Mansplaining, manspreading, manterrupting – there are plenty of words flying around to describe asshole behaviour, but I don’t think the behaviour itself is restricted to menfolk. There are plenty of asshole things that women tend to do ‘exclusively’ too; bitching, squealing, nagging – the only difference being that there isn’t a prefix denoting women on the words. All three of those words have very feminine connotations though, and you don’t say that a man is bitching unless you want to denegrate him.
For a while now I’ve been thinking about men, women and that weird thing we call gender. I think what started my thought process was when I was training for my marathon and it really started to annoy me that there were places and times that I couldn’t run because I was conscious of my safety. Not that I’m saying I’m hot enough for someone to want to attack me, but just that my safety is a thing that runs through my mind as a woman and it angers me.
I saw an article a while back (granted it may have been on buzzfeed so not sure how reliable it is) where they asked a group of men and a group of women to brainstorm things that they could do to maximise their safety. The group of women filled a whiteboard with ideas and the men couldn’t think of anything. It feels pretty believable. Granted I am a fairly anxious person to begin with, but I think about my safety all the time because I’m a woman and I have to take care of myself. When I think about it, the fact that I have to be anxious about stuff simply because I’m a woman angers me.
Do men expend extra energy thinking about their safety? Do they make conscious decisions to cross streets when a group of men is coming towards them? Do they alter jogging paths so that they pass through well-lit areas or residential streets where there are houses and other people? I doubt it.
I see the USA is now allowing women into front-line combat roles. It’s nice to see that they aren’t so hung up anymore about a woman’s main role being that of a breeder to carry on the human race. I’d imagine that any women who do take up those roles, however, will need to blend seemlessly into the ‘boys club’ by being as masculine as they can be.
I would be nice for these women to just be soldiers instead of ‘women trying to do a man’s job’ and for me to just be able to be a person going about my daily business without needing to worry about what is ‘appropriate’ for a women. Maybe I do like dressing up in skirts and wearing nice jewellery, but that’s not because I’m a woman, it’s because of what I like. I also know quite a few men who enjoy wearing skirts and jewellery as equally as I do.
It’s all a really weird construct – that you should do or not do certain things, or be better or worse at certain things because of your sex. Granted there is generally some difference in physical strength and speed and whatnot, but not all men are athletes and not all women are care-givers.
It’s weird that we try and fit ourselves into sometimes impossible boxes simply based on what society tells us we should do or should feel.
It would be nice if we just respected each other enough as members of the human race to not ridicule or rape, bully or hit, mansplain or bitch about each other.