Identity Week: It’s in the Cards

Identity Week: It's in the Cards

Just a couple of days ago, a Facebook friend put out a general question: What was the first CD you bought?

I answered honestly: “Soundtrack to The Little Mermaid.”

His response: “Your Man Card has been deducted by 2 points.”

He was joking, of course, and even leavened his words with the admission that he bought the Aladdin soundtrack when it came out.

Of course I didn’t feel like my masculinity was genuinely being insulted. In fact, I responded once more: “Meh,” I wrote. “Man Cards aren’t worth the frilly pink paper they’re printed on.”

And I meant it.

A Man Card, if you don’t know (or do know and just want to hear my own brilliantly concise definition), is a theoretical document that jokingly certifies your manhood and can be revoked if other men feel you’re not being manly enough. In their opinion. I’m not sure when it started, but it’s been around for several years, at least.

There’s even a website, officialmancard.com, where people can submit reasons to revoke their friends’ man cards, with offenses ranging from one dude crying when Beth gets her piano in Little Women to a guy being unwilling to sleep with a prostitute who had already been paid. Seriously.

For my 34th  32nd birthday a couple of years back, I took my then-foursome of a family to Disneyland on Super Bowl Sunday, because I’d heard that was one of the least-attended days of the year. After seeing the lines for myself, I don’t think that’s true.

My parents, my wife’s parents, and my wife’s siblings and their significant others came along, too, and at one point I went with my in-laws to find a fast ride while my wife took the kids to something more child friendly. (She was pregnant, so she couldn’t ride anything that would jostle her around. Otherwise I totally would have reversed the roles. Plus I later sent our daughters away with their grandparents and surprised my wife with a visit to the Blue Bayou for lunch, so stop judging me.)

Anyway, when we settled on an attraction, I texted my wife to let her know—except I entered the wrong number and ended up messaging some random stranger who had no idea why I wanted him to know I was about to go on Space Mountain. He suggested that I give up my Man Card for choosing the Happiest Place on Earth over watching a football game. (Apparently, Disney-related activities and purchases aren’t manly.)

The idea of a Man Card is ridiculous. It’s meant to be jokingly and good-naturedly insulting in that way guy humor can tend to be. And I get that. I don’t care if someone takes a dig at me, because I can take it. Casual insults happen, and in fact I often feel more accepted if a friend can hurl them at me, because that means he’s comfortable enough to not worry about being mistaken for someone who genuinely has something critical to say.

The Man Card concept specifically, however, is insulting to men and women in what it’s saying about our respective roles. Men are supposed be this way, not that way. Do these things, not those things. You’re not a man if you don’t fit society’s (or some section thereof’s) definition of one, and, unfortunately, people who joke this way are denigrating empathy, sympathy, respect for women, honesty, sensitivity, and responsibility. They’re saying real men prize getting their way over cooperating or compromising. Real men don’t care what their girlfriends or wives think. Real men do what they want.

This is dangerous. I’m not saying that joking about the Man Card is the downfall of modern masculinity, but it’s certainly not helping in a culture that blames the victims of sex crimes for leading their attackers along. It reinforces the already warped attitudes of men who believe they’re entitled to a woman’s body because, hey, men are men and everybody should know there’s only one reason a guy is interested in a woman. It’s right there on the card. Or it’s implied, anyway. And you wouldn’t want your buddies to think you weren’t a real man.

Wow. That got dark quickly. Sorry.

Bottom line: I don’t want my daughters growing up in a world that tells the men in their lives to treat them like objects. I don’t want my son feeling pressured to conform to a stereotype of brutish idiocy masquerading as a coveted brotherhood.

This is why I make no secret to my children, or the world, that:

I cried at the end of Cars. (Seriously, Disney again?!)

I cried at the end of A Walk in the Clouds.

I have acted as a living dressmaker’s dummy for a bustle my wife was creating on a gown.

I enjoy playing Halo.

I know what ruching is.

I am obsessed with gadgets.

I know what ruching is from watching Project Runway.

I grow and maintain a thick beard.

I know what ruching is from watching Project Runway and enjoying it.

I drive a mini-van.

I hate stopping the mini-van for any reason after I’ve started driving on a road trip.

I can name all the Disney—yes, them again—fairies.

I drink scotch.

I know more ballet positions that my 6- and 4-year-old daughters.

I list pink as my second-favorite color (it just can’t beat grey), and I wear it regularly.

I don’t think the things listed above are manly or unmanly. They just are.

So, do you think I’m overreacting?

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193 thoughts on “Identity Week: It’s in the Cards

  1. Nicole says:

    Not over-reacting at all. I think every activity or preference should just be the activity or preference. None of it is inherently masculine or feminine and shouldn’t define if we’re a good enough man or woman. I have a long history of being mistaken for male because of my clothing choices, hair style, and activities I enjoy. Enough is enough. Hoping it will be less of an issue for your kids and their generation.

  2. Sarah says:

    Brilliant. Well said. I hope more men and women share your views on this!!

  3. Katee Cross says:

    Of course not!! You are a well rounded loving man, husband, father of both girls and a boy, and friend.

