5 Myths About Women to Reconsider
It’s interesting when myths are created about a group of people that make up literally half the world. And here’s the thing about myths: they aren’t always true. I think you and I both know that. However, they aren’t always false either. The important work to do with myths is to unpack them, with the help of pop culture. I mean, no one gets women like Hollywood gets women…right?
Don’t care about women? Well, I’m not really sure why you’re still reading this then or frankly, why you do anything at all.
For the rest of us, myths about womanhood and what it means or what it looks like are insidious. Women can find themselves living out these myths even when they don’t agree with them or realize that it’s happening. Of course, sometimes women live out these myths because they want to. Then it becomes a choice and interestingly…that’s ok, too. Funny how that works.
Myth #1: Women Love Shopping
Sure, I could believe some women like shopping. I could also believe that someone really enjoys listening to the musical stylings of Kenny G. That doesn’t mean we all want to. Personally, I find the act of shopping a miserable and almost torturous experience, whether in a store or online. You know what I and most women I know like? Buying things we want. That’s America: the joy of acquisition, not effort. Put that way, perhaps even men could agree that owning things you wanted is pretty nice. In fact, this article from Forbes suggests that the myth of a woman’s love for shopping wouldn’t exist if people weren’t so insistent that women be the shoppers, in other words—cyclical logic.
Additionally, let’s not ignore the ridiculous price differences between gendered products that are otherwise exactly the same. Researchers have called this the “Pink Tax”. So it’s probably time to retire the idea that women need retail therapy and replace it with the concept that we belong to a culture that really likes to have things, across the board. Don’t pretend you don’t have an embarrassing purchase from the 90s in your closet. We all do.
Myth #2: Women are Crazy
Red flag: you’re dating someone who says his or her “ex-girlfriend is *insert expletive* crazy”. What do we typically mean by “crazy” behavior? Usually behavior that is irrational or violent or obsessive. This study from the American Psychological Association argues the tendency for men to display this type of behavior over women, since apparently women tend towards more depressive behaviors.
However, the idea of masculinity as an aggressive or dominant energy hurts men as well as women. It’s sort of like when a woman is accused of PMS’ing or being “too sensitive” because she’s “on her period”. But, when they aren’t giving you cancer scares, WebMD asked the question of whether men also have “Irritable Male Syndrome” at a special time of month. While inconclusive, it’s not clear that a woman’s body also defaults to hormonal mood swings every month either. So why are women crazy and men are not?
Myth #3: Women Gossip
So women gossip, right? They whisper and they call each other shocked and they have brunch to discuss their “frenemies”. Y’all, life is not an episode of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars or whatever other TV show features 35 year-olds pretending to be in high school and wearing Versace to the gym. I have never met a man who ignored gossip because I have never met anyone who ignored gossip. If half the world didn’t care about gossip, we wouldn’t have TMZ.
This myth is tied closely to the idea that women talk too much or at least that women talk a lot. Actually, in the book Learning to Lose, a study was done that even when a woman was talking only 15% or 30% of the time, the perception was that they were either equal parts of or trying to dominate a conversation. In fact, numerous studies have been done about whether or not men or women speak more without any conclusive evidence. If you count the Internet, we all talk too much. But also, if you count the Internet, women are idiot babies who should be raped and go make sandwiches. Because the Internet is terrible when you are a woman as the inevitable comments on this article will prove.
Myth #4: Women’s Sports Don’t Matter
Did you see this gem from the Summer Olympics this year?
And how did you feel when you saw this clip?
Probably the same way I did: that even when women show god-like talent (I mean, jesus, look at Simone Biles or Mo’ne Davis or Bethany Hamilton), there’s always a catch. Credit where credit is due, right? Unfortunately, no. If women in sports don’t matter to you, it’s likely because either a) sports in general don’t matter to you or b) because you haven’t been told they should. This study compared a number of sporting events that revealed a bias in news and media coverage language in describing female athletes. Let’s not forget that closely tied with sexism in sports is anti-gay and anti-trans sentiment, as cheerfully reminded by this other study.
There is no reason to believe that women aren’t as worthwhile as men in the sporting world. This isn’t that ridiculous Billie Jean King match. This is about the human body doing absurdly cool things, no matter how that body is constructed.
Myth #5: Women are Equal
Perhaps you heard that August 26th was Women’s Equality Day in the US. And because of the incredible work done throughout history by men and women alike to bring us to Women’s Equality Day, you could be forgiven in thinking it’s here. You would also be wrong.
I’m not going to cite the following statements because you can use Google too.
- Women are paid less.
- Women are raped more.
- Women hold fewer public offices.
- Women receive less education.
- Women are less represented in museums, history books, scientific research, militaries, media awards, conference panels, etc.
And for my final word, here’s a clip about Men’s Rights Activists.