Stereotypes Number 1 – End the Stigma

Image from the internet. It was in too many places for me to credit properly. If this is your photo, please let me know!

Image from the internet. It was in too many places for me to credit properly. If this is your photo, please let me know!

The thing about our culture is this: We LOVE stereotypes. It’s “American” to pigeonhole people. It’s part of what we see and do, how we react to others, and how we make our basic assumptions about others.

I’m going to talk about some of the harder ones over the next several days. You are all allowed to hate my guts. Fair warning though, flaming comments will be deleted, after I read them carefully for valid points. I’m not trying to censor people. I’m trying to make a positive point. Moving on.

“Guys don’t have self-esteem issues. ”

After my last post, I got a couple of interesting emails. I deleted both of them without responding. This is my response. Guys have self-esteem issues. They have self-image issues too. When you see a guy look “naturally” handsome, it’s because he worked for it. The common concept of “handsome” in the media today is overwhelmingly produced. Guys don’t all look like that, they just don’t. We go too long between haircuts, and we forget to trim our nails. We get self-conscious, and we are afraid of rejection, too.

I personally smell funny. I take huge steps to not bother other people with that. Creams, lotions, soaps, cologne, you name it. I make myself not smell bad, because I don’t want to be rejected. I also have a LOT of body hair. I have to shave my upper arms to feel comfortable wearing my favorite shirts. Because I have so little hair on my arms and face, people sometimes visibly react to the hair on my upper arm, so I clean it up. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to say that, and this is, well, Terminally-freaking-Intelligent. This is my blog, and it’s scary to say that, so there’s some perspective.

My point is this: Every guy has something, just like girls. Our things are just different. Don’t judge people who work hard to look “too good,” it’s a lot of work, and it’s worth it, because we feel better because we do it.

What prejudices bother you? Comment below, I’d love to hear them! Carry on.

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  1. I think in a lot of ways, it’s *harder* to be Ken than to be Barbie. Our stereotype loving culture likes to think of men who are concerned about their appearance to be less manly. Women are expected to groom their hair (from styling what’s on their head to tweezing eyebrows to shaving or waxing all sorts of things) and be concerned about their scent, but a man doing the same things makes him not a “real” man (unless he’s dousing himself in Axe to get sex, because that’s all men think about right?). But men need to do all the same body care that women do…hair grows and armpits sweat…and to do it for their own physical and mental health and comfort. Both genders are being lied to–women are sold an idea of beauty that is literally unobtainable (because it’s Photoshop), while men are expected to be Brad Pitt without the benefit of “unmanly” grooming. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been told directly that guys don’t have self-esteem/image issues. To act like “men don’t have those feels” diminishes us all as humans.

    • I have to agree completely. Good point on the “Both genders are being lied to.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.

  2. I’d agree that it’s harder to be a man. As a female, I’ve always known I’ve had it easier. I know I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the right circles where women had MORE opportunity, not less, but women have more options than men, and those options are more social acceptable than the non-traditional choices that men sometimes want to make.

    Of course, it was harder to be a woman 50+ years ago than it is today. But it wasn’t easier to be a man back then. So many expectations and assumptions…

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