Several years ago, I moved states. There are a lot things to get when you move. The thing I wanted to put off more than anything else was changing my license and tags. I remember wondering why I didn't want to go the DMV.
While growing up, I had always heard horror stories about it and remembered the way it was always portrayed in movies. There were never-ending lines, confusing procedures and miserable customer service.
However, in 20 years and two different states, I had never experienced those stereotypes. It was always efficient and friendly. Why was I still so apprehensive? I think the reason is that stereotypes have lasting power. Everything in my personal experience said I had nothing to fear, but the stereotype was winning the day. Unfortunately, the DMV reinforced the stereotype this time.
Two-thirds of my experiences with the DMV have been good, but stereotypes are damaging and tough to shake. They can create distrust and hurt feelings. [Tweet This] Here are 5 damaging stereotypes about men:
1. "Men are just after sex." Most men do love sex, but most women do too. This stereotype paints the picture that men just want to take from women. Once we satisfy our selfish desires, we move on. This is obviously true for some men, but it is not the way a majority of men operate. More men see sex as a way to intimately know women, show affection and love them.
2. "Men are idiots." At some point, in commercials, TV shows and movies, the bungling idiot guy became the norm. There are some of these characters I find funny; however, when these idiot characters become the "go to," we have a problem. It becomes the perception of the public and undermines our societal contribution.
3. "When it comes to parenting, men need to be trained by women." This one goes along with the last one. Dads are consistently portrayed as uncomfortable and lost when it comes to parenting. We are even portrayed as just another kid for the mom to train. There is a lot to learn from women when it comes to parenting. However, there is just as much men bring to the table in raising children. It is a partnership, and we are to help make one another be better parents. Reducing the male contribution isn't good for anyone.
4. "Men are uncomfortable with intimacy and vulnerability." Plenty of women struggle with this too. Again, some men are uncomfortable with both but not the majority. Most men desire to be known at the deepest level. The list of people we are vulnerable with might be smaller than most women, but we are not deficient when it comes to intimacy. A stereotype like this throws things out of balance. Men either take on the stereotype because this is how men are "supposed to be" or they overcompensate and become blubbering criers.
5. "Men are aggressive, sports hungry and competitive." When men have shown physical aggression, particularly in violating the law, it is easy to see. I believe there are just as many aggressive and competitive women as men. It may come out in different ways, but it's there. There are also many men who are none of these. Sweeping statements like this have a tendency to make those men feel like there is something wrong with them. That's the main problem with most stereotypes.
Sound Off: What other stereotypes about men have you experienced?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, "What are some stereotypes about kids that you find hurtful?"
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