  4. neal says:

    Really appreciated this post. I’ve been wanting to write something about how stupid the “man-card” idea is for some time now, and this hits a lot of the points I’d want to hit. The thing that seems so significant about the idea is that many good men throw the term around without seeing how it can be hurtful to both men and women, and also how its use, even in levity (especially in levity?), perpetuates and encourages the image of a tough-guy neanderthal whose greatest shame would be to associate with anything related to women, with the exception that it’s okay to associate with them as long as you’re dominating them, as long as you’re in charge, as long as they’re following your lead and never challenging your authority. I’m proud of being a husband and father, but if I was ever issued a man-card, I’d immediately rip it to shreds, for the sake of my wife, my daughter, and myself.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Gray is my favorite color too!!!

  6. jenmuse says:

    I honestly can’t remember the first CD I bought: probably Circle Slide by The Choir. But my first LPs were purchased together: MJ’s Thriller & Olivia Newton John’s Greatest Hits Vol 2. I went on a music bender with my 8th birthday money. But back on topic, your dislike of the man card goes hand in hand with my distress at the use of “real” women in advertising or whatever to refer to only larger than model-sized women. It implies that women who are naturally thin or work very hard to achieve thinness are not real. It’s misogyny masquerading as body acceptance talk. No no no. Body acceptance is important but not at the expense of other women. That’s the wrong way to go about it.

  7. Dani says:

    Great post. My husband’s man card was revoked long ago. Cries at everything and pink…don’t get me started. Really. lovely. post.

  8. vnp1210 says:

    Great post! I recently watched a few TedTalks by men on the topic of women and how society views/treats them. They essentially said the same things, that by poking fun at (or criticizing or even bullying) men for not acting manly enough, aka acting like women, society sends the message that women/girls are inferior and weaker. But the reverse is bit true if a girl acts like a tomboy or participates in “manly” activities like fixing cars. It is often seen as a joke to say you lost man card points or whatever, but in essence it is saying to boys/men, “don’t act like a girl because nobody values a girl.” And so many of the worlds problems stem from this very assumption. Thank you for writing. Your kids are lucky!

    • jesteram says:

      Thanks! Even my own own daughters have teased me before, calling me a girl (I was putting on make-up for a costume), and when I said “Thanks!” they were stunned. “Girls are awesome!” I added, and I want them to believe that.

  9. Animockery says:

    It seems that since I was a kid to know the role of a man has changed a great deal. I am husband and father to three kids (two boys and a girl). When I was a kid fathers would hunt, play sports, watch sports, drink beer and do a large variety of out door work. The rarely, if at all cleaned the house, bathed the kids, or baked.
    Now days, as a father myself, I do many things from both sides. I do not cry very often but I tear up at anything to do with sad or sick children, sometimes dogs (I was a mess at the end of Marley & Me). Overall I think there is a healthy and what should be encouraged balance. The issues is that the role for men to be “manly” is pulling one way, and the sensitive caring side is pulling the other and never shall the two meet.
    If women can be more assertive and become distinguished leaders in any role that men can (which they totally can) then men can be accepted whether they cry at sad movies or chop down 100 year old trees with their bare hands. Beside it could be both. I know guys in MMA that could break most people but would have cried right along side me at the end of Marley & Me.

    • jesteram says:

      I have avoided that movie and all like it. Because of Owen Wilson. No, I’m kidding … it’s just that animal-based movies tend to ultimately be about mortality and loss.

  10. karyrae16 says:

    Not even close to overreacting. You put the meaning and value of men in a great perspective.

  11. ravensmarch says:

    From my bearded, endomorphic place, I declare– you’re spot on. Brutish idiocy (a magnificent economy of description, by the way) must not be the sole indication of Man-ness; men are humans, humans are complex, and stating a given attitude or inclination is incompatible with being a man is rank foolishness. The same, of course, holds for women.

    I won’t join you in crying at “Cars”, by the way, but the first ten minutes or so of “Up” is impossible to get through without a sob. As far as naming Disney fairies… you’re a better man than I am.

    • jesteram says:

      Ha, thanks! That “Up” intro is in a category of its own …

      By the way, I love the fountain pen site. I have an affinity for the even more antiquated quills myself, but if it writes, it writes!

  12. ihtaws says:

    No, I don’t think you are over-reacting. It is refreshing to hear (well, read) a man say (write) this. I hope many men follow your example and just be okay with anything.

  13. Soooo, I really enjoyed this post and your blog as a whole. I’m really glad I found it.

  14. franhunne4u says:

    I hate pink – and I hate any kind of Project Runway shows – and no, I do not know any ballet positions – just the other ones ;) – is my woman card revoked now? I can cook – if that makes up for that. But I can also change the battery of a car or a flat tire. I hate needlework, but I prefer soft and tender pop songs – am I female enough to still have a woman card?
    You see, these stereotypes work in both ways to the negative … But it takes balls to fight them. From both genders.

  15. Thanks for making me laugh. I think about the fun stories as well as the sad stories concerning men being a man. Nice post!

    Mr.MakingUsmile

  16. List of X says:

    Strictly speaking, guys who love to watch sports (i.e., a bunch of ripped sweaty men running around in shorts or tights) should forfeit their own Man Cards immediately.

  17. Twist says:

    A man secure enough to actually have a post (Complete with an adorable sketch, no less!) of a ‘Dandelion’ hairdo by his daughter?
    You get all the ‘Man Points’ you want.

  18. awax1217 says:

    I dislike the society that says I am not allowed to cry because I am a man. I cried at the end of Gunga Din. I was young and thought Sam Jaffe was dead. I cry when I see the guys coming back without legs and arms. I also cry when I saw people destroyed by the typhoon in the Philippines. I am sad and can cry when a little child dies for no reason. I cried when my Grandson got brain cancer and I cried when he survived. And I am a man.

