A lot of sexually secure, liberal-minded, straight men have to adhere to insane standards that just aren't right for this day and age. So, here are ten things that are socially acceptable for heterosexual women to do, but not heterosexual men (in the general sense, of course). Both men and women CAN do most of these things, but the social implications are what often stop men from doing the things on this list. If only people were more open minded...
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Women Can Dance Together
Dancing is a wonderful and highly personal form of self-expression. It feels good, it's great exercise and is even considered ultra-masculine in some non-western cultures.
Practically everyone dances at some point in their lives, at least when nobody is watching, but dancing in public is something that men are often uncomfortable with, even with a female partner.
If women think men are being ridiculous for not enjoying themselves in a group setting with members of the opposite sex, that’s nothing compared to the discomfort most men feel with dancing around other men.
Dancing with other men is not a socially acceptable practice, although nobody bats an eye when women dance together (at least, not disapprovingly). Hopefully this will change in the near future.
As with many of the items on this list, homophobia is often a factor in this case. But more than that, fear of dancing in general is an expression of social inadequacy and discomfort with one’s body and social standing.
Add to the mix close proximity to other men in an uninhibited display of self-expression, and you’ve got a powder keg of social anxiety that most men just aren’t comfortable with, even if they are being a little ridiculous about it.
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Women Can Wear Men's Clothes To Work
First of all, men need more space in the bottom half of their wardrobe (i.e. the kind of space skirts or dresses would allow) than women. IT'S BASIC ANATOMY.
Given the history of horrific impracticalities of women’s fashion (some of which still linger to this very day) it’s easy to understand why women have fought for their rights to wear pants. They've had some hurdles, such as the preconception that a woman who wore men’s clothes was a lesbian or a (vaguely-insulting) "tomboy," but over time, it's become perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear pants, t-shirts, and even practical shoes.
Now what about the men? Not so much.
If a man wants to wear clothing specifically designed for a woman he’ll have to also wear the label of "transvestite," or at the very least, "cross-dresser." Of course, while much of the western world is increasingly comfortable with the idea of transvestitism and cross dressing, actually wearing high heels and a corset in public will nevertheless turn heads, and not in a positive way.
It's not that every man actually WANTS to wear women’s clothing, but there’s no denying it–being ABLE to do so could be liberating. I mean, have you ever worn a dress? Then you know how it compares to a pair of pants on a hot summer day, and I'm not the first to say, that THAT'S freedom.
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2 people just voted on Women Can Call Each Other Attractive
Although women can be competitive amongst themselves, they are also allowed to be mutually supportive in ways that straight men usually cannot be publicly. This is due mostly to again, the insane amount of homophobia present in Western culture today.
Women are allowed to compliment each other’s looks, free from social awkwardness, often to explicit degrees. Admitting that other women have attractive clothes, personality traits, and features – even predominantly sexual features, like bitches and hips – is not exactly taboo.
Heterosexual men, however, are not generally "allowed" to say that other men look "sexy" in any context.
In fact, any compliment regarding a degree of physical attractiveness must usually be qualified out of social insecurity. "I can see why women go for him," for example, is reasonably acceptable. "Nice haircut," is vague enough to generally be fine.
A compliment such as, "Dude, sweet abs," might be allowed in certain contexts, usually in an exercise-centric environment. But, "Oh man, you look totally hot in that tank top"? Not socially acceptable. Not socially acceptable at all.
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Women Can Openly Own Sex Toys
How many guy's guys do you know that proudly own a Fleshlight?
For various reasons, women sometimes have more difficulty pleasuring themselves sexually than men do, whereas most men are content with using their hands, and perhaps a certain degree of lubricant.
Thus, women are often encouraged to employ sexual aids that provide steady vibration or even a faux phallus to stimulate themselves to orgasm without a partner should the need and/or desire arise. Straight men, on the other hand, are generally discouraged from owning sex toys for their own personal use. The typical fear is that a potential romantic partner, or even mere friends and associates, would consider a man needing a faux vagina (often modeled after the actual genitalia of a famous porn star) for masturbatory purposes to be either a sexual deviant, a pervert, or a pathetic loser.
Although women don't usually flaunt their sex toys in public, and would be at least a little embarrassed when the said toys make a surprise appearance at a party, most social circles – and potential romantic partners – are pretty forgiving towards women who own sex toys for their own personal enjoyment.
Seems like a double-standard, doesn’t it?
Yes, it does. And it is one of the worst ones on this list.
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Women Have Multiple, Viable, Birth Control Options
If a man and a woman wish to have sexual intercourse and protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, then of course, condoms are the most effective contraceptive. But if a woman simply wishes not to get pregnant – perhaps in addition to condoms or in lieu of (if they are, for instance, married or in a long-term monogamous committed relationship) – they have many other options.
