gender norms

Men Told Us What They'd Like to Do If It Wasn't Seen as 'Unmanly'

And also what they'd do if they were a woman for the day.

by Annie Lord
20 April 2017, 12:19pm

Some guys feel restricted by their gender. They might want to wear nail polish, or get pedicures, or do any of that other fun stuff typically associated with women, but feel like they can't because their mates will take the piss out of them for it. This, of course, is unfair: everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want to themselves, as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.

To give a few guys the opportunity to voice what they'd do if it wasn't seen as "unmanly" we walked around Shoreditch and asked them that exact question.

Morayo, 26 and Kaz, 30

VICE: Is there anything you want to do that you don't do because you are a man?
Morayo: No, I think we have all the privileges we need if I'm honest with you. I'd actually hate to be a woman. I feel like, in terms of society, you guys are much more restricted – in terms of career, in terms of how you're seen, when you have kids, dating wise, in terms of sexual partners, the workplace, micro-aggressions. In terms of everything, really.
Kaz: I think you have to prove yourself.
Morayo: You're part of this boys' club if you're a man.

Do you find that kind of thing in the job you do?
Morayo: No, I think we're pretty good, to be fair.
Kaz: We work in the interviewing services and I don't think there is any bias towards being a man, I think it is more about what your ability is. 
Morayo: But in other roles I've had, when women take authority you see the men like, "There she goes again." And there's always the whole thing when men are going out for drinks and women won't be invited, and the conversations – if men are talking about sports or football – women don't really get as involved. This gap emerges between us and them.

What would you do if you were a woman for the day?
Isaac, 26: I'm trying to think of what ladies can do that men can't. Get pregnant, I guess; experience giving birth. I'd get my hair done because women spend a lot more on their hair than men. I'd get hair extensions and some long nails. Go on a dating site, see what it's like to be on the lady side.

Is there anything you envy about women?
No, because I think if I was a girl and like 200 guys were catcalling me and people telling you to smile on the street when you're having a shitty day, that would be so annoying. The makeup thing is pretty cool. Obviously some guys wear makeup, but to actively go out and wear makeup, I think people would look at me weirdly. Every day you girls could make a new face and you can coordinate colours with your outfit and boys just sort of throw their stuff on and brush their teeth and brush their hair. 

What would you do if you were a woman for the day?
George, 56: You are going to hate my comments. I would approach really handsome men who were fit and try to have a one night stand with them. I am presuming here that my sexuality would be that of a straight woman.

Is that because you'd like to experience having sex with a vagina, or want to see what it's like to approach men as a woman?
I want to experience the feeling of knowing what a woman goes through when she is actually on the prowl, in the way I do as a man. The ability to choose a victim or a person to conquer. I would want to feel the intimacy of a man's body penetrating me as opposed to me doing the penetrating. Also, with regard to the femininity thing – I don't know how to be feminine, even if I try. I want to feel the femininity of a woman without looking at the femininity of a woman.

Is there anything you envy in women?
Their ability to multitask, their ability to protect and love their children unconditionally. I think that this is innate to women. Men too, but more so women. 

Is there anything you think women have easier than men?
I can't think of anything. I was having a conversation last night with a friend of mine on whether women can have sex easier than men, and he was saying it is easier for women to lie back and think of England. I said that's not fair to say because I wouldn't want to have sex with someone that I didn't want to have sex with. Then he said that a man has to have a hard-on to have sex but a woman doesn't. But that is unfair because a woman actually has to be moist and excited to enjoy penetration.

Thanks, George.

Is there anything you want to do that you don't do because you are a man?
Paolo, 32: Nothing. In principle, I could do anything. If I wanted to wear high heels or paint my nails I could, but I don't want to. I wouldn't let people's perceptions affect me.

What would you do if you were a woman for the day?
I would go to work, cook, do the usual thing I do. I don't see much of a difference between men and women. You might have some preconceived notions, like, "I want to do this but I can't because I am a woman," but even then, I don't think that is true.

Is there anything women have easier than men?
Although we are trying to reach a balance, men still have it easier. 

Is there anything you envy in women?
Some women are very shy, some are outgoing and friendly. I don't think one should envy anything from anybody because it is a matter of social acceptance – you should just work on yourself, get more confidence. Change comes from inside of us, but we are social animals so we need to be guided by other people.

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