  19. “I hate stopping the mini-van for any reason after I’ve started driving on a road trip.”

    Please clarify, because my father did this on every damned road trip since my birth, producing many planned murders, and it’s only by the hair of his also bearded chinny-chin-chin that there aren’t urine stains on every back seat of every car we’ve ever owned.

    Is it a fierce goal-oriented thing? Is it a passive-aggressive anti-wife thing? Because I still have the diagrams of several of those murders filed away and I’m only a crowbar and a shovel away from putting the issue to rest.

    I’m an avid road tripper and I will pull over for a frickin’ pretty horse. That’s the purpose of the trip; to see pretties on the way to the pretty.

    • jesteram says:

      I think it is a bizarrely fierce goal-oriented thing, related to the vague concept of “making good time.” My wife thinks it’s one of the few stereotypically “guy” things I do, and I can’t quite explain it. When I became a father, I also suddenly began barbecuing, which I never did before, but that’s more beneficial than the not stopping. It’s certainly not anti-wife, as I’ll definitely pull over for a rest stop. And I don’t always grumble about it. But I do get antsy.

  20. muleaing says:

    gray is my favorite color too
    i like it very ……

  21. fromjoules says:

    Being manly should not be this or that, but should require that you not pee siting down. I agree that men should be sensitive and can and should show interest in what his children are doing, especially if they are drawing him such amazing pictures. This post is great! You are not overreacting but i think its funny that other men, and even women as the website shows, think they have the right to revoke a persons manhood. Best of luck with everything.

    • jesteram says:

      Thanks. And two points: First, I draw the pictures here, even if it looks like they came from my 6-year-old. And second, I feel sort of let down whenever I go to a public bathroom that doesn’t have a urinal.

  22. Mrs Finkling says:

    If you cried at the end of Marley & Me – your officially my hero!! Great post – I had never heard of the man card thing, so ridiculous and good for you for standing up on the issue, your kids are very lucky!

  23. Amanda Richards says:

    Jim cries at the end of cars. Every time. And we watch that movie A LOT!

  24. […] I forewent the usual creepy quote from my kids (OK, the scary stuff all comes from my firstborn) today because the freakiest thing about this Friday is that there’s a whole mess of people reading about and commenting on an opinion of mine regarding the nature of masculinity. […]

  25. andreablythe says:

    Fantastic post. I hate the idea that there’s this clear line: man = this, woman = that, when it’s so much more complicated. I think you’ve expressed that very well.

  26. Dragnfli says:

    In my (female) opinion, you get a lifetime man card for not caring if other people think you’re manly enough. It takes a real man to show what he feels and not regress into stereotypes when he feels threatened or unsure.

  27. Karl Drobnic says:

    I recall a young draftee in the army. He had a terrible case of acne all over his face. One morning he walked out of the barracks latrine with his cheeks dripping blood. “What the hell?” we asked him. “I figure if I shave the zits off, it’ll all cure up,” he said. Now it takes a real man to shave off your zits, and if you can’t do that…well, just turn in your man-card and slink away.

  28. […] An awesome blog post analyzes the concept of the “Man Card”, which basically a way of metaphorically and jokingly measuring a person’s […]

  29. Britt says:

    Love the list. All of this is funny, true, and awesome. Lucky little girls you’re raising, with their Disney-obsessed, fairy loving daddy. xoxo

    • jesteram says:

      I’m a Disney fan, but I’m actually more obsessed with geekier stuff. Now that I think of it, though, since Disney essentially owns Star Wars and Marvel, I guess, yeah, I’m Disney obsessed.

  30. naggi42 says:

    Am I ungirlie for not knowing what ruching is? Maybe I should start watching Project Runway

  31. bernasvibe says:

    You said@**Bottom line: I don’t want my daughters growing up in a world that tells the men in their lives to treat them like objects. I don’t want my son feeling pressured to conform to a stereotype of brutish idiocy masquerading as a coveted brotherhood.**

    >>You nailed IT..Well expressed & nicely written. 2 thumbs UP

  32. Emmy Valbac says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s always refreshing to see men who are happy to be themselves.

  33. elainecanham says:

    I’d never heard of a man card before. I wonder what a woman card would be? Deduct 2 points if you can do plumbing? Some people just feel more comfortable if they can put you in a category. Be proud of your ruching knowledge!

  34. You know, it’s funny – I hear a lot of men expressing these sentiments here and there, but I rarely actually meet men who act like this (you). Except for my gay male friends and a few Europeans, most men I know are pretty uncomfortable tearing up. When I meet one who does, I really want to get to know him. I think it’s really more of a personality-type characteristic – are you a feeler or a thinker? So sad that an entire gender has been forced into one type of personality trait. I also think Americans are especially prone to the false masculinity thing.
    Anyway, thanks for providing some hope for women like me who prefer a man to actually have a heart. And congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Did it make you tear up?

    • jesteram says:

      I may have choked up a little when I found out I was Freshly Pressed. And I’d like to think I’m a feeler, but that sentence revealed the truth of it: I’m a thinker. A sometimes ruthlessly logical thinker. Who gets a lump in his throat very, very easily.

