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Emasculation - Is that a real thing?

XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
I always end up having male friends who tell me I'm hard to read and I make them doubt themselves. They don't use the word emasculate but other women have told me that strong women emasculate men. Do you think that's a real thing or is it code for something else?

Also, another friend (female) told me I am formidable and I hurt guys feelings. I think I'm pretty nice! Does anyone else get told to be softer and what does that mean?

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  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    Because being confident and assertive is a "masculine" trait. It's really male privilege at its finest --- the idea that these are standard male qualities, but a woman possessing them is out of the norm, or worse, intimidating.
    I've been told that I "act like a man" in some kitchens because I refuse to defer to them and basically back down.
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,175Registered Users
    Definitely and I know I'm kinda 'mean' superficially(which is different than being assertive, so that makes it extra for me!). It's how I am. I tried to change it for my ex (he was a little bit the macho type and likes sweet type girls) and it didn't work. I need a stronger and more secure man. Men that get emasculated by me are too sensitive which is most stereotypical men.
  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    It's about as real as white people freaking out when they feel like they're starting to lose white privilege. In other words, I don't think it's real. I think they're worried about not being dominant anymore.
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  • redcelticcurlsredcelticcurls Posts: 17,502Registered Users
    Springcurl wrote: »
    It's about as real as white people freaking out when they feel like they're starting to lose white privilege. In other words, I don't think it's real. I think they're worried about not being dominant anymore.

    This.


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  • LadyV69LadyV69 Posts: 3,397Registered Users
    I don't think it's real either. Men who think they're being emasculated are insecure and immature. If you have self-confidence, what people say or do should have little to no affect on what you feel about yourself.
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  • XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
    Everone tells me I'm feminine to an infinite degree. I never get told I'm masculine or have masculine traits which is a lil strange because I was a tomboy and I think all women should have a mix of what is considered femininity and masculinity.

    Similar to Josephine, I get told I'm mean, but more so by men. I can't picture where I've been mean! One of my guy friends told me that when he first saw me he ran over to say hello and I looked at him like - step off. He said he wanted to have a conversation, but I looked really bored with him and he thought I was stuck up. I do not remember that nor do I think like that. I think that some men believe that women should be all over them and if the woman acts normal, they feel they aren't getting an ego boost.

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  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    It's not necessarily that people outright tell you you're masculine, or even consciously think you are, it's that they associate certain traits with men.

    Yes, I get told I'm mean by men. Mean = not flirting with them, holding their opinion on how something should be done as fact above my own, or pretending I'm helpless/clueless about something and need them to show me. Over and over.
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  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    I've been told men find me intimidating. That's their problem. I am who I am.
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,175Registered Users
    Xyz wrote: »
    Everone tells me I'm feminine to an infinite degree. I never get told I'm masculine or have masculine traits which is a lil strange because I was a tomboy and I think all women should have a mix of what is considered femininity and masculinity.

    Similar to Josephine, I get told I'm mean, but more so by men. I can't picture where I've been mean! One of my guy friends told me that when he first saw me he ran over to say hello and I looked at him like - step off. He said he wanted to have a conversation, but I looked really bored with him and he thought I was stuck up. I do not remember that nor do I think like that. I think that some men believe that women should be all over them and if the woman acts normal, they feel they aren't getting an ego boost.

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    Yes I'm sorta expressionless as well..it throws people off, especially women. I've also been told I initially seem stuck up. I don't care. If people are that superficial, they're not my type in general and we definitely will not get along.
  • XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
    Yeah, I think you guys are right. I just started thinking that something deeper had to be happening because how could someone go through life feeling butt hurt about others not worshipping them? With men, aren't 90% of the women they meet not interested? How can they feel confused everytime?

    I'm dealing with a situation now where another friend has a bruised ego and I feel like I have to go back and have a mommy-style 'are you ok' type conversation. It's annoying. I hate when the guy tries to make me feel like I'm some evil Jezebel. I wish I could just quote this thread. :p

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  • scrillsscrills Posts: 6,700Registered Users
    Let me quote Jay-Z here from Heart of the City

    "sensitive thugs, yall all need hugs"

    I've been told this quite a few times and I like to quote Jay-Z. but honestly, I'm of two minds with this. Sometimes, I tell them to get over it and then there are times when I have to stop and realize that it's OK to let someone help me.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I get the "you're intimidating" thing a lot, too, bc I'm tall and bougie looking (so they say). LOL

    But I think that's different than being accused of emasculating a man.

    When I think, "emasculate," I think of a woman belittling a man (intentionally or not) by saying he doesn't make enough money, couldn't physically defend her against some kind of attack or couldn't please her in bed, etc. or on one of the other supposed indicators of true manhood.

