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'Men are stuck' in gender roles, data suggest -

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Other research points to an enduring stigma for boys whose behavior is seen as feminine. "If girls call themselves tomboys, it's with a sense of pride," said University of Illinois at Chicago sociology professor Barbara Risman. "But boys make fun of other boys if they step just a little outside the rigid masculine stereotype."

Two years ago, for instance, a Global Toy Experts survey found that more than half of mothers wouldn't give a doll to someone else's son, while only 32% said the same about giving cars or trucks to a girl. Several studies have found that bending gender stereotypes in childhood is tied to worse anxiety for men than women in adulthood.

In the southern end of Orange County, former friends have stopped talking to Lori Duron and her husband. Slurs and threats arrive by email. Their son calls himself a boy, but has gravitated toward Barbies, Disney princesses and pink since he was a toddler. In a blog and a book she wrote, Duron chronicles worries that would seem trivial if her child were a girl: Whether he would be teased for his rainbowy backpack. Whether a Santa would look askance at him for wanting a doll.

"If a little girl is running around on the baseball team with her mitt, people think, 'That's a strong girl,'" said her husband, Matt Duron, who, like his wife, uses a pen name to shield the boy's identity. "When my 6-year-old is running around in a dress, people think there's something wrong with him."

Beyond childhood, the gender imbalance remains stark when students choose college majors: Between 1971 and 2011, a growing share of degrees in biology, business and other historically male majors went to women, an analysis by University of Maryland, College Park sociologist Philip N. Cohen shows. Yet fields like education and the arts remained heavily female, as few men moved the opposite way. Federal data show that last year less than 2% of preschool and kindergarten teachers were men.

In the last 40 years, "women have said, 'Wait a minute, we are competent and assertive and ambitious,'" claiming a wider range of roles, said Michael Kimmel, executive director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University. But "men have not said, 'We're kind, gentle, compassionate and nurturing.'",0,7169949.story#ixzz2pIfNOsOg

A Dec. 17th thread asked the men of Reddit, "What girly thing do you really want to do or try but it is socially unacceptable?" Responses ranged from cuddling etiquette ("Being the little spoon") to fashion woes ("Toe socks") and showing emotion ("Crying in public without getting judged").

Here are 11 of our favorite answers:

1. Have more stylish clothing options. As bradleynowell252 pointed out, "Girls just get so many choices on nice things to wear and still look good, even in a casual manner." It's true that while women can wear "masculine" clothing free of judgment, the same can not be said for men in "feminine" clothing. "Also, fancy hats. It's a shame that only women get to have awesome adornments in their headwear without any social stigma," lokiikol noted.

2. Be able to talk about other men being attractive. Kbjami brought up an important point when he wrote: "Talking about how hot Brad Pitt is. I'm not gay but I find Brad Pitt quite attractive. Actually just talking about how attractive males are in general." We completely agree, men should definitely be able to compliment other men. And Brad Pitt is very attractive.

3. Order "girly drinks." "For just once, I'd like to get to order yummy pink drinks with chunks of real fruit that guys secretly like but can't order because they'll be made fun of," responded Reddit user Dwarf--shortage. We think everyone should be able to drink Flirtinis, Mudslides and Fuzzy Navels -- they're delicious!

4. Get treated to a spa day. We can all agree that there are few places more relaxing than a spa. So why is it only socially acceptable for women to attend these heaven-on-earth establishments? Euphuist said that he would love to get a "Mani/pedi, face mask, all that jazz. Colour me intrigued."

5. Carry a purse. Emmy_Bee was one of the first to comment: "Not gonna lie. A purse would be hella convenient." And Riverchimp pointed out some of the exciting things one could carry around in a purse: "Could you imagine how much beer you could fit in a purse? Probably 8 cans. 8 friggin cans! With you all the time!"

6. Dance like no one's watching. Sadly, rigid gender roles even follow men to the dance floor. As Charbok wrote, "When I get drunk I love to dance like a girl. I'm a big fan of twerking. I also like to dance with my arms up, like in a girly way."

7. Wear makeup. Although the politics of beauty culture are quite complicated, and no one should feel compelled to wear makeup all the time, it can be a really fun way to express oneself. Unfortunately, men rarely have the option of wearing makeup without judgment. As RamsesThePigeon noted, "I'm a decent-looking guy, but a little eyeliner and some foundation could still work wonders for me."

8. Get pampered by women. Chivalry and tradition teach young men they should buy meals and movie tickets, but many responded that they would like to be wined and dined once in awhile. We agree with kbjami on this one, "I also love flowers and think girls should also buy men flowers." While no one -- man or woman -- enjoys being ditched after a drink, Radiationshield had a point when he wrote: "Get a girl to pay for my drink, then disappear like a phantom in the night."  <-- my favorite

9. Wear yoga pants. Baseballwiz definitely said it best: "Wear yoga pants. I've worn them in private before. it feels like kittens hugging your legs."

10. Have fun with one's children without being judged. Chairforceveteran put it perfectly when he wrote:

When walking through a parking lot, holding my daughter's hand, we usually skip. I get the dirty looks from men and women alike. I'm making my kid happy, why so much hate? Also, when my oldest was 4 ish, she asked me to wear a headband with kitty ears so we would match. We went to iHop and a dude would not stop staring at me.

11. Be able to show emotion without being labeled as gay or a "p*ssy."Whether it was crying over a sad movie or simply relating to a guy friend, an overwhelming amount of respondents felt they couldn't be openly emotional or sensitive without some sort of backlash. "Sometimes if I'm upset I wish I could just cry and not feel bad about it," Thee_Gonz admitted. If this isn't proof that strict gender roles hurt men, we don't know what is.

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