Birth control pills, shots, rings, diaphragms, patches, and more allow a woman to dramatically reduce their body’s ability to procreate, and they allow them to change their minds and actually procreate should they make that choice later on.
Men? They have condoms. Or condoms.
Unless they opt for a vasectomy. So it's either rubber or surgery.
One option is inconvenient and diminishes sexual pleasure, while the other is somewhat permanent. Men are still waiting on a pill, shot or some other form of reliable contraceptive that can give them control over their ability to procreate.
Frankly, most sexually active, unmarried men have no desire whatsoever to impregnate their partners… certainly not unintentionally. If there was a regular pill, patch or shot that could be taken to prevent unwanted pregnancies – particularly one that would allow men to procreate later in life, should they choose to do so – then most men would take it RELIGIOUSLY.
There are always rumors of a male birth control pill looming on the horizon, but until it actually hits the market, this will be one area men will ALWAYS envy women for.
To make matters worse, even though a female condom DOES exist, the standard for single heterosexuals across the nation is for him to always carry a MALE condom around. From the looks of the female condom though, that might actually be a good thing for men.
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Women Can Touch Each Other Openly, Men Can't
Have you ever seen two men hug each other? The accepted style for a modern "Bro Grab" is to embrace with one arm, and then firmly strike the other man’s back with the other, usually repeatedly. Some have remarked that this tendency has to do with contrast: physical intimacy tempered with physical violence, which thus cancel each other out. There is also another element to this ritual, one less concerned with social acceptance and more to do with personal comfort. The repeated pats/punches also prevent lingering physical contact with another male. The hug, however long, is rhythmically interrupted to distract from the one’s general discomfort with prolonged intimacy of any kind other men.
Women, on the other hand, can hug, hold hands or even kiss each other casually without a hint of homophobic anxiety or personal discomfort (not that every woman enjoys this kind of physical contact, of course). Comforting non-sexual contact between women is encouraged at an early age. In contrast, men are frequently discouraged from touching other men unless there’s some degree of physical conflict involved. Sports, high fives and even handshakes are all considered healthy ways of touching other men, but all involve some implied degree of violence or at least competition (many men attempt to out-squeeze each other in the middle of a handshake, although this is often merely a sign of insecurity). This in turn fosters the same discomfort with intimacy that continues to keep men emotionally stunted in comparison to women.
The fact that such a male-centric show like Entourage has main catchphrases pertaining to the absurdity of two men physically showing affection or condolence is testament to this point.
Even the word "bitch" in the catchphrase, "let's hug it out, bitch", shows how a display of aggressiveness/masculinity of SOME kind is necessary if there is any semblance of affection being doled out between two heterosexual men.
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Women Can Make Sweeping Denouncements of Men
If a woman says that "all men are bastards," no one is likely to bat an eye, and they’re even less likely to go to bat for the male species. If, on the other hand, a man says "All women are bitches," then social norms dictate that he’s being sexist. (Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to clarify that NEITHER statement is accurate, nor should either be socially acceptable.)
Frankly, the latter statement is generally considered so inflammatory that those who hear it are often incapable, or at least completely unconcerned with the context in which it was spoken. If a woman says "All men are bastards," because somebody broke her heart, the statement is perfectly reasonable. If a man says "All women are bitches," because a woman broke HIS heart, then he’s being unreasonable.
Frankly, this kind of momentary negativity may at times be understandable, at least on an individual level, but it leads to larger social problems.
If everyone accepts that one group of people is intrinsically worthy of scorn, whether they be codified by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or what have you, then it fosters an environment of discomfort, if not outright sexism on either side.
But that statement is not to say that hyperbole used for personal expression should be verboten, nor does this statement forgive those who do denounce an entire gender out of genuine ignorance or hatred. It merely means that we have to be careful of what we say, and under which context we take others to task for their words.
For various reasons – many of them arguably valid – it is socially acceptable for females to insult the male gender as a whole, while the opposite is most definitely NOT considered socially acceptable. Whether you think this schism is reasonable or otherwise, it is most definitely more forgiving towards women at this point in our Western cultural history.
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Women Can Wear Makeup
Much like #1 on this list, the fact that men can’t wear makeup isn’t something that many men lose sleep over. Frankly, many men have no desire whatsoever to wear makeup, but their position on makeup might change if wearing it it became socially acceptable.
Although makeup can often be worn to make one appear more attractive and feminine, it can also be used to de-emphasize features, cover unsightly blemishes, and smooth over perceived defects in one’s general appearance.
It would be nice if we all lived in a perfect world in which everyone felt good about how they looked and was accepted based on their inherent worth as opposed to the degree to which they are aesthetically pleasing, but until that happens, allowing men to wear makeup is a logical and infinitely more reasonable step.
There are certain instances in which it is 100% socially acceptable for males to wear makeup (face painting for sporting events, for example, or when one works as a model or actor), but in general, this is definitely something that women hold and keep over any men with even the slightest facial defects.