Thanks for speaking to this, because it’s a real thing. And, there is still a more pervasive cultural power imbalance that tilts the dynamic in the direction of women asking for the approval of patriarchal society and being punished if they are seen to get too “uppity.”

I see my darling husband wanting to please me and have my approval but I also see him sometimes lashing out at me if he has hurt me. He doesn’t like to be reminded that he has fallen short, and so instead of taking full responsibility for that, he often further makes me pay for making him feel bad (because he’s been shitty to me), before he finally comes around. I know other women who say the same about the men in their lives. Human dynamics are complex and there is certainly room for us all to improve, but the current macro dynamic is that women do get censured for standing up, for being strong, for demanding equality. A man who actively advocates for himself is a leader; a woman who does that is seen as a bitch. Women who speak about their #MeToo experiences are liars and manipulative whores. Culturally, there is a ton more backlash against women.

In the current lexicon the “nice guy” is the one who assumes he is owed something by women just because he doesn’t (initially) treat them like shit. It’s the guy who buys the expensive bottle of wine to impress a woman and then sends her the bill for half when she won’t go home with him. Ken Blackman writes about it really admirably and well.

So, do some women bully and dominate men? Sure, and that isn’t acceptable, but it’s not the overarching cultural dynamic. There’s a huge amount of pressure on women to be “good girls” and “nice women” in a way that men never experience. Men have their own societal pressures about how to behave but those don’t tend to be around pleasing others and making them feel comfortable at their own expense.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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