Stop Calling Women “Complicated” and Men “Simple”

You know the drill. In a relationship, argument or conversation, men write off women as being “too complicated” and women write off men as being “simple.” These labels are easy ways to push aside other people’s problems by categorizing them under “girl problems” and guy “problems,” but the reality is that it is degrading on both sides.

Women are more than just “complicated”

Black and white image of 4 women laughing and holding onto each other

There is a stigma that if a woman is upset about anything (and I mean literally anything) that she is “on her period” or “being complicated,” but this label of “complicated” is creating a gender norm of “women can’t be upset over reasonable issues.” This hurts the confidence of women and makes their voices less important.

Unfortunately, this concept of women being “complicated” is prevalent even in K-12 schooling. I can remember being on leadership in my high school band and explaining a problem to a classmate only to be dismissed as “overreacting.” This left me feeling invalid about my emotions, and I no longer expressed my opinions to that person.

This label makes women feel like they cannot express emotions without being judged based on their gender. These labels are assigned from a very early age, and it hurts girls’ self-esteem and self-image. It also makes it harder to validate one’s own feelings by being constantly disregarded. This creates a toxic culture of bottling up one’s emotions until they overflow.

Men are more than just “simple”

On the flip side, many people describe men as being “simple” and only wanting food and affection. This is equally as degrading as calling a woman “complicated.” By giving men the label of being "simple,” this invalidates their emotions and expression of frustration in their lives. This idea also feeds into the toxic masculinity that men face, which is less recognized than the struggles that women go through.

In today’s society, it is more acceptable for men to show vulnerability, but it has not always been this way. In fact, men and boys are still told to “man up” and “suck it up,” which sends the message that their feelings are invalid. Men are often brushed aside when they express emotions because it makes them “complicated” and therefore less manly.

It is important to recognize that men 1) have feelings and emotions about the world around them and 2) that their emotions are just as valid as women’s. It is hard to be a woman in today’s society, but that should not invalidate the struggles men experience.

So nobody wins

If women are dismissed for being too “complicated” and men are dismissed for being too “simple,” then who wins? This creates an atmosphere where nobody is allowed to be upset, angry or sad without being invalidated by someone else. If nobody can express emotion, then how are we supposed to be human? All people need to be recognized as having feelings, concerns and desires regardless of their gender. Why limit someone because of a stigma? Why invalidate another person’s struggles? There is no reason to limit how someone expresses emotions, and stopping the use of the labels “complicated” and “simple” is the first step.

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