Any grownup should have a wide range of skills at their beck and call. Everyone should know how to take care of themselves and their loved ones, whether it’s just another mundane day or an actual emergency. Stuff like knowing how to sew on a button, cooking a meal that’s more sophisticated than making cereal, taking care of your verdant garden (and what not to do, say, if you come across a bear).
Unfortunately, some people still divide up some activities and behaviors according to gender, based on some pretty ambiguous assumptions. This idea sparked a discussion online after redditor u/international_red07 asked everyone to share some “unmanly” things that are actually the opposite. Scroll down to read what people had to say about this.
#1Reflection and apologizing when you're wrong.
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#2Walking away from a physical fight, instead of getting involved/the whole “I could put you in hospital but I won’t” nonsense. A true “alpha”, if you must use that word, doesn’t need to assert his dominance like that.
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#3Supporting women's rights. Real men don't need to control women.
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It’s really peculiar to realize that some everyday tasks get stuck with labels like “manly” or “unmanly.” We’re talking about basic skills that help someone be self-sufficient.
Everyone needs to eat, so you’d better learn how to cook and bake. You might need to mend your clothes, so knowing how to use a needle-and-thread simply makes sense. Who doesn’t enjoy watching their vegetable garden thrive? And why should someone’s gender determine whether or not they should like singing or dancing as a hobby? Someone’s gender doesn’t come into it—these are all very human things to do.
#4I heard cooking for your family labeled as unmanly due to men wearing an apron around a gas stove, by the same people who grill for their family while wearing an apron around a gas grill.
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#5If someone tells you something is “unmanly”, tell them a real man would be secure enough in their manliness to not give a s**t what they think.
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#6Hygiene and cleanliness. I live on my own and I love having a clean and neat house.
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When you start attaching gender to these activities and skills, you end up making everyone less independent. At the same time, you put people under a lot of pressure to ‘conform’ to how their social circle or culture views masculinity and femininity. Now imagine the stress someone has to deal with when they’re faced with entirely different cultural expectations when they move somewhere else or join a new social circle.
Objectively, boiling an egg (cooking) isn’t manly or unmanly. Neither is moving your feet (dancing), using your vocal cords (singing), or watering flora (gardening). However, our surroundings, family, and upbringing shape how we perceive these activities.
#7Sewing. When you're stuck on a boat in the Pacific during WWII, you'd better know how to stich up your own uniform. Source: both of my grandfathers.
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#8I love growing flowers, sewing, cooking, baking, and other activities that are viewed by some as "girly" activities. I also love traditionally manly things like fishing, building furniture, mowing my lawn, etc.
A long time ago I was upset by some of my friends ribbing me for liking to do "girly" things. My dad handled this by teaching me that the manliest thing a man can do is "whatever the hell he wants".
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#9Ordering a fruity drink.
“A real man orders a beer!”
No, a real man orders whatever the f**k he wants.
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According to a 2006 study done by The Pennsylvania State University, the social rules of gender continue to play “a prominent role” in leisure activities like sports. The researchers found that “girls experience greater social latitude in their sport participation than boys.” In other words, society sees it as more acceptable for women to participate in masculine activities than the reverse.
“Girls and women are at less risk for gender stigma if they pursue masculine activities than boys and men if they pursue feminine activities. This may be due to a higher social value and status assigned to masculine activities and the efforts on the part of girls and women to gain respect by achieving in a traditionally masculine field,” they write.
Broadly speaking, boys and men who stray from masculine norms raise questions about their masculinity. So they have less flexibility when it comes to participating in “unmanly” sports and recreational activities.
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#11Cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, being good with kids, being patient, crying, hugging your good guy friends
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#12When I was a kid I was once at a clothing store and I saw a pink men’s shirt. I said out loud “what kind of men wear pink shirts???” and my mom said “secure men”. For some reason that always stuck with me.
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Many of these issues are rooted in social expectations. To oversimplify things a bit, men are expected to never be perceived as vulnerable, weak, or soft. They’re also pushed to be aggressive and competitive. These are traits that some interpret to be examples of toxic masculinity.
Healthy masculinity, on the other hand, is exemplified by self-reflection, embracing emotions (whatever they might be) instead of repressing them, and being comfortable with having one’s opinions challenged.
#13Being an attentive and involved father. I can change a diaper one handed and I'm proud of that fact.
