Men are often derided and shamed when they break away from the stereotypical definition of a man and it's time to change that.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 8, 2021. It has since been updated.
Toxic masculinity has been for centuries celebrated as what constitutes a 'real man.' The stereotypical definition of a real man includes misogyny, bullying, aggressive displays to show dominance, and more often than not leaving them with fragile egos. The world needs less of those traits, and men certainly need to abandon those stereotypes and become better human beings. 'Boys will be boys' was just an excuse for inexcusable that was largely normalized, and often celebrated by popular culture. The #MeToo movement shined the spotlight on toxic masculinity and has changed the discourse surrounding the topic in pop culture and otherwise. Gilette's ad slogan "The Best Men Can Be” centered around calling out toxic masculinity was just an example of that.
A Reddit user touched on the topic, asking, "Boys, if it was considered more universally acceptable, what is a "girly" thing you would like to do?" Many men opened up on what they'd like to do without the fear of being shamed or attacked for it. The replies were surprising in many ways considering much of it just about being decent human beings.
1) Hug people more/compliment people more, I'm a guy, and whenever I do any of those things people think I'm being weird and it's so annoying. - u/Tarani5
"I've noticed sometimes that if I give a guy some random compliments over the course of a month, his attitude towards me becomes a bit more open and will start complimenting me on random stuff too. A lot of guys won't say it unless you show them that you are okay with that kind of discourse," replied u/jet_bunny.
2) I got made fun of by my dad and siblings when I complimented a women's purse. I'm not even gonna lie it was a nice purse and since we were on this topic they hurt my feelings I got f*cking bullied for complimenting a damn purse. - u/2jak_3d.
3) I want to smell like a coconut or a summer breeze, not BATTLESHARK or TIMBERKNIFE. Also please make more conditioner for guys. I don't want to buy a bottle that works as a shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, lotion, and siracha sauce all in one - u/Royal_vindication.
4) I brush my friend's hair and she taught me how to braid it. We keep it quiet. - u/-eGg_mCmUFFin-.
5) Not a guy, but one time I went to a famous toy store with a guy friend and they had a HUGE dollhouse section. I was freaking out because I love dollhouses, and my friend’s eyes got really big and he confessed that he had always loved dollhouses but never felt like he was allowed to play with them as a kid. So we hung out looking at tiny furniture for like an hour. u/PutItOnMyTombstone
6) I used to think baking was girly, but I’ve been doing it since a kid and I absolutely love it. - u/thedean246
"I find this stereotype so funny. Hmm, yes, you know what’s manly? Having to rely on others for food because you can’t be bothered to touch a stove or oven. I cook for myself and I love doing it," commented u/sauron3579.
7. Talk more openly about feelings, some shit really just needs to be worked out. -u/Spartan0536
8. Drink a rainbow-colored cocktail at a bar and watch more romcom shit. - u/Any_Kaleidoscope_591
9. I wish men had more clothing options. I would wear more stuff if it was socially acceptable. - u/PersonMaybe21
10. I think society puts too much pressure on men when it comes to crying. I've heard countless people telling men things like "Why are you crying like a girl? Man up." It's messed up that guys cant be vulnerable when they want because it's too girly - u/NakedUnderTheSheets.
The stereotypical man is the embodiment of the worst qualities in a person, so don't conform to any of them and be the person you want to be.