I was recently talking to a friend of mine about the differences between men and women and at one point during the conversation, she remarked that “all men are dogs.” Of course, I’ve heard this critique before, but my friend took it a bit further as she went on to explain how men simply cannot control themselves when an attractive woman comes their way. Ever.
This very issue has been in the news a lot lately with many women stepping forward, sharing their stories of how some of our nation’s most well-known men have violated them in one way or another. However, even if all of those allegations are true, there are still millions of men in this country who would never, ever, disrespect a member of the opposite sex.
To make a blanket statement that “all men are dogs” unfairly disparages all of the men who treat women with a higher regard.
I personally don’t want to be stereotyped for what a handful of men have done because I don’t treat women the way they have. Besides, if calling all men “dogs” were okay, shouldn’t the same be true in reverse?
Is it okay for me to say that all women are drama queens? Of course not. Because it’s simply not true. Just like all men are not dogs.
We shouldn’t make gross generalizations, yet we do it all of the time. Even in business, it isn’t uncommon to make generalizations about clients, coworkers, and colleagues based on their age (“all millennials are entitled”), their occupation (“all accountants are stuffy”), and on and on.
All these generalizations undermine our ability to see people for the individuals they are. We create labels and hurl insults without being mindful of the damage our words may cause.
Even in your own life think about all the generalizations people could make about you based on your demographic, career choice, or hobbies. If you isolated any one of these, what could others think about you? Most importantly, would they be right? The answer is probably no.
My point in sharing this story is to serve as a reminder that, when we generalize about others, we all lose. The person you’re making the generalization about loses because they’re been unfairly judged and condemned for something which is likely untrue. You lose too because you have prematurely attached an identity to someone before you give yourself a chance to experience who they really are.
Stereotypes create a lose-lose situation whereas I want to live in a world in which we all win. Maybe you do too?