It’s 2020 and a fresh new decade has started. However, this doesn’t mean that absolutely everything will be different right from the get-go. People will still be imperfect and things like stereotypes and misinformation will still exist.
That’s why the ‘What Women Don’t Want From Men’ hashtag exists on Twitter—it’s a reminder from women about what not to do and what not to act like. Bored Panda collected some of the very best tweets with this hashtag, so scroll down, and upvote the ones you think are right. And read on for our interviews with Elizabeth Arif-Fear, writer and founder of the Voice of Salam which promotes interfaith humanity and human rights, as well as with Suzanne Degges-White, professor and chair in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University.
Be sure to check out our previous article about men talking about which myths about them are 100% not true. And let us know in the comments below what you think of the ‘What Women Don’t Want From Men’ hashtag, and whether you believe the tweets are accurate or if they revolve around stereotyping men.
Elizabeth Arif-Fear, writer and founder of the Voice of Salam which promotes interfaith humanity and human rights, told Bored Panda that the main things that make women lose respect for men are a misogynistic attitude and lack of respect for people around them.
Bored Panda was also interested to hear Arif-Fear’s opinion about what character traits she’d like all men to have. This is what she had to say: “Egalitarian values, respect for women and all human beings, kindness, compassion, loyalty. A sense of humor is also good, as is a bit of romance.”
The founder of the Voice of Salam had some advice on how parents should raise their sons. “Raise them with a sense of positive masculinity and egalitarian values. Positive masculinity, to teach them that it's ok to cry, that they should not be scared of their feelings, that they should be proud of who they are and that being a man doesn't mean controlling or feeling threatened by women.”
“Raise them as proud feminists with an ethos of positive masculinity. This leaves no room for misogyny or misandry either. Avoid rigid toxic gender stereotypes—let them develop as individuals into who they are, whilst nurturing a sense of strong respect for them and people of all sexes and genders.”
Arif-Fear continued: “I'd like to add that raising sons to be feminists (knowing what that really means) and to respect all women and people of all genders and sexualities, is not just about teaching young men to respect women, but also critically teaching and modeling a sense of positive masculinity. Men should not feel 'ashamed' to cry or ashamed to be male due to the suffering of women.”
“Rigid gender norms need to be addressed. Equality, compassion, and respect for everyone should be taught, including (and due to the state of society today) a spotlight on how to treat women, women's rights, and what makes a good son, brother, father, husband, friend, colleague, neighbor.”
“Raising sons as feminists and with a sense of positive masculinity should and must go hand in hand, whilst also allowing for gender fluidity, individualism and ignoring rigid gender stereotypes,” Arif-Fear explained her position.
Now that we know some of the things that women don’t want, what are the things that women do need? “There are a couple of different types of cross-gender, non-romantic relationships. There are true platonic friends and then there are the friends-with-benefits friends,” Degges-White told Bored Panda. “In true platonic friendships, compared to FWB relationships, there is typically a lot more investment of time and energy in the relationship’s well-being. Compared to what they offer their FWBs, true friends are more likely to offer emotional support and constructive feedback; help out each other more often; share their feelings and seek support from one another; and involve one another in their larger social network.”
“Women typically do not need to “co-opt” a male friend’s attention and time, as they typically do in a romantic relationship. In romantic relationships, women tend to expect more exclusive attention from their partners and also they engage in more “territorial” behaviors than they would in a friendship. These might include engaging in PDAs and expecting a romantic partner to be receptive to these shows of affection as well as expecting a partner to initiate these as well. Women might also expect their romantic partners to prioritize them in ways that they do not expect friends to do—while we totally get that friends have other friends and busy lives, women may expect their romantic partners to put her ahead of others and other commitments in their lives.”
The professor continued: “In essence, friendships imply less concentrated/focused attention between the two people; a lot fewer discussions about the relationship itself—“defining the relationship” isn’t typically necessary in open and clear friendships; and no worries about a friend’s flirtation or sexual interest in other women.”
“Romantic relationships, however, often require partners to talk about the state/status of their relationship. There are also expectations about monogamy, fear of infidelity, and level of commitment/permanency of the relationship. However, the healthiest romantic relationships also include the basic elements of a healthy friendship—with the added bonus of mutual romantic and sexual attraction. Typically, romantic partners expect one another to prioritize their needs over those of friends and to devote time and attention to the relationship in ways that they would never expect friends to do.”
According to professor Degges-White, the number one thing that most likely leads to women losing respect for men is “duplicity which leads to a loss of trust. This can be enacted through promises that aren’t kept, untruths that are told, or emotional or actual infidelity—sexual or platonic.”
She added: “Once a person has lost trust in another, respect evaporates just as quickly.”
“Cross-gender friendships can be awesome as they provide women and men with new perspectives, however research suggests that both genders fear that a partner’s cross-gender friendship will lead to infidelity,” Degges-White said. “However, women and men both believe that they can maintain a platonic friendship with a cross-gender friend. The important thing for partners to do with one another is to be open and upfront about their friendships with people of the opposite gender. If you try to hide a friendship, partners will assume that you are trying to hide something even bigger than “just a friendship.”
Degges-White looked at what women aged 18 to 75 need from the men in their lives.
According to the professor, women look for fairly similar qualities in romantic partners that they look for in male friends: they want to be treated fairly. But there are some differences in what women expect and need from men depending on the closeness of their relationships with them.
Dr. Degges-White explains that women expect all the men they meet in their lives to have moral integrity. Meanwhile, they also value “relational sensitivity” when it comes to male friends and partners. But when it comes to romantic partners, what the professor describes as “satisfying intimacy” is incredibly important to keep “the romantic spark burning.”
“Women should be given the same respect that men offer other men. When a person is made to feel disrespected or patronized, the relationship is likely to end sooner rather than later. In terms of romantic relationships, even when you’re angry or disappointed by a partner, respect should be maintained,” professor Degges-White explains.
The professor continued: “Women need men to show kindness, patience, understanding, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the type of relationship, men and women should be considerate of each other's feelings.”
Bored Panda also talked to Jacqui, for whom loyalty and respect are the most important qualities for men to have. "I would like men to appreciate what they have and be loyal and honest with not just their partner but themselves and although women can be just as bad these days. I'm speaking from my own perspective and I am old-school and loyalty is a big thing to me. And a lot if men I come across seem to be lacking this quality and others. Which has resulted in my being single for a long time."
"I have a son and I always have taught him and he knows that being honest is the best thing to do and be. As you will always be respected more for telling the truth. And that one woman is enough for any man. And that no matter what neither party should accept any kind of abuse or lack of putting there needs first. And always remember if treat her like Queen she will will treat you like a King."
Jacqui continued: "All men are not the same: some men do appreciate and man-up, own and hold the own. It just seems these men are already spoken for. Maybe I've just had bad luck. So sometimes being very loyal and everything in one is sometimes not good enough for men. But this can also apply to women. In this day and age, I believe that males and females can be as bad as each other."
"But the sad thing is when someone as loyal and decent as myself who just wants a happy, settled life seems to get a kick in the teeth. Don't you find that this is common? Maybe they have been hurt too much, as I know I have, and stayed single for years because of it, but it seems no matter what you do or how secure I try to let them feel, pride is a big thing with men also. If you really love, care, appreciate, and value each other, then it shouldn't so hard. If it takes too much effort and drags you down, then it's nothing more than a toxic unhealthy relationship that will end in disaster. Men can be selfish and women, too. But sometimes you have to grow up and stop that nonsense and learn that if you can't be what your partner needs, let them go."