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Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
April 24, 2024 ·  11 min read

40+ Things That Are Socially Acceptable, But Just for 1 Gender

Even though the 21st century has been upon us for a while, there are still a number of things that are considered “normal” by people of a specific gender. The subreddit, r/AskReddit, encourages people to ask anything they’d like. This time around, Reddit user, u/NumberPractical4830 wanted to know, “What’s something that both genders do but is socially acceptable when one gender does it?” As with most Reddit posts, you’ll get a multitude of answers. Some of the answers you might expect, like crying in public (or in general) or not wearing a shirt, but others are less obvious. Here are 40+ of the most popular answers.

1. Crying in Public

Portrait of Emotional Man Crying, Stressed, Having Mental Problems, Dealing with Death in the Family, Loneliness. Male Suffering from Depression, anxiety or other Treatable Disorders
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u/n3u7r1n0: “Forget public, I cried very briefly in front of an older woman in my family last year while discussing my concerns for the safety of some children in my family I care about, and recently found out she and other women in my family labeled me as “emotionally unstable” because of it and had discussed my crying as if I had lost my mind. Ladies, if a man cries in front of you, it does not mean he is crazy or unstable. Sometimes things are just sad. 

2. Being a Babysitter For Your Kids

Father giving son ride on back in park. Portrait of happy father giving son piggyback ride on his shoulders and looking up. Cute boy with dad playing outdoor.
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u/Yaboijustlikesgoats: “‘babysit’ your own kids. Thankfully it’s falling out of favour but the amount of times my dad got asked by our family if he was ‘babysitting’ us while my mum was busy was wild. No, he’s not babysitting us, he’s being a parent. My mum never got asked if she was ‘babysitting’ us while dad was busy.

3. Smiling at Children

Father giving son ride on back in park. Portrait of happy father giving son piggyback ride on his shoulders and looking up. Cute boy with dad playing outdoor.
Credit: Shutterstock

u/zerbey: “Smiling at children. I’m a Dad, if a baby smiles at me I’ll automatically smile back, and then inevitably get a glare from the parent because they think I’m some kind of creep (no, I just miss having small children!). My wife does it, it usually leads to a conversation about their children.

4. Body Hair

woman waxing leg. waxing female legs at home. young woman's leg for hair removal. Woman body care. waxing for legs with perfect smooth soft skin. beauty and health concept.
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Buzzfeed/Jbdnco: “Having body hair. It took me a long time to be comfortable with not shaving my legs. While I love it now, I still get self-conscious about wearing shorts or skirts outside the house because I know people will judge me for having hairy legs.

5. Saying they love children

Bearded father and baby girl playing outdoors. Happy image of single father
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u/chxnkybxtfxnky: “In a non-sexual way, loving children. Women can always say out loud how much they love children and being around children. A guy does it and it’s time to grill him about what he means. I saw a comedian (I think Phil Hanley…) doing some crowd work and asked this woman what she did. “I’m a teacher.” “Oh, cool. What grade/age?” “Middle school. I like them younger.” “Nice. You know, a guy could never say that. There would be some serious issues with that.”.

6. Not Smiling In Public

Brunette woman standing over bricks wall skeptic and nervous, frowning upset because of problem. negative person.
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u/Dandibear: “Frowning in public or even failing to smile all the time. My husband was shocked when I told him how often men tell me to smile when I’m just going about my business.

7. Domestic Violence Jokes

Successful Businesswoman in Stylish Suit Working on Top Floor Office Overlooking Night City. High Achievement Female CEO of Humanitarian Investment Fund, Human Face of Sustainable Corporate Governance
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u/xTraxis: “Making jokes about domestic violence. If a girl says “If you cheat on me, I’ll do x and y with your genitals”, it’s often laughed at and applauded, while if the reverse was said, the guy would be criminalized.

8. Career

Successful Businesswoman in Stylish Suit Working on Top Floor Office Overlooking Night City. High Achievement Female CEO of Humanitarian Investment Fund, Human Face of Sustainable Corporate Governance
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u/grpenn: “Excelling in your career. If you’re succeeding at your job, sadly, people will ask if you got support from your dad, if your boyfriend or husband helped you, or, even worse, if you’re sleeping with your boss.

