The pressure to keep up with the trends of an ever-changing world stays on a consistent high, and gender norms have been witness to some of the most drastic changes so far. While most people are invested in the business of empowering women, you’d be surprised that some people (even women) aren’t as excited about the diabolical changes as you’d think. As the fight for equality persists, “double standards” still take up space and it is undeniably evident with the different standards and expectations society has of men and women. Today, we look at some of them and how some weigh heavier than others Be assertive Whether it is in a social setting or the workplace, something about a confident woman just tends to rub people the wrong way—including fellow women (bummer). An assertive, successful woman will most likely be seen as ‘bossy’ and deemed less likable than a man with a similar demeanour— never mind that he is rude, pompous, and never has a kind word for anyone. Cry This must be the most ridiculous of the lot. Why should a man conceal his emotions or hide when he wants to cry? Some women will publicly— and dramatically— wail, then judge a man for crying when he needs to. Crying is just as healthy and natural whether you are a man or a woman, so the notion that ‘real men don’t cry’ should be ditched because they are people, not robots. Make the first move It seems to be widely accepted that it’s a man’s job to make the first move in a romantic setting. There’s a man out there who will say that if a woman ever walked up to him and asked him out, he’d probably run for the hills, because how desperate can she be? But in this 21st Century where we are pushing for a gender-equal world, isn’t it about time we adjusted these traditional scripts? Propose Like making the first move when dating, why can’t a woman propose to her man if she wants? People will say the whole idea of kneeling down to propose to a woman is outdated, but when a woman chooses to be the one to propose, suddenly tradition is tradition. ‘Sleep around’ Disclaimer: No one is encouraging promiscuity here. But it is what it is. A man will overdose on women within a week, and what does he get? Hi-fives and an enthusiastic audience that finds his ‘sexcapades’ very interesting. On the other hand, first responders for a woman with the same body count will start slut-shaming her and calling for an exorcism because surely “the demons that made her do it” ought to be cast out. Critiquing what Nick Cannon does only ends in the memes but when Britney Spears was living her best life, she had to be put under a conservatorship and judged very harshly not only by the court of public opinion but a court of law as well. Physical self-care There is a reason salons are always full of women, or if men are there, they are only at the barber’s side. There’s a reason why some men buy skin care products in the supermarket with almost the same nervousness a teenager buying condoms would have. The reason is that society has an annoying habit of questioning one’s sexuality based on these things. At what point did it become ‘controversial’ for a man to want radiant-looking skin, or feel the need to go for a mani-pedi? It’s basic self-care. Date someone younger Leonardo DiCaprio is a fine actor, no doubt. His activism to save the planet is also very commendable, but his seemingly consistent pattern of not dating a woman a day over 25, not so much. If anything, his girlfriends keep getting disturbingly younger. But when Madonna does it, people seem to have a bigger issue with it. In our very own societies, many men are ‘fishing in the younger section’, yet a woman can’t do the same without being asked why. Foot the bill There are some women who make the rest look bad. These are the ones who will scream equality, till it’s time to pay bills. Yes, at dinner, when the bill is presented, the woman who was just talking about ‘independence’ and ‘not needing a man’ will amusingly not see the need to at least go Dutch. Another woman will be shocked when a man asks her to split the bill. We all love to be pampered but if we are going to be truly equal, this is a good place as any to start. Be the provider There is the ‘your money is our money but my money is my money’ brigade. These ones won’t even buy cash-power of Rwf 2,000, doesn’t matter that she earns more than her man. She will watch him pay for everything, rent, fees, food, and other bills, even the rubbish collectors and security, and not contribute at all, then meet her friends and have the audacity to talk about the independent woman she is. Fight Another disclaimer: We are not encouraging violence. But a few weeks ago, I found it demoralising that people were so quick to scrutinise a woman in the public eye for a late-night brawl which men get away with time and time again, but as always we hold the hope that perhaps one day the world will be entirely gender neutral. Smoke According to WebMD, cigarette smoking appears to have more harmful effects on women than men, but this is not a debate. We can all agree that smoking is harmful to the human body—it has no bias. A man will light a cigarette in broad daylight, possibly outside his office building and no one will bat an eyelid, but it’s a whole other issue when a woman does the same. For some reason, a woman smoking attracts some glares, sneers, and judgment—even worse, one uninformed individual assumed women who smoke are prostitutes but had no label for the men who do the same. Many more double standards are out there but people have to realise that the world is changing, and it won’t revolve around the same things forever.