  • Who Me?Who Me? Posts: 3,181Registered Users
    I think men are taught from birth (by society and their peers, if not directly by their parents) that there are ways a man should behave and things a man should do. Basically that men are strong, tough, don't cry or show emotion, can fix things, are good at sports, etc.

    I think a man can feel emasculated whenever someone (male or female) proves that the man is not one of these traits. How easy it is to make a man feel this way I think depends on how strongly they hold the belief in what is stereotypically "manly".


    But basically I don't think it's much different than making anyone feel inferior. Everyone wants to be good at stuff. And when you think you can do something well, and someone else comes along and does it way better, it's kind of a sucky feeling. I think feeling "emasculated" just describes that feeling in men when it relates to the "traditionally masculine" things they think they should be able to do well.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    "Emasculate" is a term Conservative Republicans use often...it's code for: we're going to take rights away from women.
  • ttlollattlolla Posts: 948Registered Users
    I've been told I'm 'mean' 'harsh' and this always comes from guys .

    I know if I continue to internalize what they say , I'll probably start to second guess myself and think I'm a little mean, too assertive or whatever .
    The fact I only hear it from men usually 5years older or less guarantees its their issue not mine .

    I've actually had a guy tell me not to sound "too intelligent" cos some guys might be intimidated : shock:
  • JewelCurlsJewelCurls Posts: 191Registered Users
    I'm weird, because I don't get told that I am mean or intimidating. I do have a strong personality, and I also prefer "traditional" relationship models where the men take a leading role, even in friendship. I want input, but they should be in charge. So while I don't judge men for feeling emasculated around me (because I try not to judge people for their emotions) I do try to surround myself with men who don't mind a little competition for airtime, if you know what I mean. Others don't last long.
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  • XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
    Here's some examples of times I've gotten the 'you're not like the other girls and I don't know how to take it' conversation. Also, I consider those comments in the same vein as when people say I'm not really black. Back-handed complements that insult my whole entire race or gender.

    -I wasn't going to talk to you because you look like one of those girls who gets her coffee at Starbucks. - said by a friend of a friend, I guess to let me know that boougieness is intimidating.

    -Most women only like simple games. - A comment from the male host at this party where I asked to play poker or chess.

    -You're already smart. Why don't you not study so much and come out with me more? - male friend

    -You don't hang out enough because you think you're too good for us. - same male friend.

    The last 2 are from the male friend I have to have a talk with now. He was a perfectly normal confident man when I met him. Actually, he was extremely cocky. Now he alternates between rude comments and sulking because I won't act like other girls who come over and file his nails and such. I honestly can't see how these men's perceptions of women can be real. I don't know women who are as dumb, easy, and uncultured as they insist other ladies are. I don't want to argue with them so I just walk away. But if they are in my social circle, we always end up having to have the talk about me being 'kinder' to them. And I refuse to humor them.

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  • legendslegends Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    Xyz wrote: »
    I honestly can't see how these men's perceptions of women can be real. I don't know women who are as dumb, easy, and uncultured as they insist other ladies are. I don't want to argue with them so I just walk away. But if they are in my social circle, we always end up having to have the talk about me being 'kinder' to them. And I refuse to humor them.
    I don't know that many women who are that dumb, but I do know a LOT of women who act...not dumb, exactly, but they do tone themselves down when they're around men. They don't talk about the same things, or they don't talk about things in the same way that they usually do--less detail, less intense, less acerbic, etc.
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  • *Marah**Marah* Posts: 8,032Registered Users
    Let me preface this by saying this is coming from someone that has never been told by men that she is harsh, mean, or intimidating. Men have pretty much always told me that they think I'm very cute, approachable, and fun. I've always gotten along well with guys all my life.

    Having said that, I think it's bologna that "strong women" emasculate men as a blanket statement. Obviously every man is different but my husband said no woman or man could "emasculate" him period. If a man is confident in who he is, what he knows, and understands he's HIS OWN person.. a strong woman wouldn't do anything to his masculinity at all. Sure, a strong woman may make him feel like he has to step up more or he may just not be compatible with that sort of woman (which is fine..and there are different interpretations of what a "strong woman" is..).

