Do we cut women more slack than men?

And if she decides to not to abort and keep the baby she’s stands a very good chance of retaining custody (especially if the “father” doesn’t want custody) and her “victim” will be on the hook for child support. If a male teacher were to “rape” one of his students and get her pregnant she’d have the option of aborting or putting it up for adoption; somehow I doubt the male teacher would get far suing for custody.

But there’s at least an equal amount of behavior that we tolerate from men, but would see as childish from a woman. Do you really believe that it’s a desirable goal to make men and women generally indistinguishable? To acknowledge a difference does not require assigning a value to one above the other.

More specifically, if there’s behavior we see as childish in men, it’s because in our experience they exhibit that behavior as children and stop doing so as they mature. Why is it necessarily good that they do so? At the core of your question is the assumption that what we expect of males, we should expect of females. You seem to consider expectations derived from observation of men the ideal for female behavior. Why?

I absolutely agree with this and it drives me crazy. I think to a large extent it undermines the efforts of the feminist movement, that in general society gives a “pass” to girls acting ditzy, weak, immature, etc. We find female drunkenness more excusable than male drunkenness. Women are allowed to be more controlling or irrational in relationships, etc.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is that we accept vulnerability and helplessness a lot more in women than men. I’ve read countless relationship threads on the Dope in which it appears that the men are providing their significant support in ways that most people should be self-sufficient, both in terms of material goods and emotional support. I can think of so many examples where a man says something like, “You know, I really don’t like chick flicks, but I go to them with my wife because it makes her happy.” I seriously don’t understand this line of reasoning. How on earth can it make you happy to drag someone to a movie they don’t want to see? I rarely hear the opposite, “I hate horror movies, but I go with my husband because he likes me too.”

I think in general women in our society are accepted, by themselves and others, to be more irrational, weaker, more vulnerable and more helpless than men. It really upsets me.

Okay, this is probably going to be really controversial . . . but . . . I don’t understand why we give pregnant women such a “pass” as well. I mean, they chose to get pregnant, and they want to have a baby. I know it benefits the man in the relationship with much less work on his part, but still . . . pregnant women, usually, are that way because they want the prize at the end. But we treat them like they’re gods or martyrs or something.

To be honest, I kind of feel like there is a “cult of pregnancy,” especially lately. It seems like women love talking about and sharing their experiences. There are so many industries built around it. I’m not sure if it’s because it allows the women involved to feel important and significant and experienced, or if they just want to bond. But I mean, menstruation is also a reproductive process that is unique to females. How many message boards and magazines are devoted to that?

What kind of behavior do we tolerate from men that would be childish from a woman?

I don’t think that male behavior is or should be the ideal. Just that I think that being a responsible and thoughtful adult should be traits that all people aspire to. I don’t really see the point in gendering traits since there are always exceptions. I don’t think that most men or most women exhibit the negative traits all the time either. Why not encourage ourselves as a society to strive for the highest goal?

Physical aggression.
Hanging out in bars with friends post children
Reluctance to “babysit” their own children
Not knowing how to do basic housekeeping (cook a few meals, keep a bathroom clean).

Last summer I was leaving a small shopping center. A woman was standing by the car next to mine, pouting. She had a flat tire, which I ended up changing for her.

A few weeks later, same parking lot, I see a man in the same basic situation. He has his jack, tire iron, spare, etc laying on the ground, but he is just standing there. I offer him use of my tools (figuring his jack was not working or something similar). He says no thanks, the problem is he has no idea what to do. I offer him use of my phone to call a tow truck/triple A, whatever. He declined, saying he had no money. I wished him luck and headed for home.

Do we cut women more slack? I don’t know about “we”, but I certainly do.

snip :smiley: sorry

Is there an equivalent of the madonna/whore thing for men?

It depends on what you mean by giving a pass.
Are pregnant women more likely to be having hormonal changes that can lead to wacked out emotions? Yes
Are pregnant women under additional physical stress, and may have problems bending/lifting/standing for long periods? Yes
Do some pregnant women milk this for way more sympathy/perks than are really called for? Yes.

