17

    And how this relates to this topic at hand: We often settle for our list of attributes being only partially filled. And we as men will end up going for a feminine woman who is “too crazy” (and we end up leaving her because we can’t take it anymore) and then biatch about your gender. What we are really looking for in the end is a woman who is in touch with her femininity, who is easy-going and mature, whom we think is hot, and who is attracted to us back. It’s hard for us to find indeed.

  18. 18
    Fiona

    I am confused by what men deem to be ‘crazy’. If someone treats me badly I am going to be upset. Far from inferring a mental illness, I would say this is understandable.

  19. 19
    JB

    @Ellen#2 I see this consistently with widowers everywhere. It sickens me frankly. I mean, where is the loyalty? Can’t they observe a suitable period of mourning even? I just will never, ever understand it or accept it.”     

    It goes both ways Ellen I was winked at on Match last week by a 52 yr.old widow and after I got her email address and did a little digging low and behold her husband died in April 2012 and his pic is still on her Facebook page. I couldn’t believe it!

  20. 20
    Michael17

    Ellen #2, I wonder if it is your people-picker. See, the guys you are going for, or seem to have been going for, represent only a very partial subset of men out there. There are a lot of nice guys out there…. They don’t always make the strongest first impression that hooks the women in though.

    My point is that you need to take some responsibility for what has been happening to you when it comes to dating. We all do.

  21. 21
    Mia

    Complaints about the opposite sex are often referring to maybe only 30 percent of men or women. Its just that that minority makes an outsized impression. I’m often confused when I hear rants about women – that American women are bitchy, ungreatful, materialistic, and out to chain men down and use them and wield sex as a manipulative weapon. I’m not like that and neither is any woman I’m friends with, but these same men would never date women like us not bc we’re not hot but bc we don’t offer much drama. Likewise, only a minority of men wield lots of power, but those are some of the only men with the balls to approach, so we women think they represent all men . When really, they don’t.

  22. 22
    Lucy

    My parents are very traditional and I’ve learnt some great values from them. At the same time, some of their ideas about traditional roles seem a bit outdated for me. Looking at myself, I realised at one point that having stereotyped views of men will lead to certain expectations for me. For that reason, I’ve decided to abandon some of those traditional views. You just can’t have it both ways and there will be a flip side to every behaviour. Whilst I love my dad, some of his traditional views I don’t agree with. He wouldn’t spend as much time with me as a child or see my performances because he didn’t think it was his job as a man. I kept asking why he didn’t want to but I was told just to accept it. 

    I’m only 22 years old so I don’t know if what I say on here has enough perspective. The one thing I can’t get over my head is how immature men are at my age. I don’t really want to mother a guy but that is the sort of thing they seem to expect. I’m fairly level headed and non-judgemental of men. However most men don’t seem to give me much credit. I know I get less attention because I have a good brain and I can confidently argue my point of view. I do not appreciate it when men take the approach of keeping me sweet. I have dignity.

    I do like “nice guys” but I mean genuinely nice guys who are confident. I’m not talking about the nice guy stereotypes who are manipulative ego-maniacs. People think they are merely more sensitive than the average man because of their insecurities but I steer well clear now owing to some bad experiences.

  23. 23
    Lucy

    Incidentally, in one bad moment I said something I regretted to a male friend (though in retrospect it wasn’t that bad). He was offended and flashed me. I swiftly made a complaint to the warden at my student residence because it bloody freaked me out. He was banned from the residence. If that wasn’t bad enough, the situation turned into a nightmare. My female friend had a real go at me for making the complaint and telling me that he didn’t mean much by it and that it was a bitch move for me to complain. I did not get any apology from him and yet I was supposedly the one in the wrong.

