Gender refers to the different societal roles men and women play depending on the values and social norms. Gender roles of women and men include different labor responsibilities, decision-making processes, and knowledge. Here’s are 3 Ways how men and women are conditioned differently.
No one escapes childhood without passing through a gauntlet of messages about what is expected from them. And while no one gets through unscathed, the messages that men and women receive tend to differ in some fairly consistent ways.
Today, I’m going to dig into three of the most common differences.
Why? Because compassion is vital when it comes to human relating. Yes, you were handed a raw deal. But so was everyone else. So kick back, open your heart, and let the following wash over you.
1. No anger for women / No sadness for men
When it comes to emotional expression, our conditioning dictates that men and women are each banned from different points on the spectrum.
From a young age, women are primarily discouraged from expressing anger.
Don’t be a bitch, don’t be bossy, boys don’t like it if you’re too assertive.
But they are allowed sadness. And so, many women, when they’re actually feeling anger, are often prone to bypassing anger and falling straight into sadness. Opting for tears over clear expressions of boundaries. Which makes sense. When one pathway of expression is blocked, then the emotional energy has to go somewhere… and so sadness/despondence feels like the next most appropriate place to go.
Whereas the conditioning that men receive around emotional expression differs quite widely.
Men, overall, are encouraged to express as limited a range of emotions as possible. Ideally, a man never veers too far away from any emotion that isn’t anger, or quiet, stoic contentment. Even being seen to express joy too freely could have men experience pushback from their peers.
But the main emotion that men are discouraged from, by a landslide, is sadness.
Boy’s don’t cry. Don’t be a pussy. What a little bitch. Suck it up. Walk it off.
And so, without a healthy relationship to their sadness, men will often overcompensate and bypass their sadness by expressing anger. Because at least anger borders on aggression, and displaying anger means that you look tough and dangerous, and not like a weak little boy.
With this healthy pathway blocked off for men, there’s no wonder that the male suicide rate is 3-4x higher than that of women in the vast majority of developed nations around the world.
Men are like sealed champagne bottles… being shaken by the everyday stressors of life… with no release valve available to them. And so no wonder they turn into abusers, rapists, and mass shooters. They were taught that their emotions aren’t allowed.
Tell men that they can cry… that they are allowed to feel their feelings fully with others… and watch the world transform within a generation.
2. Your worth is your appearance / Your worth is your money
Women are raised with the (very loud, very constant) belief that their primary worth is in their looks.
Billions of dollars in advertising revenue are spent every year to remind women that if they’re fat, or oily, or have acne, or are wearing the wrong thing, or their hair isn’t shiny enough, that they will be unlovable and no one will ever want to be with them.
As a result, eating disorders, elective surgeries, and spending thousands of dollars a year on beauty products is increasingly the norm, instead of the exception.
For men, the message that they receive about their primary value is in their resource accumulation. In other words, if women are sex objects, then men are success objects.