We live in a world that unfortunately tells us, because we were born with a certain thing between our legs, we are obligated to be a certain person. We even have to like certain pens, for God’s sake. But these assumptions are clearly just that — myths that we are taught are universal truths and which we often apply to each other, whether we realize it or not. And though all gender-based misconceptions are irritating, the magical Gaby Dunn and I found a few that stick out as particularly egregious.
1. Men always want sex, no matter what.
“Oh, my god, men are totally more controlled by the head in their pants than the one on their necks! Lolololol! #pervs” And with that, we have the general reasoning we use when we make the unfair but all-too-confirmed-in-media judgment that men are essentially penises with inconvenient bodies attached. Aside from the obvious implications that this leads to about men always consenting to sex (even when they don’t), this myth puts untold pressure on men to perform sexually in every. single. scenario. If a man has a difficult time when with a new girl… welp, she must be a heinous bridge troll, or he must be an impotent loser, because a real man never has trouble getting it up! He’s just an erection vending machine! Only a total uggo would ever make him not want it. And if he should happen to be less-than-perfectly-endowed? Public shaming! Duh.
2. Women shouldn’t (or can’t) pay.
If you are a man, and you are looking forward to taking a woman out this Friday night, well, you had better be prepared to take out a serious bank loan. This one is all on you, buddy. Apparently, women are incapable — nay, offended by the very prospect — of having to shell out a few dollars and possibly go halfsies on a romantic outing. God forbid she even take the check for herself. This idea, rooted in the simple principle of a man “taking care” of a woman, even if she earns the same or more than he does, is one that simply has to go. It’s 2012, the economy is a carnival of horrors, and whoever can foot the bill should be doing so. And there’s also a certain pride in being able to treat someone — why deny anyone the pleasure of doing so? There’s no rule that says a man can’t take his girl out, but there shouldn’t be a rule that he has to.
3. Men can’t do basic domestic tasks.
Have you ever seen a yogurt commercial? Or a Swiffer commercial? Or a Glade commercial? Or a Stouffer’s commercial? Basically according to (mostly) commercials, men are dumb. They can’t do anything around the house and if you, a lady, leave for even one second, they will blow up the toaster and put bricks in the blender. They are ineffectual at household tasks. They are constantly perplexed by cleaning and cooking and it’s just safer to have them sit on the couch with their beer, football and tiny lizard brains while we sophisticated ladies with our cleaning and cooking secrets take care of everything. Uh, what? No way. Men can bake. Men can cook dinner. Men can sweep and mop and scrub. What the hell, commercials? What the hell?
4. Ladies don’t curse.
Fuck you, man. There is absolutely no reason that peppering your conversations with curse words (or smothering them in swear-filled ranch dressing) makes you any less of a woman. In what alternate universe does inserting a “shit” or a “god damn” to an otherwise hum-drum, church-approved sentence negate your femininity? What, because you are a “lady,” your life is relegated to fainting on ornate couches and hiding your coquettish giggles behind your lace-trimmed fan? And what if I don’t want to be a lady? Frankly, I prefer to be a dame, or a broad — but even if I did want to be a lady, the idea that zesting a sentence up with a blue word would make that an impossibility is an insult to intelligent conversation. Sure, if your entire vocabulary is reduced to Jersey Shore-esque bleep sounds, you might want to pick up a dictionary and brush up on your communication skills. But being inarticulate knows no gender, and cursing certainly isn’t confined to the linguistic arsenal of manhood. Bitch.
5. Women aren’t funny.
Shut up. Just shut up. Some people are funny, some people aren’t. You’re an out of date, old-fashioned idiot. Stop talking. Bye.
6. Men only like “simple” girls.
For some reason, we’ve gotten it in our heads of late that most men are looking for a woman with a range of emotion, thought, and physical expression similar to that of an old sack of potatoes. “Don’t wear too much makeup,” we say, “Don’t act too crazy,” “Don’t dress up too much,” Don’t be too loud.” It’s all in this grand, quiet dumbing-down of women everywhere, to be softly pummeled into this vague feminine shape of natural, easy-going simplicity. A woman should be low-maintenance, require very little if any primping, and be generally “down” with whatever a man wants. Otherwise, she’s just an irritating bitch who’s taking too much effort. But, aside from being such an insult to the varied and interesting characters women possess — what a slap in the face to men! As though men are all these feeble-minded clones looking for a bedside table of a partner, someone who doesn’t challenge or excite or move them in the least. How many women have walked around thinking that they were “too smart,” “too strange,” or “had too much to say” to ever find a man. And how many men longed to find that girl who would thrill them in new, interesting ways? What a sad state of miscomprehension so many of us live in.
7. Women only dress to impress men.
You’re right, women literally get up every single morning, tear through their closet on the verge of tears, screaming about how not a single one of their cardigans looks worth buying a drink for. Or maybe, women dress themselves for a whole host of reasons — because they like those particular clothes, because they want to impress other women, for a job, for a particular kind of activity, or maybe just because walking around naked is illegal. The idea that men are the only reason for women to put any effort in is, aside from being insulting, highly impractical. Could you imagine having to make yourself physically appealing every single time you wanted to make a hangover run to the corner store to get some coffee and donuts? Life would cease to be worth living.
8. Men are terrified of commitment.
How in the world is this a fair assessment? Is every man suddenly just hitting an invisible brick wall in the middle of an otherwise incredibly fulfilling relationship, turning around, and proclaiming “Nay. I cannot go a step farther, as I can feel my ever-erect Penis of Emotional Unavailability shrinking back into my torso from all of this shrill intimacy.” At least in my experience, that does not happen. Men end relationships for all kinds of reasons and while, yes, some of them may break things off because they long to sow their wild oats — so do some women! Running around proclaiming that “Ugh, men just don’t want to commit” is about as productive as saying “Ugh, all women are just trying to get married to the next man-like object that will have them.” Although we do say that. Maybe we should just stop trying to say how each half of the world’s population views moving in together.
9. Women don’t get tech/gaming/geekdom.
If a woman is using a computer it must mean she’s typing like, a Sex and the City spec script or looking up nail designs on Etsy. She couldn’t possibly be gaming or running any other type of sophisticated program. Is her computer pink? Well, how will she know it’s “for girls?” The stereotype that women don’t understand technology is weird to me. Women use technology all the time — just like men do, just like people do. There are just as many confused dudes at the Apple Genius bar as there are befuddled ladies. And women play video games and like them. And women are geeks. Why does geekdom even need gendering? People are nerds, geeks, dorks, whatever. Because all that means is they like things and are enthusiastic and if you’re a person and you’re not that? I feel sad for you.
10. Men don’t wear makeup/dresses/skirts/girl stuff!
Umm, this gorgeous James Franco shoot for Candy Magazine would like to politely disagree with you.