    Several months ago I had just broken up with a bad ex. It wasn’t a great break-up. He was cold and abusive and I ended up cheating on him in a fit of desperation and loneliness. I felt bad about it but I did the decent thing and owned before finishing it. It didn’t end there either. He was controlling afterwards and phoned up telling me I wasn’t allowed to talk about him after the break-up. He told his friends not to talk to me whilst having conversations with some of my best friends and telling them what a whore I am. He stalked me on the internet all the time. So I had to deal with him but at the same time I had to deal with one of his female friends who was treating me like the whore of babylon having only heard his side of the story. Eventually I ended up crying in the arms of a friend. He finally got me to realising how this girl was pretty much an apologist for my ex’s abusive behaviour.

    Anyway there was a point to all this! My point is that some men really can be cruel but are allowed to get away with it. It always seems to be women who are in the wrong. These guys cover up their lousy behaviour by calling women “crazy” or “bitch” or “whore” or something.

    I know I am far from perfect but I know I did a lot less wrong than these men. Still, somehow I’m expected to be a paragon of virtue with not a single blot…Otherwise, I’m subject to extreme character assassination. 

  24. 24
    Zann

    I think we all stereotype the opposite sex because we get lazy & it’s just easier falling back on “men suck” than trying to analyze, examine, and get outside ourselves in order to get at what’s really going on. When all is said & done, people are complex creatures.

    As a hetero woman, I really can’t say what it’s like to date women, and I realize I perceive my women friends in an entirely different way than a man probably would. That said, some of my closest women friends, who I dearly love, can be mega-drama queens, and I imagine they could be  nightmares to date or as significant others. I assume the opposite is true with men viewing their guy friends as golden, while women may view those same men as crude, insensitive, immature, players and totally undesirable as mates.  Go figure.  

    BUT I do have something to add about the topic of men finding “replacements” after long-term relationships. I have experienced this with not only widowers, but also divorced men. Take my ex-husband. We’d been married for 20 years when he decided, now that our kids were older, he needed to be “free.” Even though we divorced fairly amicably, it was a huge emotional upheaval for me. I grieved and missed my married life for a long time, even after I started dating again. He, on the other hand, slid immediately and seamlessly into a new relationship, which was followed by a succession of relationships with various women after that. To my knowledge, he never once looked back or expressed any grief over the loss of me, even though he tells others what a great wife and mother to his kids I was. Without judging that (har!) or labeling it as “typical male insensitivity,”all I can say is I don’t understand it and have quit trying to. I also know I’m damn glad I don’t have that capacity, am not that person who slips out of an intimate relationship with no regrets or emotion, see ya later, don’t let the screen door hit ya. I always feel loss and sadness when a relationship ends, even if I was the one who initiated the breakup, and even if the guy was a jerk. If that means I’m too emotional or crazy-lady, I can live with that.  
     

  25. 25
    Rachael

    fiona

    In this case I think they just mean crazy behavior…As in “oh my god she did that? That’s crazy!”

    And yeah…Some women are! My very own best friend had me on her home phone while she full on SCREAMED and cussed out her boyfriend on her cell phone for cheating. “I hope she’s worth it!!!”. Her evidence? His bed smelled different than usual when she was at his place earlier, and she stormed out when (according to her) he couldn’t come up with a good reason. He said “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” According to her this statement was overly defensive.

    Now I love this girl dearly but she was acting completely f*cking batshit crazy!

    Oh and they are still together now. Probably a good year later.  

  26. 26
    Fiona

    OK, Rachael that does sound crazy rather than justifiably upset. I also relate to what Zann is saying about regret. I have never been married but I can’t just move from one emotional connection to another overnight. A month ago a guy who I had been seeing for 3 months who until then had treated me well broke up with me in the middle of the night after going out for dinner, then at his suggestion going home and sharing a bottle of champagne in the fridge. We were supposed to be going away for the weekend the next day for my cousin’s birthday and the hotel had been booked weeks ago. After champagne he informed me out of the blue at 23.30 that he saw no future in our relationship, wasn’t ready for a relationship after his divorce etc. He had been drinking champagne so couldn’t drive home until the next day. I was very upset and emotional but not sure that makes me crazy. I then spent a lot of yesterday feeling upset because I found a pair of sunglasses belonging to him that I offered to return. I was only trying to do the decent thing but I got a message back saying he didn’t like them anyway,wishing me well and telling me he is already seeing someone new so I wished him happiness but frankly, I did not need or want to know that. I can’t just jump from one connection to another like that and it puts me off getting involved again.