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#14Being there for your kids
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#15When my dad was a kid, a bully told him to meet him after school for a beating. Dad simply never showed up and went directly home instead.
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#16Washing your a*s
#17Being gay. I mean u are a man and you like man's. What could be more manly
#18Wearing short shorts. Lemme see them thighs.
#19My friends were amazed at how I "allowed" some drunk guy talk to my girlfriend for like 10 minutes at a festival. Bro, why the f**k would I care, she didn't seem distressed and enjoyed the conversation and I'm not insecure. She'd tell me/let me know if she was uncomfortable and needed help. I don't feel threatened, I have nothing to proof and my girlfriend is not some possesion I need to protect from other men.
Going up to the guy and doing whatever just makes you seem to radiate insecurity to me. Not manliness.
#20Crying; men can have feelings, too!
#21Talking to cats in a cute voice.
#22I had guys tell me it's unmanly to use/carry an umbrella.
Those wet, insecure bastards can go screw themselves!
#23Pedicures. If you work on your feet, you need to take care of them. Work boots will thrash your toe nails, give you corns and bunions. Additionally having your feet trapped in leather boots for 10+ hrs a day in the heat and sweat will make your foot skin all scaley and flakey. Go get a pedicure. They will not only take care of your toe nails and dead skin but you also get a calf massage and some places do a hot rock massage. It’s glorious.
#24Body trimming. Reduces your body odor, easier to wipe your a*s, makes muscles look bigger, penis look longer, and removes visible grey hair to make you look younger. Always feel great after a body trim.
#25Long hair, if you were in ancient times and saw a guy with long hair, that means he survived many battles for it to get to such a length.
#26Holding your friends accountable and calling them out when they’re being a d**k towards women or just in general.
#27Being creative/artistic. There's always been stupidity behind things like musical instrument choice. A dude playing a flute seems funny.. but being drum core or bass is manly. A leather smith is manly but sewing clothes is less so. It's all art.. it's all creative.
#28being a gentleman: polite, courteous, respectful, tactful, manners, some style, some sophistication, educated (you don't need your masters from an Ivy league, but just being well read is enough sometimes), friendly.
Far too many guys I see think it's still cool to be rude, lazy, unkempt, and stupid.
#29Buying feminine products for your SO. I have no shame buying tampons or pads when I do the grocery shopping, which is always. Men that get all embarrassed or won’t do it are the “unmanly” ones.
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#30Wearing sunscreen. Nothing looks dumber than a guy who’s so afraid to seem “girly” that he gets turned into a lobster.
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#31Taking care of your skin. I hate how some of the guys I work with and serve with (I'm in the army) give me s**t for using products for my face and skin. But they also wonder why I get told I look like I'm 25 even though I'm almost 36. Because I take care of my body.
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#32Going to the doctor
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#34"NOTHING IS MORE BADASS THAN TREATING A WOMAN WITH RESPECT"
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#35My ex was a f*****g lil b***h about even *mentioning* feminine products or menstruation. I couldn't even mention having *"period pains"* without him complaining how gross it was and that I made him feel sick for mentioning it. I was rarely around him when I was on, but I hate to think how unhelpful he would have been.
My dad on the other hand, quite a lads lad, has no issues. He used to track my mum's menstruation because he found it easier than she did, and he was always more than happy to nip to the shops and pick up feminine products. "Do you need ladies things?" He used to ask me. "What flavour do you need?" His joke, but he was referring to whether it was pass or tampons, and what flow.
Oh and I just remembered that that same ex wouldn't buy his own f*****g Pokemon game because it's "Not manly". I haven't known such a insecure stupid little b***h before or since.
#36I have a beard that would make sasquatch jealous. I like scotch whiskey, Dominican cigars, and American motorcycles. I worked most of my adult life as an ironworker. But none of that is the manly part:
When my daughter was 3 to about 6 or 7, it was common for me to go to work with my nails painted every color of the rainbow.
Letting your little girl paint your nails is manly as f**k, gentlemen.
#37Wearing "girly" colors.
Imagine being so insecure with your own sexuality that you can't wear a purple or pink shirt. It's sad, really.
I have a bunch of purple and pink dresshirts, and I have only ever been complimented on them!
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#38Ballet. Those dudes are strong!
#39Playing with your children
I've also been called a homosexual by multiple other guys for saying I like gardening.
