Purse Turns Brave Men into Scaredy-Cats
A while back I tossed my handbag onto the back seat as I gave a couple of friends a ride. After parking I asked Mike to hand me my purse.
His hands sheepishly approached the worrisome object — and impulsively pulled away.
“How to grasp it?” he wondered. He considered the purse from different angles.
Exasperated, I shrieked,
Just hand me the purse!
Finally, he tossed it to me in a way that kept his hands on the repellent bag for mere nanoseconds.
Hmmm, I don’t have a problem holding a wallet. I actually keep one in my purse and sometimes take it out when I don’t feel like tugging around a handbag.
When I tell my class this story, male students explain that you must be careful in grabbing a purse so as to avoid looking unmanly.
It’s all about “gender ranking,” something I’ve discussed before. We value men over women, so men feel demeaned by taking on anything feminine.
Meanwhile, Lisa Wade, over at Sociological Images points out the paradox (to paraphrase):
Gender rules insist that men must avoid association with the feminine at all costs because, if they do not, they are weak. They are pussies, bitches, women, girls.
The reason he’s afraid of femininity is because it’s reviled. It makes you a woman, which makes you worthless. Which is fine for the ladies, but dudes are advised to avoid personal denigration if at all possible.
Femininity is weakness and yet, oddly, it has the power to strip men of their manliness.
Or put another way,
Masculinity is strength, power, and dominance… but femininity is terrifying.
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Posted on January 9, 2015, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, sexism and tagged femininity, feminism, gender, gender ranking, handbags, manbags, men, psychology, sexism. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.