  35. LSpiering says:

    I was just contemplating all of this from the other side earlier this week. The term “like a girl” plays in my head when I do things that are “supposed” to be manly (i.e. handy tasks around the house, most things driving related, touching bugs, playing sports well, etc.). I’ve heard it my whole life, and it pisses me off. The worst part is feeling proud of myself for doing things that are atypical for the female stereotype, because it shows how ingrained it is in my own brain.

    Well done Ryan!

    • jesteram says:

      Thanks! I grew up with two very athletic parents who nonetheless encouraged me to pursue my own singing, dancing, acting, reading, and writing aspirations. With parents who played on various sports teams and leagues (sometimes together, sometimes not), and with a mom who has a toolshed/workshop in the backyard, I never saw a lot of particular activities as gender specific.

  36. I think the fathers of daughters are going to be a huge influence in the next few years. We’re looking at the world our young women are going to inherit, and we’re willing to step up and say “It’s not going to stay like this…”
    My three girls are amazing people. In some ways, they’re more manly than I ever was (I never took Karate, and I can’t ice-skate backwards…) and in other ways they’re exactly as girly as they need and want to be. They’re going to be able to handle power tools as well as colouring pens, and they know they can pick whatever colour or style of clothing THEY think suits them.
    I’m looking forward to living in the world they are in charge of.

    • jesteram says:

      Me too. I described my oldest daughter in much the same way. She would put on princess outfits, then would climb up rocks and jump off. She and her sister love to wrestle. And have fancy parties with pinkies-out drink-sipping. A woman at the children’s museum we visited this past weekend watched them explore for a while, then told me, “They’re going to change the world.”

  37. I was told my “man card” was reduced because I used the word ‘wonderful’ the other day. I think it’s a fantastic word.

  38. From a very early age my daughters understood that for cooking projects you went to dad, but if something needed repairing it was Mom you wanted! We raised them to have little tolerance fo rigid gender roles. My own father was a tough-as-nails engineer who loved to work with his hands, and could be counted on to weep at piano recitals and graduations. You are definitely NOT overreacting! :)

  39. rachelmeeks says:

    Very happy to read such a comprehensive view of manhood. I hate the whole “man card” thing. I actually found this just as I finished my piece on what I think about masculinity ~ http://doilooksick.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/the-hearts-of-men/ if you’d like to read. :)

  40. Disney has created some emotion worthy things. I agrre with you completely that these things aren’t manly or unmanly. It’s the character of the man, what he is under pressure, that really defines manhood. In answer to your question, I don’t think you are overreacting. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed

  41. The idea of feminine and masculine has only existed for about two hundred plus years (see Foucaults History of Sexuality). It’s like masculine and feminine colors. It’s only light. Or refracted light. Not over reaction

  42. No! You’re not AT ALL over reacting. It’s incredibly heartwarming (and sexy) to watch my husband put down his tools to pick up a tea cup with our daughter. Kudos for calling out the bullshit that is “the man card”. I have heard several negative comments made (by both men and women unfortunately) about my son playing with his sister’s baby dolls. People pull the “gay” or “sissy” card and I flip out. And not because I fear having a gay or sensitive child. I inform their small brains that he is actually learning to be a dad and I can only hope he grows up to love and care for his own babies like real men should.

  43. Hajara Pitan says:

    Beautiful! Not over-reacting, you are just being unapologetically you! As you should be. No need conforming to stereotypes that imprison. We are each unique designer originals, it’ll be a major disaster if we all had to like and prioritise the same things! Great post!

  44. Well said, first you get punished for being too “manly” by the women, then when you get in touch with your softer side, you lose points on your man card. Why can’t people just be people? Nice post.

  45. Mel says:

    This is genius, kudos to you for writing this, you’ve gained a new follower. This seriously made my morning. :)

  46. debra colby says:

    Pink, light blue, white, light green…all look better on men anyway. Real men DO wear Pink and they wear it boldly! Go forth and flick those man cards in the fire. :D

  47. Personally, I’ve always thought “playing the man-card” was a way for men to cover up their envy that someone else is doing something they’d rather be doing – like going to Disney instead of replaying the same old Super Bowl annual ritual.

  48. bikerchick57 says:

    Keep on crying and watching Project Runway and congrats on being pressed.

  49. Caitlin May says:

    Congrats on being FP! I think as society we need to be careful not to define men and women as “this” or “that.” I am Christian, so I follow the Bible’s guidelines on men and women, husbands and wives. Still, though, it’s interesting (and sad) to me that other men deduct points on your man card when you are displaying that you care for your family, you’re investing in your daughters, you’re a good husband who cares for your wife’s well-being (and you surprise her with dates!). If anything, I think your “man card” should be BOOMING with points for those things! A man takes care of his family, providing for them, protecting them, and loving them.

    For the world to say a “man” sits around and watches football with one hand down his pants and the other on his beer is a very skewed look at masculinity.

    Thank you for being a REAL man, and for writing about it.

  50. Ye Pirate says:

    Very good post,and congrats – I think you’re overreacting – there are all different kinds of men, not just mancard men and men who help women with this and that. I am talking about the post only and do not want to be thought of as talking to you or anyone personally, but really this is a good post for a certain audience.- not an allusion to mean female audience. There is a certain denigration here – though well written, and with one or two valid points – my main issue is not who or what is targeted, but what next. It really is a case of intolerance – and don’t get me wrong, if society, or US society really is a society that blames victims in rape cases then it is crushingly awful. But the connection between that and your main point is an assumption you might not be fairly making. In this way you are dividing the issue into ‘either’ and ‘or’ which I think is not helpful. But good article.

