In 2018, men cannot easily complain about women.
Dating can be really tough and frustrating for both men and women, but it seems to be much more acceptable for the latter to comment on annoyances they experience in relationships. A woman proclaiming that men are all are pigs is not likely to stir up controversy, while a similar statement by a man would have him labelled as a womanhater and a sore-loser in the dating world.
Why is there a double standard?
Relationship advice columns have long been a hub for people to air their grievances about a partner (or lack of).
Historically, these columns were nongendered and were often referred to as “conduct literature.” Despite this, they generally focused on giving women etiquette lessons instead of actually giving insightful, personal answers to a reader’s inquiry. The answers were mostly written by men and it showed. The suggestions often centred on the idea that when a woman had an issue with a partner, they were the problem and should change their behaviour to better fit a man’s needs.
Today, relationship advice for men is a growing trend but has not advanced much past being conduct literature. Similar to the thoughtless advice previously provided by male writers, female authors are playing into the idea that men are always at fault and need to consider a woman’s needs first and foremost.
I discovered this trend through an article in The Atlantic. Although it was written in 2013, these columns for men still have not developed into much.
In 2018, the most notable examples of columns for men are GQ and Reddit.
Of the last 30 articles about relationships in GQ, less than a third were maleauthored. With titles like: 15 Things You Must Own Before You Invite a Woman Over (female-written), in which the author berates men on all the objects they may not own, it is a perfect example of how men are still being told they need to change for their partner.
On the totally opposite end of the spectrum, Reddit seems to have a major victim’s complex. Just by viewing r/askmen, you would think that men are an underprivileged, minority group. And if you want to be truly disgusted, you’ll check out any page associated with incels – basically, men who believe women are the devil and any man who can get an attractive woman is a jerk and con artist.
With these being the majority of options for male relationship advice, it’s possible that men may either start to believe they are always the issue, or develop a victim’s complex – completely losing the necessary gray area that is more accurate to real life.
Both genders are guilty in perpetuating these ideas through their total disregard for being open about the issues men may face in relationships and dating.
Obviously, women have faced much greater adversity within gender relations and I don’t mean to discredit any of the work that has been done to promote equality. These types of gender issues have been around forever, but why have men yet to move forward in the category of relationship guidance?
As a single young man who has not been super successful in the dating game as of late, I have learned that complaining about the shady, inconsiderate moves some women pull is a touchy subject. I discovered that griping about times you’ve felt mistreated almost always makes a man sound pathetic and people are quick to question what you as a man did wrong – never considering that the potential partner may actually be at fault. I’m not saying I am perfect and I probably am the problem sometimes, but when a woman sincerely has poor character traits, why does it feel like a risk to openly criticize her?
Everyone knows both genders have issues with certain parts of dealing with each other – why can’t we all critique the qualities that we dislike in each other? After all, constructive criticism is often the only way people can grow.
– Jory Proft