Monday, April 20, 2015

She Can, He Can't

What comes to mind when you see a man walking around the women's wear aisle of a department store? The guy is a pervert, right?  I blogged about this a while ago.  Women can get away with browsing in men's underwear at Target, men cannot do the same in the women's underwear section.

Lately, I realized there are quite a few things that women can do that men cannot.

For example:
Man can’t stand beside a car with a flat and wait for someone else to fix it.

No, he can't bend over to show off his butt when a car passes, can't look to be near tears, can't even look pensively at the flat tire and try to elicit sympathy. Any guy who would even try those would be hounded the rest of his life by the thought of inadequacy and impotence (yeah, it's a tough club we're in). People who drive by the scene wouldn't even give it a thought, assuming the guy was going to fix it himself.

Man can’t wear shorts into a biker bar

You've probably seen movies where a guy walks into a bar and orders a glass of milk and within a few minutes a bar fight ensues. This is basically the same scenario. It wouldn't matter if it was 100° outside, if a man walks into a tough place in shorts it's a clear sign he wants trouble—and will most likely get it.

Man can’t complain about getting bumped on bus/train

If a man were talking to his buddies and started to complain about someone jostling him on the train the other day, the immediate reaction from his friends would be to ask if he shoved the guy back and if it led to a fight. If he didn't give the appropriate response and continued to complain, the other guys would stare at him in disbelief or would assume he was kidding. More than likely, if a guy did complain about an incident like this, he'd be called one of numerous names used by females to denigrate men (as blogged earlier).

Man can’t cry about anything in public (even though women wish men would show emotions)

Of course, the exception is Speaker of the House Boehner, but every other guy may not cry. A man caught showing such an emotion would forever be branded a non-man and shunned in future social occasions. The exception of course, is when the team you are rooting for in the Super Bowl loses the game by calling the stupidest play in the history of football and loses the game. But that is about the only exception. The odd thing though is that men are probably more emotional than women. We dare not admit it in public though.

Man can’t wear different styles of clothes at work (no colors, floral designs, etc.)

Men's fashion has not changed in several centuries. In the 1800s if a man worked in a bank, he wore a suit and tie. As far as I can tell, the only change since then is that the collar is a little less restrictive. Oh, the tie or lapel might be a little thinner every now and then, but not much else has changed. Casual wear hasn't seen much of a change either.

Men can’t use a girls bike even though it’s physically better for them

This is rather obvious. Men's junk is much more exposed then women's. For some reason whoever designed bikes decided that men should have a bar running from the seat to the handlebar that could basically make a guy squeal if he landed on it after a bump. For the females, that bar gently runs lower. My guess about this design is that in the old days, people believed women may not be athletic enough to get a leg over a bar that high up off the ground. Or maybe it was that women needed to be more demur and not lift their legs up that high. No matter the reason, a guy may not ride a more appropriately designed bike without receiving an overwhelming about of attention and verbal abuse.

On a coed sports team, man cannot slap woman’s butt

As I've blogged countless times, men are much more aggressive and physical than women.  We naturally need to elbow a buddy in the side after a funny joke, slap on the back the guy who did a great job on winning that debate, or in sports, slap their friend on the rear end in excitement after scoring that goal.  If a man were to do that to a female he is not related to/dating, then he can expect to be slapped in the face or relegated to the bench for being a sexist pig.

Man can’t talk trash to a woman without repercussions

This is very similar to the butt slap. Guys love to talk trash to their friends to either get the person's goat or to build up their own self-esteem. We see this mostly at sports events, but often at work or when having a beer at a bar.  If a guy were to do the same to a woman it would surely bring verbal hell fire and maybe result in some nearby hulk coming to the woman's defense.

Man dare not complain about women drivers

 I learned about this the hard way. Although it's fine for women to mention how men never ask directions or drive like a demon from Hades, if a man does this he risks nation-wide ostracism. When I wrote a blog about this, not only did some radical feminists begin to attack me on Twitter and other social media, but acquaintances shunned me and tried to convince others to do the same. The odd part was that I saw the blog as a bit of a joke. No matter, don't do this.
So although most men know about the above actions/events, for the rookie or uninitiated I hope this proves to be helpful. Think of this as just a friendly warning.


  1. Most of these are results of patriarchy and misogyny. The view of women as helpless and the demonization of femininity are inherently misogynistic. Patriarchy, ironically, hurts men too. However many of the "advantages" you cite are not things women perceive as such.

