Men are perfect and should never change. But ladies, improve everything. Sound familiar? It might be 2017, but depending on who you follow online, some stereotypes still ring all too true.
Depending on who you follow on social these days, men and women sure are different! Women eat like rabbits, men eat like Neanderthals. Women covet cute yoga pants and men drool over techie gadgets. Right? Well — at least if you’re following popular health and fitness Instas — those are the stereotypes being perpetuated.
We’ve looked at both sides and couldn’t help but notice that when it comes to workouts, diets, and lifestyle, men have it way easier than women. Men are told they’re wonderful for doing whatever they want, while women can’t be happy unless they learn to embrace rhubarb.
Don’t believe it? Let’s take a look.
To lose weight, eat at the gas station (Note: Only if you’re a man)
Health and fitness sites are chock-full of articles about food, nutrition, and how to convince yourself you actually like kale. The only difference is, men’s articles are mostly about convenience and fun. Now they’re being told they can conveniently eat all their meals at a gas station. It’s not only fine, it’s cool!
Meanwhile, someone else is telling women they need to find time to go to a farmer’s market, locate and buy fresh rhubarb, and work it into a quinoa breakfast bowl.
The message: Men can fill their bellies with whatever they find under a heat lamp while filling their gas tanks. Women, however, must put in at least one hour of driving, shopping, and cooking to eat something pink. Meh.
Men have abs, women have cores
Everybody knows that. Fitness sites do interchange the words abs and core for men and women, but mostly men are told they only need to focus on the part they can see, while women have to worry about the whole area. This includes the inside, where all the posture stuff happens. Apparently, women aren’t doing a good enough job standing.
Prisoner or bride? Body #goals based on your gender
The newest craze among men is wanting to look like a convict. There’s a lot of talk about getting cut, ripped, and shredded in men’s fitness articles. The only time you’ll see those three words in a single article in a women’s magazine is in a recipe for brisket.
And it’ll probably be right next to advice on how to lose that pesky bloat before your wedding. Because while men are striving to look like they’re doing 25-to-life, women only care about their Big Day.
Guys! Don’t let having kids get in the way of YOU!
Here’s a fun article that warns men, “If you’re waiting for time to get to the gym to workout, you may as well hang up your sneakers until their fifth birthday.” Really? What happens when they turn 6? They get their own apartments?
The advice amounts to making playtime for them into exercise time for him by combining the two. It really is a win-win because kids need their dads, even if the dads are told to find other parents to “normalize the experience ...” Do men really need others to feel “normal” about playing with their own children? I don’t think so.
If the bar is too low for men (according to these magazines), it’s conversely too high for women. New dads are being reassured there’s something in it for them at the playground, but women are worrying that they need to lose weight in their faces.
Speaking of worrying, here’s how not to worry, based on your gender
Men’s Health magazine recently assured its male readers that worrying is beneficial. Despite the known health risks of stress, they also make sure to highlight the silver lining: Worrying will help guys take action, learn how to handle bad news, and feel even better when the news is good. So, worry away! It can make you awesome!
If you’re a lady worrier, women’s magazines have literally hundreds of articles warning you to reduce your stress. Here’s one that shows how to de-stress based on your zodiac. That’s right, grown women, this article is for you.
Gray hair is cool, at least half the time. Guess which half?
Here’s an article that tells men to embrace their gray hair, just like that guy from “Transformers.” Not only does it imply it’s cool to emulate an actor from a kid’s movie about trucks and robots, it assures the reader he’ll actually become better looking as he ages!
Women dye their hair for fashion purposes, but more often, it’s to avoid being told they’re too old to play Harrison Ford’s love interest.
By the way, there’s usually no mention of gray hair for women, as if we don’t have any. Why are we constantly being told to worry about stuff we’re born with, while men are told they’re awesome just for the passage of time? Not fair!
Defect or distinction? It’s all in your mind
Many women struggle with being comfortable with their body. Famous women have it even worse. They’re constantly being judged by the media — social and otherwise — for looking too fat, too thin, showing too much skin, or not enough. Even the beautiful ones get picked apart for having unique thumbs.
Meanwhile, here’s an ordinary guy who’s proud of his very small penis. He’s middle-aged, bald, and fine with his body. It sounds like his wife is fine with it, too.
We can all take a lesson from him. Instead of making a mental list of all the things you don’t like about your bod, make a list of all the things you heart!
Bottom line: We’re all in this together
We’re just having a little fun with the way these articles are written (even though there’s a kernel of truth in them). But being woke about stereotypes in healthy lifestyle articles can only help expand our ideas of what’s possible for us.
Personally, I think gender-neutral workouts are the best of both worlds. Women can embrace getting ripped and men will live longer if they spend as much time doing cardio as they do working on their chests. Everybody wins.
At the end of the day, don’t we all want the same thing? I think the answer is “Yes.” And that same thing is a gas station burrito.
Dara Nai is a Los Angeles-based humor writer whose credits include scripted television, entertainment and pop culture journalism, celebrity interviews, and cultural commentary. She’s also appeared in her own show for LOGO TV, written two independent sitcoms, and, inexplicably, served as a judge at an international film festival.