  51. I enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing. I get where you are coming from. After watching Say Yes To The Dress, I discovered I really don’t like mermaid style wedding gowns. Go figure…

  52. I think homophobia is part of the reason some men worry about being, or not being, “man enough”. Homophobia is a social disease. I also think insecure men treat women with disregard and disrespect, whether they are intelligent men or dumb, educated or not. I’ve even met gay men who are misogynists, and I’ve noticed they (these particular fellows I’ve met) are insecure about one thing or another. I think you are totally cool for writing this, and your wife and children are very lucky. Enjoyed reading your post. :)

  53. Ashley Marie says:

    Brilliant. Love it. Thank you for this.

  54. Great – you sound like a human, to me. Sure, there may be certain tendencies which are partly down to genetics and human biology (more men with normal masculine biology grow beards than women with normal feminine biology), but much of what passes for ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are intensifications of culture, and what society deems to be normal in a gender. Its an individual human who can break out of the artificial mould of the sort of inhibiting norms which deem what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in males and females. Lets think more about what is acceptable in order to be generously human however those qualities and predilections exist within men or women. We do great disservice to ourselves in making unacceptable behaviour something ‘all men are like’ or ‘all women are like’ and equally, in saying certain attributes should be admired in men but unacceptable in women, admired in women but unacceptable in men

  55. blanketeers says:

    This is great. I think people sometimes are too eager to overlook things because they’re meant to be funny. Even if these comments weren’t meant in a mean way, they definitely carried this judgement about what a person of a specific gender ‘is’ and shouldn’t be ignored because they’re not meant to be insulting. In a way that’s worse, the idea that it’s just an accepted fact, so much so that a complete stranger feels they can comment on it.

    • jesteram says:

      Your point about overlooking stuff that’s meant to be funny is one I wrestled with for a while. I don’t always succeed, but I do try to speak up when I hear sexist or racist jokes being told now. My words often make the situation awkward and uncomfortable, but I’m getting used to it. And there’s something really satisfying about drawing a line in the sand.

      • blanketeers says:

        I think if you do manage to make people feel uncomfortable, then they’ve got to at least to some degree look at what they’ve done that’s caused this situation. Hopefully by doing this you’ve changed a few people’s attitudes.

  56. katiemdale says:

    Reblogged this on letsgetrespect and commented:
    I like this. I like that it gives a mans point of view about something that I sometimes see the effects of: men being told to be manly.

  57. muslimrunner says:

    Amen to the Bottom Line!

  58. pezcita says:

    The whole “man card” thing reminds me of the “Musicians Union Cards” in the Blues Brothers – a totally fake mushed piece of paper with the power to get one in some awful fights nonetheless. Speaking of which, I quit on Nicolas Spark’s The Notebook to watch the Blues Brothers. Is my woman card about to be revoked? Ack! Not now, I’m knitting! http://pezcita.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/the-banned-book-blues/

    By the way, I’m sure your daughters will always have fond memories of growing up with a dad who was willing to put his “man card” aside when they wanted to play tea party with him or listen to Disney music. I had (and still have) such a father and firmly believe the world would be a better place if everyone did :)

  59. ashleekarin says:

    “Man Cards aren’t worth the frilly pink paper they’re printed on.” was a punch line that kept me reading your witty blog. I also loved “I don’t think the things listed above are manly or unmanly. They just are.” What a genuinely refreshing viewpoint on the sexist stereotypes of our society.

  60. No, you are not over-reacting. The man card thing is kinda stupid. Guys (or girls) do not have to act a certain way. Being sensitive does not mean that you are getting in touch with your feminine side either. That is one pet peeve of mine.

  61. Totally NOT overreacting! Gender stereotypes are so dangerous. What are we saying to those who dont fit the completely ridiculous made up role society imposes? That they aren’t as good? Awful. Scary. Dangerous. Unnecessary. Thanks for writing this.

  62. How2Conquer says:

    lollll how funny! :^)

  63. laveastunc says:

    Your daughter will be a great artist one day

  64. jonathanmalo says:

    Heck yeah, brother! Preach! (But not in a churchy pulpit kind of way) Being a longtime avid Bravo and HGTVer and someone who gets misty eyed from all sorts of stuff I know where you’re coming from. There have been times I’ve been ridiculed and mistreated for this and those moments taught me a lot about the character of those people and served as a way to steer clear of the downer folks clinging to rusty and unhealthy views of gender roles. I attended an all boys high school and one thing to this day that I thoroughly did not appreciate about the culture was how it fed the idiotic fire of machismo. This unfortunately alienated some pretty neat people within that institution because they didn’t want to smash people on the gridiron, run around doling out “nut-shots”, or have sex with as many people as possible for merely no other reason than to brag about it in order to feel temporarily good about themselves. Ya’ll knew those poor folks, the supposed cool kids LOL. More power to ya, thanks for the share!

  65. gumball911 says:

    Reblogged this on idontknow.com and commented:
    Cool

  66. I really love how you wouldn’t lie to your kids! Back when my brother was younger, he was being teased by his aunts for being feminine as gay till he cry XD It is quite the shallow how society always protect female with feminism like they can do anything that guys can do but when it comes to guys, they are alone because that’s how they should show their masculinity. Man or not, we are all human beings and we would want someone to protect us from time to time.