As for message boards and magazines: It used to be that women had local mothers/neighbors/friends that had been there, done that. Is this weight gain normal? Why are my ankles swelling? What if I can’t breastfeed? That support system has been replaced by the internet for a lot of people. Rather than walking up to Aunt Sally after church and asking, you go to a messageboard and post the question/

Well, there was that thread about the woman whose boyfriend couldn’t/wouldn’t have sex with her and the overwhelming response by all but a few was that he was stressed with work and scared that she might be sick so she should cut him a little slack. We all get cut slack when we are in extreme situations.

Soldiers are given quite a lot of respect and slack that wouldn’t be given to an average Joe because of the extreme situation they are in for work. Women who are pregnant are in a similar situation where we give them a lot more respect and slack because of their extreme situation. There is nothing wrong with understanding that someone is in an extremely difficult situation and treating them with more care or respect because of it.

I recall an amusing exchange from the hit TV show 30 Rock:

Liz Lemmon: “Jack, do you feel you need to treat me differently because I am a woman?”
Jack Donnaghy: “Well, I sometimes feel I have to provide you with a bit more coddling and sensitivity than I would with a man in your position.”
LL: “What!?? That’s ridiculous! Give me an example!”
JD: “Well…NOW comes to mind.”

Some pregnancies can be physically very, very difficult and there isn’t generally a way to tell beforehand if you get an easy one or a difficult one. Some pregnant women absolutely do milk this for more than they are called for but there’s also a tendency to extrapolate from the easy pregnancy of <insert someone> to everyone else.

This absolutely. I had very different symptoms with my two pregnancies and I think that’s fairly common.

You see, I would have done the same thing, but not for the same reason. The guy who has all his stuff out looks like he wants to do it himself. He’s not reaching out, and you’re having to do all the heavy lifting to get him to respond. The woman, on the other hand, is crying–which is a universal sign of trying to get someone to help you. I’ve known guys who cried, and you better bet I helped them out.

I wonder if that has more to do with it. Women are more socialized to seek help and empathy, while men are socialized to handle it all themselves. How you choose to communicate has a lot to do with how others respond to you.

She was pouting, not crying.

Interestingly enough, the pouting woman gets help from a man, but she’s likely to get run over by another woman.

Most people engage in behaviors that reap maximum rewards. If a woman likes the benefits she gets by crying and looking helpless, and people are willing to reward that behavior, of course she’s going to do it. If a man likes the benefits he gets by being threatening and agressive, and people are willing to reward him for them, of course he’s going to do it.

There is no question that a large number of people reward behaviors in some that would be unacceptable in others - a man crying and acting helpless is as much an object of comtempt to many as a woman being loud and agressive. I would certainly like to see more equitable treatment for the sexes, barring unusual circumstances like age and disabilities, but when kids are trained up with a very definite social system of rewards and punishments, most are going to choose the path of greatest gain.

I was not a cute kid, so I didn’t get much early slack for crying and pouting. As an adult I do not tend to engage in stereotypically “weak female” behaviors. If I had been cute and rewarded for helplessness, maybe I would have learned to use it to get things I had to get in other ways. I like to think not, and certainly not everyone who was a girly-girl or very boyish boy does, but there does seem to be a general trend to reenforce certain sex-based stereotypes from very early in life.

It doesn’t matter, only the men would know how to change her tire anyway.


You’re a better man than I am. If the dude with the flat had been teary, I wouldn’t have even offered tools/phone.

  1. Yes, being “tough” and getting into fights is considered acceptable for a man. But usually only in certain cultures that are on the lower end of the economic ladder. And in that culture, the women are often no strangers to fighting, either.

  2. I see nothing wrong with this - men with children shouldn’t go out to bars? :confused:

  3. I’m no fan of husbands who don’t split child chores 50/50, but there have been studies that show that men become afraid to pitch in when the mom demands everything be done “her way” - they’re afraid of screwing up and being nagged at/yelled at by the mom, so they don’t do anything

  4. Again, I think a lot of this is perception-based. Certainly, any idiot could clean a bathroom, but if it’s not done “right” (i.e. the way the wife does it) then they get yelled at.

Did he come right out and ask for help, though (and would you have provided it if he had)? It’s hard to gauge the situation, but refusing to ask for help right out could also be seen as something conditioned into him as ‘un-manly.’