Women are more sensitive to taboos than men
Taboos come and go in the Netherlands, but according to experts one thing always stays the same: women are more sensitive to taboos than men.
Experts and trendwatchers discussed taboos at a symposium at Tilburg University last week.
While some taboos disappear, they are replaced by others. Expert Marchel Maassen has listed the top 100 most frequent taboos.
"Smoking has become a taboo in some circles. I know for certain that people change their smoking habits, because they fear negative reactions from friends."
One of the most remarkable things about taboos, according to Mr Maassen is the difference between men and women: "Women are much more sensitive to taboos than men. There are 50 taboos that are very important to women, but men only have two: crying at work and discovering you have homosexual feelings."
Trendwatcher Justien Marseille predicts a new taboo, “manly behaviour”, as a result of aging. Both men and women take on more feminine characteristics as the years go on, explains Ms Marseille. That means competitiveness will make way for cooperation.
"As we will have more and more men and women above the age of 45 compared to young people there will simply be more oestrogen and more femininity in society. That could lead to a taboo on everything that is manly."
This might mean men being forced to sit on the toilet when they urinate rather than stand. It is likely that urinating in a standing position will be added to the list of taboos in the future.
Current list of taboos
Dutch people are known for their free sexual morals, nevertheless there are six subjects related to sex in the taboo top ten. Top of the list is having sexual desires towards your own child.
Top ten taboos in the Netherlands
1. Having sexual desires towards your own child.
2. Abusing your partner or children.
3. Stealing something valuable from your employer.
4. Neglecting or abusing your pet.
5. Making unwanted sexual advances towards colleagues.
6. Needing alcohol to function at work.
7. Having an extramarital relationship.
8. Visiting a prostitute.
9. Having a sexually transmitted disease.
10. Exerting physical/psychological pressure on your partner for sex.
This is a list of the main taboos of both men and women in the Netherlands. Taboos concerning homosexual feelings and crying at work, which mostly men tend to fear, are in position 50 and 57 in the top 100.
Johan van der Tol/ RNW
Photo credit: Ciudadano Poeta, flickr.com