Patriarchal societies are interesting when you consider the nitty gritty elements of gender roles and the things we find acceptable for both men and women.
There are things in North American society that we deem to be acceptable for men but unacceptable for women even though men and women aren’t really that different. Nevertheless, North American society is becoming more tolerant and progressive as time goes on, so maybe the things we consider weird right now won’t be so weird in a decade or two.
And even though society may not be progressing in a way that is beneficial to certain individuals it is important to remember that there are individual people who live progressively and are making strides and efforts to be more inclusive and knock down double standards. On the AskReddit board a user posted a thread posing the question of ‘What can men get away with that women can’t?’ The responses were pretty astounding and the thread was filled with a variety of stories and opinions on the differences of expectations between men and women.
1. “As a man if I’m lazy I’ll just roll out of bed in gym shorts and the same shirt I wore to sleep, grab my keys, wallet and go right to my car and run errands. But most girls I know would be mortified if they did that and can’t even imagine doing that at all. There’s so much pressure on women to look pretty all the time.” (HarrysonTubman)
2.“Wearing the same clothes as a woman isn’t entirely looked down upon but it is a lot harder. Guys get to have 5 shirts and 2 pants and that’s enough clothing for a month. No one even notices if they wear the same thing over and over again, but for women it’s different. You get comments like ‘didn’t you wear that sweater yesterday’ even if it was last week or something.” (Darkmetroidz)
3. “My boyfriend loves going to the pub and chatting the way with older men. He can talk to them so easily and it’s not viewed as weird or inappropriate. Unfortunately there’s never a public room full of tipsy older women that I could casually chat with about anything and everything.” (RageStreak)
4. “Men often go to bars and just sit alone to drink. It’s showcased in the media via TV shows, movies, or books but you hardly ever see with women. I haven’t seen it much and as a woman, I’m doing it right now and getting stares from all the other men and groups of friends in this place.” (MegiLeigh14)
5. “Despite the fact that hair grows naturally on women’s faces, it is somehow socially unacceptable for them to keep it there. It’s practically seen as some sort of horrible, atrocious thing despite the fact that it’s a natural bodily function. If hair wasn’t meant to be on women’s faces it wouldn’t grow there.” (CapitanKurq)
6. “If a woman is wearing a questionable shirt her friends will probably say ‘oh, that’s cute!’ and encourage her to be confident in her choice even if she’s feeling a little iffy about it. But if a guy shows up to a gathering wearing a porkpie hat you know that his friends are going to clown on him and roast him in public.” (silvergun_superman)
7. “For whatever reason going shirtless in public is still taboo for women even though a lot of countries allow it by law. Society tells women that it’s inappropriate for them to be comfortable half naked, but it doesn’t really make much sense because women are sexualized anyway. Although, I think I speak on behalf of all men when I say, “Women, we don’t mind. Go for it.” (KyserTheHun)
8. “As soon as I settled into my career, my extended family have gotten into wondering when I’ll be popping out babies. Like, they even legitimately skipped about asking where my husband is, they just want me to have kids. I’m single, new to my career, just trying to pay off my loans, and the notion that babies are not on the forefront of my mind baffles them! It seems like this notion that I’m just expected to be a mother. It’s ridiculous because men aren’t just expected to be fathers.” (Anodesu)
9. “Men have the ability to pee inconspicuously anywhere they want without either having their urine drip down their thighs or having to pop into a squat. Do men even understand how lucky they are that they don’t even need toilet paper after going pee or having to wipe at all for urination?!” (melodic_melancholic)
10. “Being a woman who doesn’t smile a lot in the workplace is hard. I have what people call Resting B***h Face and I’m calm, direct, and serious in nature as well. I try to be as professional as possible but many people think I’m a stuck up because I don’t smile excessively and talk a lot.”
11. “I am a woman who enjoys sports and video games and my husband couldn’t care less about sports. I won an authentic football jersey in a raffle, got a cool display frame for it, and hung it in my office. Yet, somehow, every new person that visits the house is like ‘oh, wow your husband must be a huge fan if they own that,’ and i’m like ‘nope, i am the fan and I won that in a raffle.’ They always look at me like I have two heads. Why can’t women enjoy sports? Or video games? What’s so wrong with that?” (PhoenixRising625)
12. “Whenever I try to talk men will start a sentence like they were speaking into silence. Once, I interrupted a male coworker and the room would have been a lot less hostile if I had somehow murdered an innocent person instead. It was really a problem that I spoke up as a woman but they do it all the time in the opposite manner.” (thatJainaGirl)
13. “As a man I’m never terrified to walk home alone at night but I know this isn’t the case for women. I actually cannot imagine being completely terrified just to take even the shortest walk home but that’s the reality when you’re a woman, you just don’t know what’s going to happen if you do.” (Bennystone2013)
14. Society allows men to be more focused on their career rather than the idea of settling down and having a family. When a woman does this society paints her as cold, callous, and selfish but when a man does it, he’s regarded as intelligent and ambitious because having a family would ‘hold him back’ meanwhile having a family makes women ‘worthy of praise’.” (nightlock7)
15. “Sterilization comes with a double standard depending on your gender. For men they’re allowed to get snipped at the age of 18 and they simply lay down on a table and within minutes they’re done. They often receive no questions about their decisions and no pressure to rethink it. For women it’s a huge battle, especially if you’re younger and often downright impossible. You’ll be told you’re too young to do it or that your mind will change as you age.
