I have not yet looked into it but I wonder how many ideas of “men are men” and “women are women” have passed through time not just as an oral history but just because we are men and women.
Like creatures in divergent pathways developing wings or lungs or eyes, have different cultures come up with their own ideas (and jokes) about what makes a man a man and a woman a woman. You get the idea. Historically it seems men get depicted as the brutish strong fighter. Women get to be the dainty weak housewife. There are exceptions of course. You get the kings, queens, famous warriors or other famous people. But when we tell our jokes or even deride the opposite sex it seems those ‘common traits’ seem prevalent.
Here’s one and while I mess up jokes in person, hopefully I can get it better writing it down… A man finds a lantern and after rubbing it the genie pops out and grants him three wishes. His first wish is to be wealthy and poof he’s got a mansion and lots of money. His second wish is for fame and poof he’s a celebrity. For his last wish he asks to be smarter than any other man in the world and poof, the genie makes him a woman.
To keep things even for now at least here’s the flip side. How do you know when a woman is about to say something smart? When she starts her sentence with, “A man once told me…”
If you watch enough movies or tv shows, even international ones then you can see around the world that similar ideas seem to persist. In many ways, the aggressiveness of males can be used as a starting point. Men are the head of the household, the “man of the house.” If the woman henpecks the man, he might get laughed at by his male friends and told “we know who wears the pants in that family.” In terms of sex the idea more commonly in the past was that men are men and can sleep around but women are sluts. Once again movies and tv as a marker for cultural change shows that women have embraced the same ideas that they can sleep around as much as they want. And men around the world are rejoicing. Doh! Yet another idea that sex is all men think about.
A professor of mathematics sent a fax to his wife. Dear wife, You are 56 years old and I have certain needs which you are no longer able to satisfy. I am otherwise happy with you as a wife, and I sincerely hope you will not be hurt or offended to learn that by the time you receive, I will be at the hotel with my 19-year-old teaching assistant. I’ll be home before midnight. When he arrived home, there was a letter waiting for him that read: Dear Husband. You are also 56 years old, and by the time you receive this, I will be at the hotel with the 19-year-old pool boy. Being the brilliant mathematician that you are, you can easily appreciate the fact that 19 goes into 56 a lot more times than 56 goes into 19. Don’t wait up.
Some people think having large breasts makes a woman stupid. Actually, it’s quite the opposite: a woman having large breasts makes men stupid. – Rita Rudner
The jokes and ideas persist in other ways. Men don’t ask for directions but women can’t drive. Why does it take a million sperm to fertilize an egg? Because they won’t stop and ask for directions.
If a man has a problem with another man, you could just fight it out and probably be done with it right then. Women are known to be communicators and in a perverse fashion use the silent treatment to ostracize and mentally break someone down. Men are not generally considered to be good communicators. You get the help books talking about men and women being different. Even I learned that growing up without needing a book. Communication unfortunately is still the common denominator for much of the problems I would say. Not only do two people need to be good communicators but they have to do it effectively.
Stereotypes aren’t solely the property of opposite sexes. We hold them for same sex couples as well. If you see a guy that dresses well, flails his hands and is expressionful he’s probably gay. If he’s a hair dresser that’s almost an absolute. If a woman plays a sport that doesn’t involve tiny dresses or bikinis and involves blood or pain, she’s a lesbian. I can say that I have known a guy that was a hairdresser that wasn’t gay. But also honestly, while he was very straight, he did play the stereotype for his customers. He said the women would share with him and tip better than when he started as a straight hair dresser. It was interesting knowing him. As well I know women that are aggressive or play sports at but are happily married with kids and are not ‘in the closet’ hiding from themselves.
There are 2 times when a man doesn’t understand a woman – before marriage & after marriage
Any married man should forget his mistakes – there’s no use in two people remembering the same thing.
In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman. – Margaret Thatcher
How did the medical community come up with the term “PMS”? “Mad Cow Disease” was already taken.
I still find interesting the health benefits of marriage. Women die sooner and men live longer. The same henpecking that might drive someone nuts might also be the thing that gets him to the doctor’s office for the checkup to keep him healthy and alive.
To be clear, I’ve included stereotypes and jokes from around the world and until or unless we change as a people these will continue to persist. We aren’t one creature. We are men and women. Embrace the differences and celebrate who we are but just don’t be a dick about it.
-Santa’s Fallen Angel