  67. So maybe we can change the name of the cards to – Neanderthal Cards – because that’s what they seem to be referring to. Great Post!

  68. syahir.azam says:

    Reblogged this on mindaanarki and commented:
    Well said.

  69. sparrow says:

    “Man card” sounds stupid coming out of anyone’s mouth. I enjoyed reading your post and the list of things you like. It’s amazing how having kids makes us see things differently/more clearly. Love the drawing, too.

  70. sjdonaldson says:

    Great post… I don’t think we have “girl cards”. But we do get kudos for knowing which end of a wrench to use and if we can name all of the F1 drivers ;)

    Boys like pink, and girls like gadgets… and the world still turns :) Long may it stay that way

  71. […] blog was heavily influenced by the rather interesting http://standingintheshallows.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/identity-week-its-in-the-cards/ well worth stopping by for  a […]

  72. Hey! Awesome post. I’m a woman and I sometimes feel as though I should have a man card. It all boils down to one thing – we’re all human! Hopefully the man card will soon retire or at least maybe state new and improved prerequisites, including: must cry during the end of Disney movies, must kiss your wife on the forehead every night before bed, must wear pink at least once a week, etc. Lol. Honestly though.. Really enjoyed this.

  73. Going to have to revoke your man card for this post ;)

    • jesteram says:

      Ha! Good luck finding it. Just curious: Do people ever tell you that real men eat meat?

      • No not really. I am in the gym daily and out in the woods running or cycling a lot so I am pretty muscular etc while most of my friends are out of shape and look bad. I am trying to represent for the veggie community :) But I can see easily how that could happen. Old school mentality that meat equals strength and manliness. Funny thing is “strong as an ox”expression….what does an ox eat? Grass….. You tell someone that they are like “oh”… no comback…

  74. Rupert Eliot says:

    The Man Card can be a hilarious joke, and should be treated as such. No need to twist things to absurdity. I vote overreacting. What is next, a particular Senor Chang catchphrase? The irony of these jokes cannot be unappreciated.

    • jesteram says:

      In a perfect world, maybe. But I think that some men can and do fail to appreciate the irony of the joke and treat it as something more. It’s why guys get into bar fights and shoot each other over whose football team is better. My masculinity is not so threatened by such joking, but more insecure men have been prompted to do stupid, rash, and hurtful things by less.

  75. A man is defined by who he is, and not by others or universal standards. You just proved this point. Excellent article.

  76. *Googles “ruching”* Oooo…

    High five, man. Keep on keeping on. It’s true that it takes all kinds, but there needs to be more of your kind around.

  77. This was a great read! Thank you for sharing.

  78. overacting? no way. you are true and honest and know what you like and are proud of it. Bingo. well done mate. wish you and your kids an honest surrounding. congratulations.

  79. ZakcHead says:

    First ever CD bought: In Utero by Nirvana.
    Secondly, the subject of the man card isn’t such a silly one. It keeps the lot of men acting a certain way: masculine. Else, more and more men find ease with their homosexuality.

  80. Wow, great post–congrats! Still, you might be overreacting just a bit, good humor often pushes the boundaries of what is considered appropriate. I admit that I love “that’s what she said” jokes as well, and I know that makes me a cad. I think it’s always going to be hard for people to let go of masculine and feminine stereotypes, since they’re somewhat hardwired into our brains. Good topic, thanks!

    • jesteram says:

      I’m a cad too, then, I suppose. I do think that there’s stuff guys tend to think is funnier or more interesting than do women, on the whole, and I look forward to camping trips or poker/movie/video game/whatever nights with my guy friends, but I don’t feel like those activities are solely my domain as a man or are what defines me. If my wife wanted to have a bunch of women over to play some first-person shooters or watch an action movie, I’d be incredibly surprised—but I wouldn’t think she wasn’t being feminine.

  81. mrmrsimran says:

    Love this post! And no you are not going to be less man by pleasing your wife or daugther. My man watch project runway too, wear pink, do the dishes, cooking, laundry and many more. He even wakes up at night to make some milk for our little sons. He’s so manly and proud of him ^_^

  82. thescreamingpumpkin says:

    Love everything about your blog: your voice, your ideas, and especially the illustrations at the beginning! Thank you for introducing me to “the man-card”. I can honestly say I had never before heard of it and having heard of it I can see the good and bad of it. As for the “darkness” of your post, those are just the kinds of things that happen when people take something intended for fun too far. How many horrible things have been justified with the idea that someone was “just letting off some steam”?
    In related news, I have been looking for a blog to follow and I think I found it!

  83. BellaBell says:

    You know I laughed when you said that you were overreacting. Your not and I think your making a good point. Being a writer I have had to write about guys before. The first time I did this however I was at a loss; how do I write about a guy when I’m a girl? I just wanted it to be believable so I asked the question how do I write about the other gender? You can probably guess what the answer was.
    “Its not about the gender its about the personality. who is that person? What do they like and dislike? Figure that out and it wont matter if its a guy or a girl.”
    It was all of that and more. I never thought about it again. Feel kinda silly for thinking that way though. :P It’s obvious and yet people still like to use silly things like the Man Card.

    • jesteram says:

      That reminds me of the story about George R. R. Martin, when told he writes women well, saying it’s because he’s always thought of them as people. I don’t know if I agree that he writes women well—and there’s far too much cruelty and rape in his books (and the show) to sit comfortably with me (I feel it goes far beyond gritty and into gratuitous)—but I like his response.

