The Gender Divide – Hugs Edition

Something has been bothering me for awhile.

Hugs.

And I bet Winnie the Pooh wouldn’t find this so bothersome. But I do.

Actually, I love hugs. When you care about someone, I think they are a great expression of that feeling. They can make me feel better when I’m sad or upset.

Here is what I don’t love: sexism. You heard me. How can hugs be sexist? Simple. Say Shelly and John have known Ben equally well for a couple of years, and are friends, but not really very good friends. Where John and Ben would shake hands, Ben will, generally, expect a hug from Shelly. Don’t believe me? Just observe. I’ve seen it happen over, and over, and over again. And every time it makes me just a little more uncomfortable.

Just because I am a woman, and you are a man, doesn’t mean I want to hug you. Please get out of my personal space. Please treat me equally as you would a man in the hugging regard. I like hugging. I don’t like hugging people I don’t know well enough. I’m sensitive about that.

However! In the event that the men do hug, they still don’t do it the same way. They always do that weird locked fist thing first, so that their chests don’t touch. Because obviously that chest touching would ignite fierce homosexual longings that they would be unable to ignore. That’s the only reason I can think of for doing that. And if you don’t actually have a good reason, hug fist-free! Isn’t that locked fist kind of uncomfortable anyway? I bet you didn’t know that my heart melts a bit when I see men hug properly.

So melt my heart, dammit. Then, maybe, you can give me a hug.

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4 thoughts on “The Gender Divide – Hugs Edition

  1. True statement. Another example of learned sexism. We grow up observing this behavior and our men learn it’s not ok to hug another man, and our women learn to just accept it. Keep addressing it. Dialogue is the best thing to help!

    • You’re right! But I don’t know how to deal with it. Is saying, “Hey, if you’re going to hug me, then I expect you to go back and give a real hug to Nathan over there”, acceptable? Probably not…And then there’s the awkward offering of handshake while someone is offering a hug. What’s a good way to say, “hey, stop being sexist”?

      • Honesty is the best policy. Just stating that you’re not comfortable hugging others you don’t know well is well within your prerogative. Of course he may think you’re a bitch for saying that – and that’s when you give him an earful about how sexism is considered socially acceptable and he’s helping to blindly institutionalize it with his male privilege. And you say it all with a smile. 😀

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