Read More: Woman Refuses To Financially Support Fiancé’s Younger Brother Who’s Just Lost His Parents, Dumps Him After His Ultimatum

9. Sleeping Around

Bedroom mess with lingerie and shoes, quick sex concept
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u/doomscrolling420: “Sleeping around women are typically shamed for it but men are seen as lads for it.u/mssleepyhead73: “Bragging about how many people you’ve slept with.

10. Age

Eyebrows tattoo or Permanent Makeup. Detail of beautiful woman, eyebrow with nice black Brows In Beauty Salon. Beauty eyebrow upgrade procedure.
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u/Daylilly45: “Age! Men can age and still be desirable but a woman needs to try everything she can to stay looking 20 yrs. old. Which is impossible by the way.

11. Decision to Have Children

Young beautiful caucasian couple wearing leather jacket and jeans walks desert sand with Beagle dog best friend. Family with dog without children resting in nature. positive emotions happy people
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u/koosmal: “Not wanting to have children. If you’re a woman who has decided she doesn’t want children, people will likely call you lonely and selfish. They’ll assume you’re wasting your life because apparently all women are here for is breeding. Once you’re 40 to 50 with no kids, society will insist you’re lonely, have a bunch of cats, and regret your decision not to have kids.

12. Physical Abuse

A man with a clenched fist is abusing the family. Home violence. The husband oppresses his loved ones. Physical violence
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u/Quanta96: “Battering the opposite gender. Y’all may say “nuh-uh” but it’s true. Women can casually slap, push, punch, elbow a man especially their partner and nothing happens. Let’s say the man cheats, and the woman with tears in her eyes slaps him in the face and walks away. Maybe sometimes consequences are faced, but more often than if the roles were reversed that woman just battered a man and gets off Scott free.

Read More: Woman Dubbed ‘World’s Most Jealous’ Made Husband Take Lie Detector Test Daily

13. Eating

Young happy fun woman wear white clothes holding in hand pice of cake dessert lick fingers isolated on plain pastel light green background. Proper nutrition healthy fast food unhealthy choice concept
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u/CC_Sierra: “Eating that next slice of pizza and other ‘food-shaming’ things. The number of times I’ve sat in a meeting debating with myself over how I’ll be judged for having another slice or a second serving of lunch is just sad.

14. Bedroom Toys

The romantic couple lying in bed in a hotel room
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u/squid1891: “Use sex toys. Perfectly acceptable, or even considered hot/sexy for a woman. If a guy uses a sex toy: he’s considered weird or creepy.

15. Workplace Behavior

Smiling motivated asian female team leader holding meeting with diverse groupmates, explaining new project detail. African american, indian and caucasian concentrated students discussing assignment.
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u/bmbmwmfm: “Speaking up at the workplace. If I do it, I’m being a bitch, but some guy doing the very same thing is demonstrating management techniques.

16. Toys

Close up of teddy bear in arms of child. Happy smiling little girl kid holding, hugging toy, playing with plush soft friend. Cropped portrait. Childhood, preschooler, playtime, childcare concep
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u/SUFYAN_H: “Playing with toys. Some toys are marketed towards one gender or the other, but there’s no reason why anyone can’t enjoy any kind of toy.

17. Being The Breadwinner

A man and a women hands hold a money bags in the public park for loans to planned investment in the future concept.
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Buzzfeed/tallm1as: “Being the primary or sole breadwinner. I was making more money than my ex and childcare was so expensive, so we decided that my ex could stay home while I worked. People were blown away by our decision. Women thought it was great, but most men judged both of us a ton. They thought that he was less of a man for not working and that I should let him lead the family the way men are meant to do. It was really disheartening and just ridiculously closed-minded.

18. Exposure and Break-up

three girls chatting with their smartphones
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u/DrD3eadpool: “Take off their shirt/top when they’re working outside on a hot day. Men do it all the time, but when a girl does it, it’s indecent exposure.
Also, breaking up by text. This is something that society thinks only women do, even though I have seen female friends get dumped by text. It’s still a d**k move no matter who does it but it’s so stereotypically women who are guilty of this. The actual split is probably pretty close to 50/50.