  84. I can’t believe you went to Disneyland on Superbowl Sunday! *Shaking head*

    • jesteram says:

      I know! I needed to do a better breakdown of least-attended days at the park, because football’s big finale didn’t seem to keep numbers down like I heard it would. Since there are about 314 million people in this country, and only 111 million of them watched the game, I should’ve factored in the fact that about 203 million other people were still looking for something to do. (Not to mention international visitors.)

  85. o6iez says:

    Reblogged this on Thoughts εїз and commented:
    “Casual insults happen, and in fact I feel more accepted if a friend can hurl them at me, because that means he’s comfortable enough to not worry about being mistaken for someone who genuinely has something critical to say.”

  86. Nona says:

    Truly laughed out loud reading your ruching comments. Your piece made me grin and made me nod my head in agreement. Really great writing!

  87. toutsi19 says:

    Haha love it! Now that’s honest and we’ll portrayed, cheers.
    T.

  88. toutsi19 says:

    Reblogged this on Toutsi19's Blog and commented:
    Amazing story that may one day destroy women vs. men stereotypes.
    Quite funny as well.

  89. Not over reacting at all. I have no qualms about listing pink as my favorite color. It’s not manly or unmanly, it just is. And I know all the ballet positions because of my son who is growing up to be a wonderful man and ballet dancer.

  90. I am a step-dad to twin girls, now in their early twenties. Their mom and I raised them with these rules – 1. You create your own cool. 2. Girls are beautiful and come in all shapes and sizes. 3. Girls are capable of achieving any goal they work hard to achieve.

    With all of this said, I do think you’re overreacting. Or better yet, I think you might be missing opportunity. I’m a fan of the man card as means to be funny with my friends, and more often than not to be self-deprecating in my writing. Men are burly, clumsy, hairy beings that just beg to be made fun of. Although I must admit, I tend to use the “Guy Manual” joke more. You know, I HAVE to forget to take out the trash at least once a month…It’s in the “Manual”?

    Anyway, there are opportunities where the man card can be used to help promote treating women and girls the way they should be treated. Any man who doesn’t hold the door open for a woman, revoke his man card. Not carrying something heavy for his wife, revoke the card. Not cleaning up the kitchen after she made dinner? TAKE IT AWAY…Ha ha ha. This way, we can reinforce the good and still have a little fun and not be quite so sensitive about every little thing. Because, let’s be honest, Steel Magnolias may be a great movie, but it just isn’t a dude film. Or at least, that’s what my Manual says.

  91. I love the man card game, mainly because I love to flip it back on people. Take your example of Space Mountain. When that guy respond That you should have lost your man card for going to Disney instead of watching the super bowl, my first thought went to the role of a man. I would have responded “Providing memories and experiences for my family is far more manly than any football game could be.” The role of a man is not to be macho, but rather to be a role model for his family. A protector, and a provider, a rejection of this duty, or mockery thereof, constitutes grounds for a permanent removal of one’s man card.

    • jesteram says:

      As fair a play I think turnabout is, I’m still wary of saying one activity is more manly than another. Football games—even on TV—can provide great memories and experiences for kids, too. Some of my personal fatherhood highlights so far are the simple ones: taking my girls to the drive-in or having a special movie night (Star Wars!), slogging up a creek while camping, going to a summer baseball game, or holding my son in one arm while shaving with the other. Disneyland is a particularly special memory, but so could seeing the Packers win, if that’s your thing. It’s just not mine. I absolutely agree, though, that a man’s role is not to be macho but a role model.

  92. Thank you for writing this. In light of the recent Incognito scandal, more people like yourself should step up and speak up. Applause, Sir. Love the blog, too. Adorable family.

  93. achoels says:

    Reblogged this on Achoels.

  94. This is a great post. Real men don’t need man cards. Also I’d be curious to hear what you think of man caves.

    • jesteram says:

      I’m more partial to the idea of a writing shed. I do get the desire for a space of one’s own in which to pursue specific hobbies and interests, but I’ve never bought into the belief that the physical space itself needs to be gender exclusive. That said, my wife doesn’t hang around when I play Halo with my friends or drink scotch and beer with other guys, and I do find value in (and enjoy) talking and interacting with other men in a male-only setting (though I also value mixed-gender conversations and get-togethers, too, of course). All of that can happen in a shared space. That said (again), my wife has told me that if I ever buy us a house with enough rooms, she’ll buy me the complete Oxford English Dictionary to put into my library. I would like a library. But a house requires money and a library requires space, neither of which are at a premium with three kids underfoot.

      • I appreciate your thoughts. A writing shed sounds wonderful! My husband and I share a pretty small Japanese apartment, and pretty much all of our extracurricular activities are done in one room. I need to go into “the zone” if I’m to get anything done, and he needs to have my attention every 5 minutes if he’s to get anything done, so… yeah. One day! Cheers!

  95. Gymbo Blogs says:

    Reblogged this on GymboreeIndia and commented:
    A husband, father talks about being a MAN. He sounds quite a bit like a lot of our Gymboree dads.
    Let us know if you relate.

  96. Great post from an interesting angle! It’s good that you can see the intended meaning – as a casual way of poking fun- behind the concept of the “man card,” while knowing that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Society is full of these subtle stereotypes, and we as good people need to remember to keep ourselves in check so that we aren’t crossing any lines.

