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Stereotypes Of Men That Everyone Should Abandon

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Stereotypes Of Men That Everyone Should Abandon

Every Sunday evening on Italian TV, a female comic, Luciana Littizzetto, makes fun of men and repeats incredibly funny and ridiculous stereotypes. She mocks men as being incapable, hopeless at domestic tasks and in bed as well as being hypochondriacs. What is more, she gets away with it and has done so for several years. She also mocks ridiculous TV commercials, politicians and anything else that she finds absurd. The only thing is that her male stereotypes are repeated again and again. Imagine a male comedian spouting stereotypes about women. I doubt if he would get out of the TV studio alive!

What is the problem with stereotypes of men or women? They are usually simplistic, untrue and are based on certain assumptions we make which are shakily based on gender. They assume that men and women will behave according to the gender role. They forget one key fact which is that each person is an individual. These stereotypes are “sweeping generalizations” as my father used to say. He was right.

Now that gender differences are less rigid and women start to gain equality, isn’t it time to abandon some common stereotypes about men and lay them to rest for good? Here are the top 7 that I want dead and buried!

1. Men don’t cry

Unfortunately, when a man cries, it is still regarded as a weakness. But this is changing and a caring man is not so rare nowadays, thank goodness. A man who can deal with emotions is not weak. He is simply mature and is not a robot. He is in touch with his feelings, emotions and will ask himself whether he is a caring partner, friend and parent.

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“Boys don’t cry, but men do.”- Malorie Blackman, Boys Don’t Cry

2. Men never notice how women look

It would seem that men never notice when a woman gets her hair done. The truth is though that many men really do notice and that they will get real pleasure in telling their partner how great she looks. But split ends and botox injections might go unnoticed. I love the joke,

Husband: “Honey, you seem strangely unmoved by the fact that the dog just ate a carving knife.”

Wife: “I’m furrowing my brow with concern… on the inside.”

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3. Men are aggressive

If the stereotypes are right, they are likely to follow the trend and abuse their partners emotionally and physically. After all, that fits in with the myth that they are demanding, hard and physically strong. Wife batterers often justify their actions by saying, “she wouldn’t stop nagging me,” another stereotype, according to one research study on why men abuse women, published in the Harvard University Gazette. Fortunately, there are millions of loving, caring men who never need to resort to bullying and violent behavior.

4. Men don’t do housework

How many men still feel that housework is beneath them because that is women’s work? Start counting in billions and trillions. The stats here are pretty damning in that 83% of women compared to 65% of men are actively doing all the household chores. But look at the 2010 figures on how many women are breadwinners – 60%!

Now look at all the stay at home dads who are doing an awful lot of housework and child minding. Latest figures show that the number of househusbands has doubled since the 1970s and is now estimated at 550,000. Some things do change, albeit slowly. Stay-at-home dads are the pioneers of gender equality and Anne Marie Slaughter’s husband, Andrew Moravcsik, has written convincingly about this in the article, Why I Put My Wife’s Career First

“A female executive needs what male CEOs have always had: a spouse who bears the burden at home.” – Andrew Moravcsik

5. Men decide and tell women what to do

“You’re a man. Whoever the woman is, it’s their responsibility to listen to what you say.”- Quote from MenEngage.org

This is so widespread that the MenEngage.org have joined forces with over 600 organizations worldwide to enlist the help of men and boys because this is the key to equality. Watch the video here about what male stereotypes are still floating around. Long way to go.

6. Men don’t do girlie things with their daughters

Dads will play soccer with their boys and will not be bothered with playing with their daughters. Playing and bonding with kids should not be based on rigid gender lines. It is reinforcing gender stereotypes from a very early age.

Nathan is a single dad who lost his wife to cancer last year. He has decided that one of the best ways to bond with his daughter is to let her paint his nails and also help his daughter with hers. Watch the touching video here of a great dad who is not afraid of stereotypes and is perfectly happy to go against the tide. An awesome dad teaching his daughter a wonderful life lesson.

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7. Men love sports

I hated school sports and spent many an hour inventing excuses to escape or praying for heavy rain. But I still grew up to be a balanced and happy person. It is comforting to know that there are men who are not so addicted to sports as society would have us believe. They can gainfully use their time doing things they are really keen on, such as writing. Milton James, the Man Booker winner for 2015 has remarked:

“I was the nerd. Because I was reading. I wasn’t into sports. I was really into art. Very geekish about comics. Assumed gay.”- Marlon James,

He was bullied of course because he did not fit into the male stereotype. In order to cope with that he started to read more and more and write.

“I’m tired of stories that use race to define someone’s character—that help brew suspicion, contempt, and anger among people. How long is it going to take for all stories to be told without a color bias? In the end, aren’t we just human beings under the same skies?”- Shalita Grant

Just substitute the words ‘race’ and ‘color’ with anything like ‘age’, ‘sex’, ‘men’, ‘women’, and you will see that we still have a long way to go!

Featured photo credit: Househusbands on the morning jog/Matthew Rutledge via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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