New research has revealed a stark contrast between the social situations and gestures that make men uncomfortable compared to women.
However, of all the scenarios posited to the survey’s respondents, women are more likely to feel uncomfortable in just one situation compared to their male counterparts.
YouGov surveyed more than 4,000 UK adults and asked men how uncomfortable things like “wearing pink” or “saying ‘I love you’ to a male relative” made them feel. The survey also asked women about the same situations, except applied to female relatives or female friends
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In all but one situation, men were more likely to say they would feel uncomfortable.
The only scenario where women were more likely to feel awkward was “being naked in a [same gender] changing room”, according to the poll. Of the respondents, 67% of women said they would feel uncomfortable doing this compared to less than half (49%) of men.
However, women were significantly less likely to say they felt squeamish about scenarios that involved showing emotions or making physical contact with friends of the same gender.
The survey found that 42% of men said they were reluctant to “share a bed with a [same gender] friend”, compared to only 21% of women who said the same. Nearly half (48%) of male respondents also said they would feel uncomfortable “crying in front of [same gender] friends”, with only 18% of women agreeing.
Showing emotions around family also proved to be more difficult for men than women. When asked about saying “I love you” to a male relative, 45% of men said they would feel uncomfortable, whereas just 17% of women said they wouldn’t like to say “I love you” to a female relative.
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More than four in 10 men said they would be uncomfortable going to a gay bar, but only a fifth (20%) of women said the same. Meanwhile, 42% of men would be reluctant to apply sun cream on a friend’s back if they were the same gender, compared to 10% of women.
Certain gender norms also prevail among male respondents, with almost one in three (31%) of men saying they would be uncomfortable wearing pink, compared to 9% of women. Getting a bouquet of flowers, which have traditionally been a gift for women, bother 26% of male respondents.
YouGov noted that, among men, the differences in generational attitudes towards some of these scenarios are unclear.
Some situations were more disagreeable for certain age groups. For instance, the oldest age group of men aged 65 and above were the most likely to be unhappy wearing pink or going to a gay bar.
However, in the latter situation, the youngest age group (18 to 24 years) were also more uncomfortable about going to a gay bar, with 50 per cent of this group saying so compared to 37% of 25 to 49-year-olds and 38% of 50 to 64-year-olds.
A similar pattern was seen when it comes to saying “I love you” to a male relative. The younger generation is also more uncomfortable crying in front of male friends, with more than half (58%) agreeing with this statement compared to their elders.