    You may also enjoy this similar post written by a woman on a related topic:
    http://annacirianidean.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/youll-make-a-great-wife-someday/

    You share a lot of the same points!

    Thanks for the humorous, intelligently written reflection. Fun read :)

  97. Great post! Rock that minivan!

  98. auntynigel says:

    Up until around a hundred or so years ago, pink was a masculine colour while blue was feminine. Also there is nothing wrong with anything Disney, I am currently working on the blu-ray collection of them. The man card or pre-defined ideals on what a man should be, I suspect is more a way for insecure individuals to hide within masses

  99. Forlorn Hope says:

    Well put! Personally, following my breakup this past summer I acted in anything but a “manly fashion.” There was no stiff upper lip anywhere to be found. In fact, four months later, and I am still super emotional about it.

    That said, I am very concerned with the messaging incident at Disneyland. Why were you punching in your wife’s cell phone number? Whouldn’t you already have it programmed into your cell phone in the number one position on the speed dial? :)

  100. My husband’s favourite colour is pink (he looks good in it, and it’s also my 4 year old sons favourite colour) – his mates tease him, and I say that he’s totally confident in his masculinity – wearing a particular colour doesn’t make him less of a man. He also recently got a vasectomy (because getting my tubes tied is much more intrusive and long lasting). I say – down with stereotypes, do what makes you happy …

  101. Man looks different by their bears?

  102. Feral State says:

    Inspiring stuff! But most of all I love your picture, really made me smile the whole way through your post! FS x

  103. wakingofthebear says:

    We each (men and women) have a masculine side and a feminine side. The trick is to find the balance between the two that makes you happy. I believe that “macho” is too far to one side, and “feminist” is too far to the other side. Somewhere in the middle is a balance that works.

  104. Right on! and pink IS awesome. That’s okay; I think I cried at Cars at some point too… and at the end of Wreck-it Ralph when Vanellope saves him. shhh! Don’t tell! I know I’m female and that’s expected of me, but I hate admitting to crying at that.

    It’s also fair to not want your daughters to be treated as sex objects because someone said that it was okay to do so. Trust me, being on the end of that is no fun… even frightening.

    this was a REALLY good post.

  105. Miss Demeanour says:

    The world needs more men like you.

  106. franklythat says:

    This is fantastic. I have a 4 year old boy and already he is being told what boys should do and what girls should do.
    I try so hard to counter that and hopefully, one day I won’t have to.

  107. girlbwrittin says:

    You aren’t overreacting. I appreciate your thoughts a lot. Character is what is important, not fitting gender stereotypes. If you are a man who is willing to take your family to Disneyland on Superbowl Sunday, congratulations to you for being a man who supports his family, loves them, and buys little mermaid CD’s for them. Great article, great thoughts!

  108. cerirua says:

    Bravo! I loved this piece. As a wall building, diy loving, pink loving girl I totally agree with you

  109. My husband is a bearded, tattooed, scary looking metal enthusiast who has zero
    qualms about dancing with our daughter to Katy Perry while wearing a blonde wig. This whole “man card” thing was invented by dudes with pretty Cro-Magnon ideas about what masculinity really means. Great post.

  110. Anastasia says:

    Can I like this article a thousand times please?! Very well said. I enjoyed reading.

    -A

  111. Cookie Soul says:

    Not over-reacting at all. Rather living your life your way, (as long as there’s empathy) which is how it should be.

  112. To hell with gender restrictions and what is manly or unmanly. I wish everyone thought the way you did. We’d all be a lot better for it.

  113. Bravo…
    I do believe that you are part of the new way of thinking man, you’ve been around for a LONG time but it seems those man cards have been dominating the market.

    Seriously, I’ve never heard of the man card but I get the concept. I am surrounded with man card type people including the guy that I’m seeing. He lost one his man cards when I cooked him veggi good – apparently not eating meat is not being manly. He’s one of those guys that says men can’t like pink, have allergies, think things are cute and the list goes on because . . . they would loose their man card.

    Hi, it’s nice to know that you exist, and others like you. Great post! :-)

  114. I’ve been using and reading WordPress for a while now, and this is the first post that’s ever made me say, “Damn. I wish I would have written that first.” Excellent read. I plan on cannibalising the theme of this post for one of my own.

    I am the proud daddy of an eight year-old girl who loves fairies and pirates equally, and I hope that my dedication to having fun in any form has helped inform her broad selection of play choices.

    And I’m more of a What Not to Wear kind of guy myself.

    Jason

  115. This is THE BEST blog post I have read in a long time. I am so glad to read this – written by a man. I am so tired of everyone believing the exact opposite of what you wrote.I very often wonder if there are men out there who think the way you do. And when I hear one talking and acting on things you’ve written about, it shocks the Hell out of me. And I love it. It’s not often. At all.
    Thank you. :) I do not believe you’re overreacting. I believe other people do not want to deal with subjects like this and so its easier for them to roll their eyes and say you’re overreacting. They’re just afraid. This – ironically – makes you technically more “manly”, as it shows you have more courage and care less about what others think of you.

  116. […] my wife quickly pointed out. I did something similar earlier in this blog’s life, too, in my most popular post to date, when I said I went to Disneyland for my 34th birthday. Actually, it was for my 32nd […]

  117. Step away from the Disney stuff. Suck the testosterone right outta ya.

  118. Reblogged this on randomitlgirl and commented:
    👍👍

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