+
upworthy
Identity

Researcher shares 'men are too feminine and women too masculine' claims dating back to the 1800s

Some of these freakouts are just wild.

men women masculine feminine
Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

Shifting gender norms and stereotypes have caused freakouts throughout modern history.

Since ancient times, people from older generations have lamented what they perceive to be a diminishment of character qualities in the younger generation. In fact, it's such a common phenomenon that scientists have studied and named it—the "kids these days" effect. And they have found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the elders who think youngsters are oh-so-different from how they were when they were young are generally mistaken.

But this perpetual hand-wringing over perceived generational changes is not limited to kids versus adults. It manifests in all kinds of ways, including regularly scheduled moral panic over gender roles and norms (largely based on gender stereotypes).

Gender is not a simple subject, no matter how simplistic certain people try to make it. What we view as masculine or feminine comes from a complex mixture of culture, history, psychology, biology, sociology and every other lens through which we analyze the world. Additionally, those views of what is masculine and what is feminine can come with judgments and biases, resulting in all kinds of emotions and gut responses when our gender expectations and assumptions are challenged.


Paul Fairie, a senior research associate and professor at the University of Calgary, shared "A Brief History of Men Today Are Too Feminine and Women Too Masculine" on Twitter. The thread contained nothing but clippings showing people's fears about gender shifts and the year the clippings came from.

He began with 2020 and 2018, sharing what appear to be quotes from Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro and Alex Jones, three right-wing influencers who have lamented what they claim is the loss of "manly men" and masculinity.

It's not a new freakout, however. Fairie shared clippings from 2004, 1997, 1984, 1977, 1965, 1950, 1940 and so on—all the way back to 1886—showing people expressing concern about men becoming more feminine and women becoming more masculine.

"Women's-lib stuff" being blamed for the "wimping" of America isn't surprising to see, but living in high-rise apartments causing men to be effeminate is a new one.

Apparently lilac pajamas were considered totally unmanly, despite purple traditionally being the color of kings. Huh.

Ah yes, the century-old women in sports controversy. "IN NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD DO YOU SEE SUCH MASCULINE-LIKE FIGURES AS THE AMERICAN WOMEN HAVE." OK, calm down, John Alexander from 1910. If you'd lived another 110 years, you'd see how much time and energy you wasted worrying about this.

This one from 1886 is fabulous, just for the language. "Women are growing more dashing." (Can we go back to using the word "dashing" more often? Great word.)

So much of this sounds so familiar, doesn't it? Fretting over changes in fashion, wigging out over women advancing in athletics and wailing over what will become of men and women if people exhibit varying degrees of traditionally masculine or feminine traits.

Some of this is to be expected, as we've witnessed humanity moving closer and closer to recognizing gender equality. While equality doesn't mean sameness, much of what we view as masculine or feminine is wrapped up in patriarchal views of gender roles, and the dismantling of patriarchal systems and expectations will naturally disrupt those views. Judgments over masculinity and femininity are also wrapped up in homophobia and transphobia, so greater inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people are throwing those judgments into disarray as well.

None of that is a bad thing. We don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater and ditch the concepts of masculinity and femininity altogether, but we do need to acknowledge that many of the things people fret over when it comes to gender are just silly.


Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Gen Xer explains sense of 'impending doom' that seems to define the Millennial generation

Somebody finally put it into words and a lot of Millenials are feeling seen.

A woman looks to the ground in dispair.

At the end of his YouTube video “Does Anyone Else Feel Like Everything Has Changed?” self-development influencer Stephen Antonioni makes a rather haunting observation: "In many ways, the world is a better place than it was yesterday, just judging by objective measures. But I can't help share the feeling that something is off and perhaps terribly so. And therefore, I have to ask the question: Does anyone else feel like everything has changed?"

The most popular comment on the video, which was liked over 28,000 times was written by a YouTuber named Tracy Smith. Even though, at 57, she’s a Gen Xer, her thoughts have resonated with thousands of Millenials.

“I am 57. Not only does it feel like ‘something wicked this way comes’ but there is also this feeling that the whole world is holding its breath. Almost as though we are all waiting for some catalyst or sign or event that puts an end to this feeling of being put on hold,” Smith wrote. “This vague, unexplained unease we feel. Something terrible lurking just out of our field of vision but we all feel it closing in. I cannot count the number of people who have told me they wish that whatever is going to happen would just get on with it. That this waiting for the thing in the darkness is unbearable.”

Keep ReadingShow less

Melissa Pateras explains how dry cleaning works.


Have you ever wondered what happens at the dry cleaners? Or are you like me, who just assumed the people at the dry cleaners were wizards and never questioned their magic? Turns out, dry cleaners aren't magic and there's actually a pretty interesting explanation of how they came to be and what they do.

Melissa Pateras is known on Tiktok for her laundry knowledge. Seriously, her ability to fold laundry is hypnotizing. This time, she created a video explaining what actually takes place at the dry cleaner and the internet is aghast.

Before Pateras explained what happens in the mysterious world behind the counter of a dry cleaner, she asked a few of her friends what they thought dry cleaning was. Their answers were...interesting to say the least.

One friend surmised, "You put it in a box, right...and then you let some wind, really fast wind, blow around on your clothes and it wipes off all the dirt." The friend, whose username is @unlearn16, continued with her working hypothesis, saying that the clothes are then blasted with infrared heat to sterilize the garments. While that is certainly an interesting theory, that's not what happens.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Doberman's blissful reaction while getting pampered at bathtime goes viral

This "scary" dog's next-level beauty routine proves there's nothing scary about him at all.

Representative Image from Canva

May this adorable video show that Doberman's don't deserve their bad reputation.

Let’s face it, Hollywood has given Doberman’s a bad reputation. So often they are depicted as the canine henchman to the evil villain, that many people assume that’s their temperament in real life.

But the truth is: like just about every dog on the planet, Dobermans are sweet, loyal and affectionate canine companions. And, much like Pit Bulls, they are not nearly as inherently aggressive as pop culture makes them out to be—especially when properly trained.

I mean, just take a look at Atlas. This goodest of good bois recently went viral on TikTok while getting a nice, relaxing bathtime session. He proved that not only are Doberman’s capable of extreme levels of chill, they can have a deep felt appreciation for some good old fashioned pampering.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Gustavo Fring|Canva

Therapists explains being 'touched out' and gives tips to help

Just about every mother has experienced the feeling of being touched out. They may not know that's what it's called, or some may feel embarrassed to admit they're feeling that way due to fear of judgement. But when you think about it, being touched out, especially when you have younger kids seems inevitable.

The sense of your body not belonging to only you can start during pregnancy. Everything you do directly affects your developing fetus, and once the baby is born, it needs a lot of physical contact for proper brain, social, and emotional development. So babies are held a lot outside of feedings. Those babies turn into toddlers who then turn into early school agers, all of whom rely very heavily on co-regulation of their emotions and being physically near their parent to feel safe.

It's pretty much a constant state of being touched throughout much of the day. When psychologist, Dr. Raquel Martin reveals she too feels touched out in a video on Instagram, parents across the internet felt validated.

Keep ReadingShow less

No better time to grab a little shut eye.

For those in the military, sleep can mean the difference between life and death. But shut-eye can be very hard to come by, especially during active conflict.

According to Sharon Ackman, the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a scientific method to help its pilots fall asleep. Through this technique, 96% of the pilots were able to fall asleep in two minutes or less.

Keep ReadingShow less