men of reddit, ask reddit
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

Is it manly enough to cradle a puppy?

Okay, we’ve come a long way in terms of rethinking gender norms.

Fashion is less rigidly conforming (you’ve seen the man who rocks pencil skirts and stilettos, right?). More men are flourishing in jobs traditionally performed by women. And perhaps most importantly, there is a growing number of male support groups that encourage heartfelt communication and emotional well-being.

But suffice it to say, there still remain quite a few incredibly outdated belief systems when it comes to how we define masculinity.

Case in point, a recent Reddit thread sparked by the question:

“Men of Reddit, what was the most ridiculous reason why someone questioned your masculinity?”

Some of these answers are indeed head scratchers. Others are flat-out offensive.

Here are 10 of the most egregious accounts:


1. Reading

men who read Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

I was reading a book on my lunch break while I was working construction, and got a bunch of sh*t about reading being for women.” – Middle-Eye2129

Went from women not being allowed to read to reading being only for women... what a world.” – Comprehensive-Ad4566

2. Practicing the most basic of safety measures

men of reddit Giphy

One person wrote that their masculinity was questioned for “wearing gloves while welding.”

Because having all fingers intact makes you less of a man? Um … what?

Wear your gloves and fasten your safety belts, gentlemen. It’s okay. I'm pretty sure The Rock does.

3. Not eating the right foods

gender fluid Giphy

Had a friend give another friend shit because he wanted to eat a corn dog. He said grown ass men don’t eat corn dogs. Any man should understand.” – mondayortampa

It’s not just because of the distinct shape of certain foods garnering the “unmanly” label, either. See below:

My dad got sh*t from a guy he was working with because he was eating a plain bagel with butter on it and drinking chocolate milk because the guy said it’s childish. Dad never cared and just laughed at the guy for being an idiot. Who wouldn’t like that combo? It’s a great thing to eat!” – WhatsUpFishes

“My husband bought some of our homegrown raspberries into work to share and a guy he works with said they were ‘girl food.’ It must be so exhausting to have to gender your food.” – Pepperfig_clover

4. Or drinking the right drinks

gender norms Photo by Atikh Bana on Unsplash

Went to a Mexican restaurant and we waited at the bar before we could get a table. This place has awesome strawberry blended margaritas so I got one. Apparently lime = straight, strawberry = gay.” – Thirty_Helens_Agree

5. Appreciating cleanliness

men doing female chores Giphy

“I've had both women I just started dating, and male acquaintances who have thought my clean apartment was an indication I was gay.” – NorCalDustin

6. Using pink … anything

men wearing pink www.publicdomainpictures.net

At work I gave a guy a report and it had a pink paperclip on it.

He asked me why I gave him a pink paperclip. I told him I just grabbed one. He then asked why I had a pink paperclip - I told him I had a rainbow pack.

Then he wanted to know why, when I saw it was pink, I didn't throw it away. He told me I shouldn't use pink paperclips [because] ‘people might have questions.’” – Everyday_Im_Stedelen

About 30 years ago, they came out with neon string lines. As I work construction, I am constantly using string to ensure things are straight. By far, the brightest of the strings was a pink one.

So, I was constantly chided by the crew for having a pink string. This only happened until it started getting closer to dusk, at which point they all wanted to borrow my string.” – Dioscouri

7. Not applying deodorant in a ‘manly way’

patriarchy Giphy

Somebody once told me I wasn't applying deodorant manly enough.” – PearSB

How do you apply deodorant in a manly manner?” – The_One_True_Disease

You set fire to the can and let it explode behind you as you look epically to the camera.” – Astrophobia42

8. Being kind

rethinking masculinity commons.wikimedia.org

Got accused of being gay for being nice to people in the dive bar I go to... I guess it's not masculine to be nice to people.” – pgh613

9. Having daughters

dads and daughters Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

When I was pregnant, with a girl, someone said to me, in front of my husband, ‘a real man would’ve given you a boy.’” – badmamathree

Someone should have said that to Henry VIII.” – BaldingMonk

Why do you think there was a protestant movement?” – ArthurBonesly

10. Allowing a woman to do manly things

toxic masculinity Giphy

I was taking a break from driving a forklift and a woman asked if she could drive it (she was qualified to drive it so this wasn't just a random question from a random person.) I agreed and this one guy got so offended that I let a woman take over driving the forklift from me. This was back when ‘mancard’ was a thing so he of course said I needed to turn in my mancard for that.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out this guy got offended at all kinds of things all the time though. If he thought someone wasn't doing something the "right" way, he would rant and whine about it.” – BrickFlock

Clearly, we still have some ways to go on this subject.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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