The things that we say about each other can truly be damaging, especially if we keep perpetuating gender stereotypes. James Michael Sama reminds us that not all men are the same.
It is no secret that stereotypes, while admittedly sometimes seem to be quite accurate, do not hold true for every member of the group being stereotyped. Some are funny, some are offensive, and some are just aggravating. In discussions and observations I typically hear about how “men are” this or that. More often than not I find myself trying to get the point across that, well, I’m not like that while not trying to sound like I am selling myself to the person.
I know I am not alone, and for that reason I am writing this article for those of us out there who don’t fit the mold, and want others to know it.
We are not all slobs.
Oh yeah, I am just as guilty as the next person of letting clothes pile up or leaving stuff around the house — but when it comes to not cleaning up after ourselves or more…private matters that arise usually when a man and a woman share an apartment, I am as clean as they come.
Not all of us are cavemen who leave our mark everywhere (so to speak) and hope for someone else to clean it up. Some of us understand common courtesy.
We are not all sports fanatics.
By the time I finished high school I had played about every organized sport that was offered. Some were short lived but some lasted a few years. One thing remained the same though — I never had much of an interest in watching them. Women tend to picture groups of men grunting at the TV and chugging their beers on Sunday afternoons when football season starts — but the fact of the matter is some of us just really couldn’t care less.
We are not “intimidated by your attitude.”
Some women will say that if a man does not want to be with someone who has an overbearing personality that he “can’t handle” it, when in reality he probably just isn’t attracted to it – but people never like to admit that they have an unattractive quality (this obviously goes for both genders).
Some of us enjoy being in a loving, caring relationship with a woman who does not pride herself on being a “bad bitch.” Usually partnered up with “he can’t handle me,” leads to the conclusion of: No, he just didn’t want to deal with the attitude.
Not all of us tune you out.
Some men actually listen to, care about, and pay attention to how you feel and what you’re thinking. Believe it or not.
Not all of us are clueless about fashion.
Some of us will actually go shopping with you and not complain about it, either. A lot of us actually do care how we look.
Not all of us cheat.
I know plenty of men who have never cheated in a relationship, myself included. The phrase “all men cheat” fails to account for the fact that some of us actually value a meaningful connection with someone we care about over temporary physical satisfaction.
Not all of us miss the things that “men never notice.”
Did you change your hair? Get your nails done? Some men will actually pay attention to the small details and care enough to let you know that they’ve noticed.
Not all of us are completely out of touch with our emotions.
The idea that emotions “are a female thing” has been perpetuated in our society and are seen as a sign of weakness in men. I stand behind the idea that caring for others is actually a strength, and here are a few reasons why.
We are not all robots void of feeling.
Not all of us are terrible communicators.
Some of us have the ability to sit down and have a meaningful, productive conversation where feelings are exchanged, problems are solved, and relationships are improved.
We are not all the same.
The most overused term that accompanies dissatisfaction with a man is that “all men are the same.” This is, obviously, no more true than saying all women are the same, all Italians are the same, all dogs are the same, or all Guinea Pigs are the same.
If you continue to run into the same problems with men repeatedly, it may be time to reevaluate the types of men you are spending time with. Maybe they are all the same, and branching out away from your “type” may give you a fresh perspective.
As the world becomes more diverse, as the internet opens the doors to communities for every interest on the planet, as social media connects us to millions of people we could never meet without it – we have to move away from the stereotypical image of what a “man’s man” looks like, and understand the nuances each of us have.
And men: We need to understand that the reason why some of these stereotypes are so strong is because there are so many of our fellow men out there perpetuating them. People who claim they are “not like all the other guys,” and then fail to back it up with actions.
A woman will not believe you if you tell her you are different, she will only believe you when you show her.
Photo credit: Greens Lettings/flickr