There are plenty of social outlets perpetuating the belief that men are not as emotional as women. Depending on who’s holding the conversation, some even hold the belief that men are not as deep, caring, compassionate or smart as women. The modern woman is looking for a man who will be able to relate to her, care about her heart as much as her body or ability to cook, and be able to keep up with her and her accomplishments and aspirations. All the while, women are waiting for men to display their inherent shallowness and incapacity to display or handle emotions.
I haven’t been married for long, just over five years, but in that time, I have realized that most of what is portrayed and widely believed about men regarding emotion is false. It simply isn’t true. Most of my life I had believed that men were essentially animals, unable to control their sexuality, incapable of resisting sexual temptation, and completely uninterested in any real connection with a woman. Although I knew plenty of men, who showed just the opposite, the prevailing thought that men were guided mostly by their penis overshadowed the truth displayed by the men around me.
Here’s a major problem with this way of thinking. It is equivalent, in my mind, to stereotyping and pigeon-holing women into roles in society and relationship regardless of the abilities and interests of the individual. After all, not every girl hates to watch sports, wants to be a mother, or enjoys wearing makeup and high heels. Every single woman is unique. To argue otherwise is ridiculous. For too long, the belief that women were ruled only by their emotions, incapable of logic, and irrational problem solvers kept women out of jobs and careers where they have made major headway today. It wasn’t that women were truly incapable. It was that society simply decided that no matter how hard you worked, how intelligent, or passionate or gifted, a woman was only cut out for a couple of things.
Fast forward to today. Women date and marry men with the belief that they hold all the emotional strength. They are the ones who are capable, in touch and excellent communicators. Men are helpless without them. That belief is dehumanizing. It is perpetuated as we raise boys believing they are less emotional when in fact societal norms push their emotions aside because they are boys.
I can’t recall the countless times I’ve heard girls call a guy “creepy,” simply because he liked them and they didn’t feel the same way. Men are continually shamed, disregarded, and dishonored in relationships with women, and much of it seems to stem from the belief that men have a heart that is somehow smaller, less capable of feeling, and more primal and sexual. Instead of taking on personal responsibility to communicate expectations, hurt feelings, and disagreements, many women jump straight to anger, regarding all men as incapable of actually understanding them or their deepest emotions.
Despite long perpetuated beliefs that women have the greater biological capacity for intimacy, emotions, and relationship, brain science shows that men are equally capable regarding relational capacity. Culturally we fall into different roles. Many men have been taught for their entire lives that they are not allowed to show emotions and that the more emotional, the more feminine, and the less acceptable or manly they are. This results in men holding in a lot of their emotional stress, expressing it only in anger or manifesting in untreated anxiety and depression.
It keeps them from building strong relationships with loved ones and community with other men. I’m no scientist, but I can only speculate that this may partly contribute to the higher rates of addiction, suicide, and violence that we see in men. Women can genuinely hurt men in a relationship, but they might never know it. A man may not feel that he can truly express how vulnerable he feels, but they feel it all the same.
So for all my single friends, to all the women out there who are holding men to a double standard based on a belief that he doesn’t care as much, doesn’t feel as much, or isn’t as human: he is. He feels it when you think he’s creepy just for complimenting you or putting himself out there. Asking you out on a date is hard, so put yourself in his shoes and be pleasant about it. That also means not leading him on and being honest about where you’re at in the relationship.
See the guys in your life for who they are instead of assigning generalizations to them that hinder relationship unnecessarily. All of us hate that and feel the negative effects they have on our relationships as a whole. Men want to be loved, feel the same feelings you do, and desire and need intimate relationships with the people around them. If you have real men in your life, be they brothers, friends, spouses or boyfriends, treat them with kindness. Treat them with dignity. Treat them the way you would want to be treated.
What do you think? Do some of these negative perceptions of men cause problems in relationships?