5 Gender stereotypes about women that are actually about men
Stereotypes exist because they reduce the amount of brain processing we do when we have to interact with other people — the more lazy assumptions we can make about them right off the bat, the less we actually have to consider who they are and what their back-story is. In other words, they make it easier for us to be douchebags.
Women are subjected to these stereotypes all the time, both in the media and in real life. We're all meek, nurturing, small, motherly, dependent, emotional and have the libidos of anesthetized sea cucumbers, right?
Not only are stereotypes about women frequently wrong, they're often diametrically so, describing not just the behaviors and beliefs of females, but those of men.
Don't take our word for it though — plenty of research that flips the script of female stereotypes has been conducted in the past few decades, with the general finding that women are not who we think they are — rather, men are the people we think women should be. Oh, the pulsating irony!
Here are few stereotypes about women that do just that.
That they're more emotional
Women are pretty emo, sure. But, according to a recent study, they're actually far less emo than their penis-packing male counterparts.
According to the study's researchers, men responded twice (twice!) as much as women did to content that was deemed "heartwarming," "exciting," "blissful" or "funny" with physiological signs of emotion such as damp eyes, increased heart rate and shallower breathing. And while they reported they weren't feeling these things, how their bodies reacted to mushy content told a different story.
This lead the researchers to posit that men do feel all the feels — more so than women sometimes. The only difference is men hide these signs better — the same study reported that 67 percent of men are way more emotional than they let on ... they just don't feel comfortable showing it.
Women, meanwhile, tend to have carte blanche when it comes to emotional expression, giving the false impression that they somehow feel things harder.
Not so. They're just socially allowed to tear up every time they see a squirrel that looks like it's having a bad day.
That they get attached too easily
One of the dumbest misconceptions about women is that they're like relationship-seeking missiles, catapulting themselves at anything that moves with fanciful three-word declarations and a burning desire to end a man's precious bachelor-hood. It seems like the every guy's worst nightmare is the chick who has the audacity to text them after a one-night-stand, or the girlfriend that leaves a commitment-signaling toothbrush at their place after only three years of dating.
Well, that's funny considering studies show that heterosexual men tend to develop romantic attachments and fall in love — or at least believe they have — much faster than women do.
One recent study examined the relationship practices and beliefs of 172 college students, making the contradictory finding that "Men reported falling in love earlier and expressing it earlier than women." Women, on the other hand, were found to take relationships slower, and go about it more deliberately than men. Ladies, it seems, may not be the relationship-rabid fools for love that Hallmark and Lifetime would like us to think they are.
This finding totally contradicted students' preconceived notions, psychologist Marissa Harrison, who co-authored the study, told Broadly. "Women are assumed to be emotional; sometimes overly so, or rash. Both men and women in our study presumed that women would fall in love and say 'I love you' faster than men."
"Meaningful relating is as important to men as it is to women," says Neil Lamont, a London-based psychologist. "And while societal and cultural norms may have dictated that men should be strong and resilient, the reality is [that] a well-lived life for men will typically involve deep and meaningful, loving relationships."
That they're less sexual
Perhaps the most frustrating assumption about women is that they're the less sexual gender. They're often portrayed as sexually timid; like they have to be "convinced" or tricked into trying something new or kinky.
Not only is that stereotype limiting to women's sexual expression and pursuit of pleasure, but it also creates a culture of slut-shaming and sex negativity wherein women who act like men sexually are seen as out of line. Instead, women are required to perform sexual purity — to pretend as if they don't have the same intense lust and sexual creativity men are allowed to express.
Countless studies, including our own annual sex survey, reveal that's far from true. Not only do women have more sex than men do per week, they're also 71 percent kinkier and more open to sexual experimentation than Chad and Kyle.
These findings illustrate women's ability to be turned on by a much greater variety of things than they're given credit for. In his book "What Do Women Want," author Daniel Bergner cited several studies that examined that sort of sexual omnivorous, including one that got a lot of buzz for revealing that women get turned on when they watch monkeys fuck and gay men go at each other; patterns of arousal not seen in heterosexual men, who are stereotypically supposed to be hornier and freakier.
Bergner argues that the female capacity to be turned on by such a variety of sexual circumstances indicates how libidinous they actually are, which brings us to the next item on this list ...
That women are more monogamous
There's a manufactured presumption in our culture that tells says that, since women are supposedly less sexual, that they're also more monogamous.
Yeah, about that ...
Plenty of research supports the finding that women are actually the less monogamous gender (although there is also research that asserts the opposite). One British poll found that while 9 percent of men would cheat if they met someone better than their partner, 25 percent of women would. Women are also 26 percent more likely to cheat than men if their mothers also cheated, and a recent study from Indiana University found that about 20 percent of both men and women have been with someone else.
It's not just cheating that makes women the actual less-monogamous gender though — they're also more interested in and open to polyamory than men. A 2012 survey conducted by Loving More — a polyamory support and advocacy organization — found that way more women practice it. About half of the respondents (49.5 percent) identified as female, while only 35.4 percent identified as male (the rest did not identify as male or female). That probably has something to do with women having more openly fluid sexualities (and therefore being able to be in poly relationships with other women), but it also directly contradicts the notion that women are one-partner people/
In fact, Bergner thinks monogamy is society's way of constraining female sexuality, implying in his book that that standard is "unjust and prudish." As The Atlantic reports, "He, and the leading sex researchers he interviews, argue that women's sexuality is not the rational, civilized and balancing force it's so often made out to be — that it is base, animalistic and ravenous, everything we've told ourselves about male sexuality."
That they all want kids ... or at least like them
Conventional narratives tend to cast women as baby-hungry Octomom-wannabes up against a skittish men fearful of what children will do to their independence, but ... nah. That's actually not the case at all.
Men actually want kids more than women do these days. In 2011, a nationally representative survey of single, childless people in 2011, more men (24 percent) than women (15 percent) said they wanted kids. Likewise, women were more interested in in seeking independence in their relationships, personal space, interests, and hobbies than they've ever been, something we definitely found to be true when we interviewed a bunch of them about why they don't want kids. A different poll from 2013 echoed those findings, with more than 80 percent of men saying they’d always wanted to be a father or at least thought they would be someday. Just 70 percent of women felt the same.
Well, with that kind of child-bearing gusto, maybe men will flip the script once more and start actually birthing these kids themselves ... oh wait, they already are.