    I also think sometimes women confuse the idea of "being strong" with men thinking they are "mean", "harsh", or "intimidating". To a lot of men those words don't neccessarily denote a woman is "strong" in a good way. it's basically code for a lot of men to say in a "nice" way they find certain women to be a female dog and they don't consider her completely "feminine" on some level....regardless of whether she's physically attractive or not.
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,175Registered Users
    Xyz wrote: »
    The last 2 are from the male friend I have to have a talk with now. He was a perfectly normal confident man when I met him. Actually, he was extremely cocky. Now he alternates between rude comments and sulking because I won't act like other girls who come over and file his nails and such. I honestly can't see how these men's perceptions of women can be real. I don't know women who are as dumb, easy, and uncultured as they insist other ladies are. I don't want to argue with them so I just walk away. But if they are in my social circle, we always end up having to have the talk about me being 'kinder' to them. And I refuse to humor them.

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    And these are just friends? That's kind of odd. I have a friend like this (female) that often has talks with her close friends about how they are not good friends or need to do things differently in the relationship. She's quite needy and obviously wants everything her way(sounds like your friends as well). Needless to say, the friends are not as close and they keep a distance/different type of friendship. Some relationships/friendships are not meant to be nor are they compatible. It really shouldn't be that hard.
  • XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
    legends wrote: »
    I don't know that many women who are that dumb, but I do know a LOT of women who act...not dumb, exactly, but they do tone themselves down when they're around men. They don't talk about the same things, or they don't talk about things in the same way that they usually do--less detail, less intense, less acerbic, etc.
    Yes in the case of this particular guy I've noticed that he has plenty of women who cook and buy him clothing or other gifts and giggle and tell him how stellar he is. Shakes head.

    When he talked to me about 'helping him with his nails,' I said, 'Oh no, you have to pay to get a manicure.' He started telling me about his female friends who invite him over and do his hair and his nails for him. Again, I just shook my head. I understand that these type of women exist. I don't understand why some men would try to push all women to be like that. They should hold on to those generous types like they're gold but instead they harass others. And I'm the b-word?

    My ex and I went through this when we first became friends. He said it hurt his feelings that I didn't like him the way he liked me, so he started criticizing everything I did. I guess he thought that would make me realize I needed a man - ie, him. Or else he was trying to convince himself that I was trash and verbalizing it helped.

    I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to head off the emasculation so I don't have to hear about it. Marah, what are you doing that works? My female friends will sometimes berate my male friends who act very needy or bosy. But they do it by being very loud and getting in the guy's faces, which leads my male friends to just laugh later and claim that women are emotional. I go more for the talk rationally approach, but it's tedious and I'd love something quick and painless.

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  • XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
    Josephine wrote: »
    And these are just friends? That's kind of odd. I have a friend like this (female) that often has talks with her close friends about how they are not good friends or need to do things differently in the relationship. She's quite needy and obviously wants everything her way(sounds like your friends as well). Needless to say, the friends are not as close and they keep a distance/different type of friendship. Some relationships/friendships are not meant to be nor are they compatible. It really shouldn't be that hard.
    Most of the men, I don't become close friends with. I shake the comments off as I know it's about them.

    This last guy, I actually like and am trying to get to a place where he doesn't read my level of friendship by gifts and ego boosts. As I mentioned, he was normal at first. Since we've known each other awhile, he's started nervousing - (tm) Miss New York. He's really nervous when we talk in person, tells my friends I don't like him, sulky, lost his charisma so to speak. That's really more what I made the thread for. Some men are fools, they are easy to ignore. This kid is pretty sweet but has machismo issues. I would just like to ask him to be himself with me without making it more awkward.



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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,175Registered Users
    I say find different people. Not all men are like this but a lot of them are. I don't entertain these type of people at all. It's straight up chauvinist.

    I also find it odd that a guy would want you to do stuff for him like that. The women I know that 'dumb it down' and are the more traditional type have it the other way, where the guy does more stuff for them all the time, even just friends. I'm not gonna lie, I'm like that too to a certain extent but only with a bf. But then again I'm a spoiled type and tend to be attracted to men that want to spoil me and would never ask me to do stuff for them at least initially. I do eventually once they have proven themselves. I would never expect a man however to do my nails, cook for me, etc.
  • XyzXyz Posts: 685Registered Users
    Yes, he is a lot like that, but he's like that with everyone. Every weekend helping somebody move. Anticipating needs so the person doesn't have to ask. In the winter, if he noticed I was getting cold, he would get me coffee without having to ask. We were at a reading and my hands were cold and I wore my gloves, so he sat beside me and turned the pages of my book. Tries to take care of me when I'm sick. There's more I'm not telling but I'm not letting him go!

    Possibly the reason the other women are doing all those things is because they pay back in kind. But I don't do those things. I would work on his resume for him though but I think he would find it emasculating. I don't usually do happy homemaker things for people I'm not in a relationship with. We will work something out, eventually.

