Sexism hurts men too.
Earlier this December, the Huffington Post put out a wildly popular video in which women young and old repeated the sexist phrases they hear during a lifetime.
With phrases ranging from "you're so pretty" to "what were you wearing that night," the two-minute video captured what it's like to live in a culture that unfairly defines your worth based on the fact that you happen to be a woman.
Now it's the men's turn to explain the things they hear in a lifetime.
In "48 Things Men Hear in a Lifetime (That Are Bad for Everyone)," another video from the Huffington Post, men repeat the phrases that often shape how they treat women and each other. Although we don't discuss it much, men also feel that they're often viewed through a narrow lens.
Surprisingly, a lot of the comments in this video deal with stereotypes that are similar to what women face, too, just with a masculine spin.
1. Men are also judged on their looks.
To illustrate how much women are judged by their looks, the "48 Things Women Hear" video begins and ends with comments reflecting this: "You're so pretty" and "You must have been beautiful when you were younger."
While men might not hear this as incessantly as women, they're also judged on physical characteristics that they have no control over, and are often told they need to fit a stereotypical masculine ideal. This means they're judged on things like being tall, being able to grow facial hair ("You can't even grow a beard!"), and "being buff."
Scientific studies point out that women are judged more strongly by their physical attractiveness than their male counterparts, but as this video shows, men experience this too — sometimes to the point of excluding their personality and capabilities.
2. Men are told that they shouldn't do girly things.
We hammer this notion into boys' heads from a young age: what toys they should play with and what emotions they should or should not express.
Anything perceived as "girly" is off-limits. In this way, boys are discouraged from freely exploring what they might truly like.
And this doesn't change as they grow up, either. For example, while women are questioned for drinking "manly" drinks like whiskey, men are ridiculed for picking a poison that's not stereotypically masculine.
3. Men are also taught not to have feelings.
Most men don't dare get emotional, lest someone ask, "Are you on your period?" (See also "Don't be such a pussy" and "You're so sensitive for a guy.") or make insinuations about sexual orientation. Apparently, the same insults that are lobbed at women can be thrown at men for daring to show emotion at all.
Perhaps The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" says it best:
"I try to laugh about it
Cover it all up with lies
I try and
Laugh about it
Hiding the tears in my eyes
'cause boys don't cry
Boys don't cry"
Real talk, though: Expressing emotion should not equal emasculation. Both men and women would do well to remember that.
4. Women are shamed for their sexuality. Men are encouraged to do the shaming.
"Don't be a slut."
"No guy wants to have sex with a virgin."
Those were two comments featured in the "48 Things Women Hear" video that capture the sexual double standard women face. But in their video, men are encouraged to play into this double standard, too.
Men didn't make these contradictory rules up themselves. Other men and perhaps even other women have passed down such notions for generations. Plus, this video reminds us that men are even judged by similar standards to women in this regard, with people commonly asking a man, "You're still a virgin?"
Then there's the notion that men should feel entitled to whatever they want sexually, perhaps to mitigate the perception that they're virginal and therefore weak:
And the fact that most bad behavior is then excused with this cliche:
Not all men are perpetrators of rape culture, and not all women are victims of it. But both are at a disadvantage when certain notions are pushed on any gender.
"48 Things Men Hear in a Lifetime" shows more than just how sexism affects society's more favored gender. It also shows how men are taught to subscribe to sexist notions in order to come off as more masculine, as a "real man."
And sometimes those notions don't come from men themselves, but from all of us.
We can't solve sexism without men taking stock of their own beliefs and without reflecting on how women play into those beliefs as well.
Let's think twice before we say certain things about how men and women "should" act according to gender.