‘I dumped him because he was too nice’ : Why women are equally responsible for propagating gender stereotypes

“Didi. But I want to be a bad boy. I am so irritated of being a nice guy. Bad boys are cooler. And also more popular.”

My thirteen year old brother said this in my appreciation of him being a nice guy and a sincere teenager. His reply came as an eye opener, something that perplexed me.  Something that made me introspect. Something that made me question myself and the role women themselves play in propagating gender stereotypes and discrimination.

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I am a woman. I dream of staying in a world where women are seen as equals to men. Yes equal. Not weaker, not stronger. But equal.  But it’s far from happening anytime soon. And the reason being? Because we, as women, (and forbid me from using the word) ‘dig’ bad boys. Girls dig bad boys (Specially the younger generations). We let the good ones go. They become too boring for us. They are not ‘fun’ anymore. They are not too challenging.  And yes, I am generalizing. There are exceptions, but exceptions are not examples.  They never are.

We want equal rights without owning equal responsibility for the situation. Forbid me being for so cynical and harsh. But I have seen it happen way too often. I have seen girls who let caring boys go because ‘ he’s ‘just too nice.’ I have seen girls who find the idea of inaccessibility and being ignored ‘turning on’. I have seen girls who complain about their boyfriend being ‘gay’ if he cries. I have seen them kick and twist guys who care too much. I have heard them say- ‘I want a macho, tough boy.’ And I have seen them dump that nice one to date that ‘macho’ one.

I am not saying guys don’t do this with nice girls. They do. Of course. But well, thanks to the Hindi Cinema and popular media, we are very well aware of that side.

In today’s world, where day in and day out people wear masks, ‘playing hard to get’ is cool. Its in. Its appreciated.  Its sought out, desperately. At one hand, we shout and scream about our rights, about how there is stereotyping, how insensitive men are, how rude they can become. On the other hand, we seek out exactly the same kind and propagate those same stereotypes. We want our brothers/boyfriends to be the macho ones, the ones who indifferent, the ones who are apparently ‘cool’.

Hypocrisy? Yes.

This hypocrisy on our part has ensured that women are still considered the ‘weaker’ sex. That nice, sensitive guys are friend-zoned and the macho rough ones get away with the girls. It has further propagated that men shouldn’t cry. They shouldn’t be emotional. They should be sensitive or caring or expressive about their feelings.

Because ‘being too nice’ is not cool you see?

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