#41Holding your wife's purse in public. I do a few push ups, a few pull ups, roll up my sleeves and show off the pump when I do it... be a man...
#42Being emotionally supportive and affectionate to other male friends. I've aways hated the concept of men should show emotions. Why not? I don't get it. If your friend is going through a hard time, giving them a simple hug could really help. Or just listening to them. Even if there isn't a problem, being friendly and platinically physically affectionate is sweet to me. Idky a hug is seen as " gay" lol hugs aren't sexual, it's a hug.
#43Eating salad. Taking care of your health is manly.
#44Compromising with your partner.
#45Having a tea party with your young daughters. I have drank more fake tea than anyone on Earth.
#46Crying. I know that older generations instilled the need for lack of emotional. But having emotions bottle up then explode later is not healthy.
Cry when you need to cry. If anything It shows you care about your own emotions, so you'll care about your partners too. And if anyone calls you names or makes you feel bad for being emotional, then that person is the problem. Not you.
#47Being a nice guy. There’s nothing manly about being an a*****e.
#48Was on a date with a guy once that held my hand every time I had to step up or down from a curb, and he lifted my hand lightly by my fingers. Thought it was the sweetest and most chivalrous thing.
#49Putting on lotion. I don't want to be touching no crusty a*s man.
#50Skirts. I saw someone say that anatomy-wise, men should be wearing skirts because pants constrict your c**k and balls.
I mean, when you think about it, a lot of men wear skirts or skirt-like things historically. The Romans, the Greeks, the Chinese (hanfu), the Scots (? I.... think that's where kilts come from).
#51Standing up for women’s rights or telling your friends not to make sexist jokes. “The guys” will make fun of you, call you a wuss, and the added social pressure tries to keep you in line. But the Manly thing is to face that pressure even though it’s uncomfortable and stand up for what you know if right.
#52Recognizing that we all need some help sometimes and both helping other people and accepting help yourself.
Kindness is manly af
#53Cooking and washing the dishes right after!
#54Realizing you are wrong, learning from it, and becoming better because of it.
#55I’ll start: Admitting when you’re wrong.
When anyone with eyes can see your earlier statement was misinformed, taking accountability and control of the situation with a simple “Yep. You were right, I was wrong. Here’s what we’ll do now,” shows leadership, responsiveness, and confidence.
Trying to deny or defend or justify your earlier statement comes across as insecure and reactive or oblivious, none of which are qualities traditional “manly men” try to embody.
#57Tea party with toddlers
#58Being in touch with your emotions
#59Not being concerned with other people’s quantification of your manliness.
#60Getting up every f*****g day to go to a job you hate, doing it with a smile because that's how you keep your kids fed, housed and healthy.
#61#Standing up for men who can’t stand up for themselves.
#62Admitting defeat. What's "unmanly" (or "unwomanly," really) is throwing a tantrum, denying reality, or refusing to soldier on.
#63Showing your emotions
#64I’ve always been more attracted to “manly” but smart and funny. I was dating an honorably discharged marine who is now a pastry chef for maybe 2 weeks when I mentioned he’s the best of both worlds. He’s manly and strong but also smart and gentle. His response: “I know. I built this narrative.” Known each other for 14yrs, dated for 7, married for 5. Absolutely in love.
Dudes that can dance get all the sex.
#66The ability to cry and express your emotions
#67Reacting graciously when a gay man makes a pass at you.
#68Keeping your pubes trimmed, c**k shaved, and your junk and a*s clean and washed.
#69Remember reading some guy saying something like "My kids need to know who is the king, and it's all in the small things. For example, I always get served food first, no matter what, even if I'm late. Because that's what being a man is all about". And while reading that I couldn't help but think how sad it is to base you personality in a trope, but even if we go for the stereotype of what a manly man is, isn't it more manly to make sure your kids eat first so you are sure there is enogh for them, willing to go hunger as long as they don't have to?
#70Honestly, pretty much everything that some people consider unmanly. Things like personal hygiene, taking care of your kids or spouse, and being emotionally available are all manly as f**k.
#71A good quality pink cotton shirt.
#72Taking care of your Hygiene.
Clip your nails, use stuff to make you smell good.
Basic hygiene is manly.
#73Not giving a f**k about what other people consider to be manly.
#74Driving a minivan.
There is literally no better proof of your virility than driving a minivan full of children.