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  • amandamarieamandamarie Posts: 240Registered Users
    Well, there are two separate questions here, the question of "Are you making these men feel emasculated?" and the question of "Should you care?" I feel like it sounds like the answer to the former is yes and the answer to the latter is no; I kind of feel like your friend should get over it. When men whine about women "acting like men" or similar I get annoyed.
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  • sleepymekosleepymeko Posts: 1,002Registered Users
    RME. All the men I know seem to be obsessed with "manly" activities. These are "manly" things, etc. And I think it's so ridiculous. Why do you have to keep proving to yourself and others how "manly" you are?

    As for myself, I am extremely feminine, but I am very assertive and confident. Everyone that is a good friend of mine has told me they initially thought I was stuck up or they were intimidated by me (both male and females) and how they were surprised to find out that I'm a good person.

    It's like a disease. Women are expected to bow down to men, flirt with them, hang on to their every word, do what they say, slave in the kitchen for them, etc. The list goes ON.

    All because I'm confident and assertive, I'm "stuck up" or intimidating. But if it was a man, he would be rewarded for this behavior. There is nothing wrong with a woman being comfortable with herself and sexuality. I'm comfortable and happy with myself. I believe that I put my best foot forward everyday, I am proud of the things that I've accomplished and I'm a hardworker. If that makes me "manly", then that's too bad! It just proves most men are not worth my time. I don't want to be around someone who constantly needs to prove how manly they are. I want a man to be as confident as I am, as proud of himself as I am, as happy as I am with life, and just be overall comfortable. I do not want to be a man's constant cheerleader and dumb myself down for a man. It's ridiculous that in this day and age, we're seen as intimidating for having a voice and opinions.
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,389Registered Users
    I've never had a male friend or friend-of-a-friend say anything like that to me. Personally, I wouldn't stay friends with someone that. And I'd make sure to tell them just how nonsensical and offensive their comment was.
  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    I've never had a male friend or friend-of-a-friend say anything like that to me. Personally, I wouldn't stay friends with someone that. And I'd make sure to tell them just how nonsensical and offensive their comment was.

    Yep.


    There were examples of being mean to men given - insulting their manhood, or other attempts to cut them down. I suppose if it's belittling which attempts to make a man seem less masculine that's when emasculating fits. However, being myself instead of some image a dude has of what he wants women to be is in no way emasculating.

    I've had men I've met who were rude jerks, but not who said the things above. I just didn't bother with them, because it's not worth the energy.

    As far as intimidating? Oh, I get that plenty. I also have had men tell me that they never hit on me because they knew as soon as they met me I wasn't the type of woman with whom to have a fling. All are fine with me - usually when men tell me I'm intimidating it's in a nice way, and tied to the second statement.

    I don't have much need for people of either gender who only have interest in those who throw themselves at others, either in friendship or romantic interest. This guy sounds like his "language of love" is in doing things for others, so he wants others to do for him. That's ok, but it sounds like he's being whiny in what he's asking of you. If anything, dude's making himself seem less masculine! I think he's probably interested in you and hoping you'll do something so he can convince himself the interest is mutual based on your description of his behavior. But then again, it kind of sounds to me from your description like he's the type who would string along multiple women at once, and wants you to be one of those women.
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,175Registered Users
    Xyz wrote: »
    Yes, he is a lot like that, but he's like that with everyone. Every weekend helping somebody move. Anticipating needs so the person doesn't have to ask. In the winter, if he noticed I was getting cold, he would get me coffee without having to ask. We were at a reading and my hands were cold and I wore my gloves, so he sat beside me and turned the pages of my book. Tries to take care of me when I'm sick. There's more I'm not telling but I'm not letting him go!

    Possibly the reason the other women are doing all those things is because they pay back in kind. But I don't do those things. I would work on his resume for him though but I think he would find it emasculating. I don't usually do happy homemaker things for people I'm not in a relationship with. We will work something out, eventually.

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    Yea I'm not the stereotypical female nurturer type at all either. Thing is if he's expecting something from you that is not realistic, it can be difficult for him to change those expectations. I also would not be happy with someone who didn't like the way I am or told me I'm like a man because I don't do this or not. A lot of men these days are not so archaeic anymore and don't blink an eye when I tell them I don't cook, hate cleaning and liked to nurtured myself. And some men still do..I run from those types! Well, we just stay friends if possible, but the attraction automatically goes away for me, it's that simple.
  • LAwomanLAwoman Posts: 2,949Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    "Emasculate" is a term Conservative Republicans use often...it's code for: we're going to take rights away from women.

    Huh?? Who says this?

    I really don't think this is a Republican vs Democrat issue.
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