19. Negotiating Pay

hands holding 200 Egyptian pound notes
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u/sugamantha: “Negotiating pay. Numerous research studies have shown that even when male and female actors negotiate the same exact way (using the same verbiage, same voice inflections, etc.), study participants view the female negotiators more negatively.

20. Office Behavior

Workplace harassment, sexual abuse and unprofessional behavior from flirting business woman touching a coworker in an office. Awkward man feeling uncomfortable with unethical relationship and affair
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u/Royal_Managemet750: “Office settings in my experience – middle aged women seem to get away with borderline, if-not-outright sexual harassment of younger colleagues.

21. Staying Single/Unmarried

business black woman doing contradictory gesture
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u/Bitter-Combination69: “Not wanting to get married or choosing to be single in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women be asked, ‘When are you going to find a nice man?

22. Physical Contact

Group Business People Chatting Balcony Concept
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u/HerpinDerpNerd17: “Randomly touching ppl in public. For some reason its ok for women. My husband gets that often but if he says something hed probably be put up as the a*e.

23. Type of Occupation

Portrait of a dedicated black woman holding a crate full of fresh cabbage in her hands on the farm outdoors
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u/Best_Bisexual: “Having a job that requires physical strength or has traditionally been considered ‘manly,’ such as being a mechanic or a firefighter.

24. Unsolicited Flirting

Indian woman laughing at funny joke eating pizza with diverse coworkers in office, friendly work team enjoying positive emotions and lunch together, happy colleagues staff group having fun at break
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u/airconditionersound: “Hitting on strangers (in an unwelcome kind of way). Hitting on co-workers. I get this from both genders and it feels equally creepy, but women seem to think there’s nothing wrong with it.

25. Promiscuity

Close up of passionate lovers feet touch having sex on white sheet in bedroom, sensual couple enjoy intimate moment relaxing in bed, legs of boyfriend and girlfriend make love in woman on top position
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u/Mmm_JuicyFruit: “Promiscuity — in fact, I’ve never in my life heard that word applied to a man. Only women are considered to be or labeled ‘promiscuous.’

26. Over 30

Young man feeing happy outdoors standing on a mountain taking in the warm rays of sunshine. Freedom, and happiness concept.
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u/Similar-Jellyfish499: “Man over 30 who’s successful, decent looking, and single: “there must be something wrong with him”
Woman in the same situation: “she’s strong and independent” Lol what?
Well, that’s in real life anyways. On the internet the woman is shamed for not being a concubine for incels.

27. Aging

Side view of senior male professor in glasses and cardigan working on laptop sitting at table next to window at home, teaching online. Elderly man with beard chatting wit his friends on computer
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Buzzfeed/morganleslay: “Aging in general. I’m not saying there aren’t men who are self-conscious about the appearance of getting older, but women are judged much more for looking ‘older.’ If a woman has gray hair and wrinkles, she’s over the hill and ignored unless she’s partnered. Women are completely invisible the older we get, but men remain attractive and desirable despite aging.

28. Relationship Conversations

unhappy person criticizing young spouse in living room
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u/Forward-Ad_7-8_8: “Chatting with other people of the opposite sex when in a relationship. When a girl does it, she is just sociable and friendly and if her bf didn’t like it he’d be controlling and jealous.
When I guy does it, he is a massive red flag, unfaithful and the girl should just dump him.

29. Sci-fi/Geeky Fan

Young hispanic woman wearing barber apron clueless and confused expression with arms and hands raised. doubt concept.
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Buzzfeed/Retrecrebbon: “Being a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, or geeky stuff in general. As a woman, you usually have to defend or justify yourself for it, and you’d better be prepared for follow-up questions to prove that you’re not just saying that you like something.

30. Gardening

Wooden crate with a variety of fresh green potted culinary herbs growing outdoors in a backyard garden
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u/Vanilla_Neko: “Gardening as a hobby.
Say what you will about how times have changed now but I remember back in high school one of the first days there we were doing some of those get to know you exercises and one of the first questions they asked was what extracurricular activities you wanted to get involved in.
Saw that the school had a gardening club and so happily announced my desire to join this and to my surprise a bunch of kids mostly guys in the class started laughing like I was telling a joke and later one of my friends told me something along the lines of wow that was a really funny joke you made about the clubs you wanted to join.
And I just kind of sadly nodded and agreed because I was too embarrassed to just admit that I actually genuinely wanted to join that club and found it interesting and fun.
Kind of crushed any desire I had to do gardening or anything until years later as an adult I finally started buying my own plants and learning how to properly care for them and stuff and even to this day I still kind of feel embarrassed admitting to people that I like to do this because of the social stigma around it. But at the same time feel immense pride in my plants.