    1) I have had my car break down many times, and never has anyone, man or woman, stopped to help. I do not know a single woman that would "bend over to show of her butt" in such a case. If a woman is stranded on the side of the road and a strange man comes up to her period, even if he's trying to help, most women I know would be afraid rather than relieved. Here you are, with no means of escape and a man who might know that and hurt you. This is besides the fact that Anyone should learn how to change a flat because it's common sense.

    2) I can assure you that should a woman (for some reason) want to go to a biker bar, and if she were to wear shorts, she would be sexually harassed. That doesn't seem to be a perk to me. The fact that a man wearing shorts would is a result of homophobia, which, in this instance, is also something that stems from misogyny because the man would be perceived as exhibiting feminine traits. The demonization of femininity is a misogynist.

    3) Crying in public; again, perceived as a feminine behavior, which is unacceptable in a patriarchal society.

    4) The only reason womens' bikes are different is because women used to wear long dresses. As a woman cyclist, I can tell you that the dropped bars on womens' bikes are largely impractical unless you're just riding a cruiser. The structural integrity is compromised, which makes biking at high speeds ridiculous because it wobbles. I don't know why a man would want to use a women's bike, but the fact that he might feel uncomfortable doing so is, again, a result of patriarchal aggression and misogyny.

    5) It is unacceptable to touch someone's butt without their permission. What man would fault his daughter for being angry that a man touched her butt without her consent? This is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable. In addition to that, the post that you cited where you promote the degradation of the way women socialize is, frankly, disgusting.

    6) Why would you want to trash talk a woman? Really? What is the point?

    7) Your acquaintances probably shunned because that post, wether it was a joke or not, certainly doesn't seem like a joke when combined with posts touting opinions shared by vocal sexists. This, in turn, makes you appear to be a misogynist.

  2. Whoops, it appears I missed some.
    -If I saw a man in the underwear section I would assume he is either buying it for a woman or for himself. Either way, who cares? I have never even heard of any cases of a man being followed by security, let alone anyone caring enough to put him on YouTube. This strikes me as paranoid and something that men are more likely to judge other men for than anything else.

    -It's annoying to be jostled on transportation. I don't know any women that are so bothered by it that it is a conversation they have with anyone else, but we certainly talk about the sexual assault and harassment we face on public transport on a daily basis.

  3. Thanks for your comments Raquel. Very thoughtful and insightful. These are just observations of things I've seen or experienced and don't have a comment one way or the other whether they are right or wrong. Hmm, don't think I ever called them advantages. They are just differences in experiences and behaviors. I will note that you must not be a sports person since you don't understand the nature of or reason for butt slaps and trash talk--but that's not a bad thing for male or female.

  4. Men and boys also don't get to wear dresses. At formal events women can wear little black dresses if it's hot but men have to wear hot clothes (kilts being one possible exception). And boys dressing up as girls for Halloween also get in trouble.

    Besides clothing, men also don't get very much variety in hair styles at work. (My brother learned to wear a short-hair wig for job interviews at least.)

    And a lot of things have social meanings for men, but women can just do it--make-up, long hair, maybe even earrings.

    And I suspect men are more likely to get harassed by police.

    I only disagree with one of yours--I love trash talking on the ultimate frisbee field. But that's just my life and maybe because I was eased into it. "I'm all over you like mustard on a corndog."

    Also, you think one thing men can't do is get asked out. I almost agree and that really stinks. I have asked men out before, but it seems like women asking men out peaked in my generation (at only 25% of the time instead of the 50% it should be) and then plummeted again for some reason. Ugh.

    Also there's pregnancy and all those related issues of course.


    Like Rachel, I've heard that the lower bar on bikes is for dresses and that the higher bar is ideal because it's more structurally sound. But unlike Rachel, I prefer the lower bar because then when I lose control of my bike and it starts sliding sideways down the hill, it's easy to just get off. Ahem, I mean it's easier to get on and off in general.

    1. Hi Debbie,
      Thanks for making a comment. So many times I write these blogs, thinking it might raise some ire or get some interest (like my cop sidesteps) and I don't hear anything. So it's appreciated. Men's fashion really bothers me largely because I hate wearing neckties. I think they're pretty goofy and very uncomfortable. So I wear one only twice a year--at our college graduation ceremony. As for the bike thing, you and Rachel might be right, but don't doubt that the concept that women must be "dainty" played a part too. In sport history we have learned that women were not allowed to participate in most sports because it was believed they'd harm their child-bearing abilities. Not so surprisingly, black women were not given this restriction! American history has quite a few blemishes.