  27. 27
    Clare

    To be honest, I think the stereotypes represent what’s different between the sexes, things we don’t understand about the opposite sex.

    For example, I think “stubborn” in men represents that we find them less yielding than women. They may not be stubborn at all, just strong-willed. And “sensitive” often represents men’s experience of women as more emotionally expressive.

    These are stereotypes because they’re not well understood by the opposite sex. Funnily enough, the better you learn to understand the opposite sex, the less “stubborn” men seem, and the less “crazy” women seem.

    Fair enough, some men *DO* have issues, and some women *DO* have issues, but I really think the gold lies in trying to see the world from a different viewpoint. I think that’s the beauty and unparalelled learning curve that is relationships.

  28. 28
    Heather

    The comments about “Plain Jane” and “Nice Guy” make a whole lot of sense.  I was always “Friend Zoned” or told I was “really cool” but because I was quiet, not full of drama, respectful, and bookish, I was always passed over, and it really took a hit on my self-esteem in my 20s.  I felt very sorry for myself and thought wow, guys really suck.  I’m nice, they say they want someone nice, but they go for the bitches. 

    Nowadays as I was saying in an earlier thread, I don’t much care what men think of me.  If they think I’m too bookish, too quiet, not dramatic enough, not pretty enough, then hey, so be it.  I am no longer going to twist myself into a pretzel to make some guy happy, who might not even stick around for a lifetime commitment anyways.  I am who I am, I’ve done work on myself and I do feel better about myself, and there we are.  If a guy doesn’t think I’m good enough, well fair enough, because I think he’s not good enough either. :)

    Although I will say I’m not so sure it’s a lack of “being in touch with our femininity/masculinity” as much as we just might have an easy-going nature.  For the most part, I am pretty laid back and flexible, and my friends will tell you that.  I don’t flip out if they have to cancel plans every now and again, call my friends screaming, etc. etc.  In fact most times if I get irked at my friends, they never know about it, unless it’s something really really egregious.  I figure I have too much stress now as it is, without having other dramas.

    I do find it interesting though when I DO stand up for myself, I’m considered a “bitch” by some guys.  Which is fine, since I consider overly assertive guys, “assholes.”  So there ya go! :)

  29. 29
    Helen

    Did anyone else look at the link Evan posted on state stereotypes? To me, this is the funniest part, especially the “boring states.” Who goes around doing a Google search on “Why is North Dakota so boring?”  Someone would have to be awfully bored to ask that in the first place…

    As for the gender stereotypes: I agree with Mia that people who generalize like this probably had bad experiences with only a small number of individuals who made a larger impression than they should have. These negative stereotypes don’t appeal to me anyway – they’re very reactive and disempowered, placing the blame on others (on an entire half of the population) rather than trying to do something about oneself.  Heck, give me North Dakota any day.

  30. 30
    Julia

    @Heather I was friend zoned in my 20s for the opposite reasons, I was too masculine. I had always been the top student, the kid who always raised their hand so often I want to talk intellectual and state my opinions pretty clearly. Men liked talking to me and hanging out but getting asked out on a date was inconceivable. Meanwhile my friends who just smiled and flirted got all the attention from guys.

    Now I get plenty of attention, at 31 I look about 26, I am pretty and have a decent body but I still fall into the masculine trap on dates. I feel like its mostly their fault however. I work in politics, so men always want to talk politics with me, which is great but by the end of the date it never feels like we got to flirt.

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