And if somehow you jump through all the hoops it means you’ve paid thousands of dollars just to get a procedure that should be your own choice. (Honestly, I don’t even care about the cost but I just want a free choice on what I can do with my own body).” (vera-chimera)
16. “The standard of raising children is so low for men that I honestly believe that they should be offended. If my husband watches our son for two hours while I go out for dinner once a month, he’s the world’s greatest dad. We went out to eat once and my husband finished up while I attended to our son, he then offered to take him back to the car while I finished.
Our waitress came back and actually said that I was lucky to have a man watch my baby. My husband and I both wear our wedding bands clear as day and my son looks like my husband… it’s ridiculously frustrating and when anything is perceived to be ‘wrong’ about our parenting then I get all the blame while my husband is absolved.” (ScimitarJane)
17. “I fart around my fiancee pretty much constantly due to how comfortable I am around her, but she’s never farted around me. Just yesterday I thought I heard her fart and I was absolutely aghast. I am aware that farting happens and that women fart (obviously) but after five years of absolutely never hearing her do it, it was pretty shocking!” (KJdaslknv)
18. “Men are granted the freedom to be immature and carefree about pretty much everything including cleanliness without any social repercussions. There have been many things I couldn’t do because, as a woman, I was supposed to ‘know better’ and ‘be the grown up.’ In the past when my apartment has been a little messy and I have guests some people will make comments about how I should’ve cleaned up before they came (FYI these are usually older relatives).
But, my now-husband, before we moved in together always had a messy apartment and no one judged him for it. Even now he’ll try to reassure me that no one cares if our house is messy, this is because he doesn’t realize that I’ll be shamed for it if it is.” (murder_kitty)
19. “I’m a female but my sweat glands in my underarms are overly large so even when I’m cold, I’m sweating. I’ve tried every single deodorant and antiperspirants on the market and they just don’t work. My doctor has told me that they only way to make it stop is to get boxtox injections but that’s not practical so I have to carefully choose my outfits and buy specific fabrics that won’t show my sweat or stain after two wears. I shower every single day, sometimes more than once, and i’m very clean but women walking around with huge pit stains looks grosser than men doing it and it sucks.” (brandyls17)
20. “The first time I used couchsurfing, the man proposed I simply moved in with him and his son (age 4) within a couple of hours even though I said I was just travelling. That very same night he came to the room door shirtless asking what I was up to, I said I’d be leaving in 10 minutes with a friend. He then said, ‘there’s a lot one can do in 10 minutes’ wink, wink. That was the last time I ever used couchsurfing. I feel like men can use it without feeling anxious.” (_Risings)
21. “Men get to have pants with actual pockets in them women get pants that look like they have pockets and when you put them on your body they’re nonfunctional or they’ve been sewn shut for whatever reason/aesthetic. Just once I want to find a pocket in a pair of women’s pants that’s not a fake one!” (catalit)
22. “Women have a harder time dating people who are much younger or shorter than them. My daughter is 6’1” but my advice to her was: If you like someone ask them out to coffee. It isn’t going to be easiest thing you do but from my own experience (6’ tall) the guys who approached me weren’t the kind I wanted to date anyway. At least making the first move, you know if he’s the kind of guy you want around.” (DeadSheepLane)
23. “My older sister has a Masters in HR. She has 18 years experience in the field and handles payroll for the company she works for. The guys at her job expected her to make coffee and handle all incoming call. She told them, “I’m not a secretary nor am I a barista.” They proceeded to ostracize her. It continues to this day and she has no idea what to do. I wish I could walk into her office and just Tazmanian devil their butts.” (Weavesnatchin)
24. “So my partner and I have literally the exact same Masters degree but when people talk about something in our field they want to know his opinion and don’t even bother asking mine. Not sure if this is a general thing though but it’s definitely a pet peeve and annoys me greatly. Both opinions are valuable.” (motherofamouse)