Read More: Woman Who Spends Five Hours Per Day in the Kitchen Says Her Job is to Make Husband’s Life Easier

31. Dad Bod and Mum Tum

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat. Obesity and weight loss.
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Buzzfeed/katerumtruffle: “‘Dad bods.’ It gets me so worked me up that people celebrate the whole idea of a dad bod. Meanwhile, women — the ones who actually go through the body trauma of pregnancy and childbearing — are shamed for having a ‘mum tum.’

32. Rejection

Asian young woman eating food
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u/ThePom205: “Rejecting someone. If a woman does it you need to respect her decision but if a man does it he’s treated like he just spat in her face.”

33. Being Angry

Elderly angry displeased irritated furious caucasian woman 50s in glasses yellow shirt spread hands loo camera scream shout isolated on plain green background studio portrait People lifestyle concept
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u/Autumnlove92: “Anger. Men decided anger isn’t an emotion when they feel it. But when a woman is angry, she’s being a bitch. You can’t tell a man he’s being emotional, though, because anger isn’t an emotion when it’s him showing it.

34. Bumped While Walking

Crowd of anonymous people walking on busy city street
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u/dagmarbex: “Getting bumped while walking. That day a woman clashed into my shoulder and ran away without even acknowledging the incident. It was a mistake I understand, but if it was the other way round, if the woman wanted it she could have had me beaten too.

35. Childcare

Single mother holding a baby
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u/Incorrect_Mud: “Not knowing how to properly care for your child. When a dad doesn’t know how to change a diaper, people think it’s funny or understandable, but if a mom didn’t know how to change a diaper? People would lose their minds.

36. Drinking

Group of friends partying in a nightclub and toasting drinks. Happy young people with cocktails at pub.
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u/ShieldSister27: “Drinking, to an extent. Men can drink beer all day long and no one comments on it, but if a woman has a glass of wine every night before bed or a couple of beers when out with friends, she’s an ‘alcoholic’ and a bad influence.

37. Absence From Family Events

Overhead view on family sitting around christmas table with traditional Christmas roast
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u/Iori244144: “Missing family events like birthdays, sports games, graduations, etc. If a father is working, it’s acceptable for him to miss one of these events, but if a mother doesn’t attend, it’s considered by many to be neglect.

38. Continuing Work

Middle age Caucasian father kissing sleeping newborn baby girl. Parent holding rocking child daughter son in hands. Authentic lifestyle parenting fatherhood moment. Single dad family home life.
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u/kandikand: “I have been surprised to discover that it’s not 100% socially acceptable for women to continue working after having a baby while the babies father stays home. I’ve gotten more than a few negative comments about it. So has my partner. Did not expect that to still be an issue for people.

39. “Womanly”

Crisis, stress and black woman with problem in office, sick or headache from brain fog. Frustrated, fatigue and African professional with business fail, mistake emoji or debt, bankruptcy or tax audit
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u/xxx_Moritz_xxx: “I’ve gotten the dumbest comments from people about doing things that aren’t “womanly” lol … Someone commented that my deodorant scent was masculine and I should be wearing woman’s deodorant once. Like, sorry I’d rather not spend twice the money for Secret when I could get a cheap-ass speed stick that just smells like pine trees.

40. Shaving Their Head

Young cancer patient sitting in front of hospital window.
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u/Obi1NotWan: “Shaving your head. I do it a couple times a year and find it completely freeing. But have been judged for it by some. “Real women don’t shave their head” kind of thing. Why not?

41. Working Out

Fitness girl lifting dumbbell in the morning.
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u/GimmickInfringement1: “Working out. I dunno why guys don’t like a strong woman, but there’s a lot of hate for female bodybuilders for some reason

Read More: 40 Heart-Warming Middle-Age Success Stories

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