Do women complain more than men?

Have you heard that women complain more than men? My life is going past me in a blur. Wake up, go to work, come home, have sex (yay!), go to bed, wake up, go to work…My life is pretty good at the moment and I don’t have anything to complain about. The Boyf insists that I do complain a lot which is fine because it’s a common complaint men have (so, there, ha!)

women complain more than men angry couple

It turns out that women do not actually complain more than men, they just complain for different reasons. A study from 2006 called Gender and Expressions of Dissatisfaction: A Study of Complaining in Mixed-Gendered Student Work Groups by Joanna Wolfe and Elizabeth Powell states:

“The results indicate that, while the men and women in this sample made equivalent numbers of complaints, they used complaints for different reasons. Women were more likely than men to use complaints as an indirect request for action, while men were more likely to use complaints to excuse behaviour or to make themselves seem superior.”

One blog I read went on to suggest that women get more sympathy when they complain. “Clearly part of the story is that when women complain, others tend to sympathize and take their side, but when men complain, others tend to snicker and think less of them.”

Do women complain more than men, or is this a myth?

women complain more than men frustrated woman

If you read the comment threads, many people refer to the fact that women have more to complain about – often citing childbirth as something to complain about. The arguments against this line of questioning come thick and fast, with many people disagreeing that childbirth is something to complain about.

From a guy called Rich: “What I do hate the most about discussions like these is women bringing up the fact that they have to bring up and look after children. Firstly, it is your choice to take this on! Therefore any discomfort or life changes are resultant of this choice you have made.”

Yep, uh-huh.

Women maligned from Biblical times

Even the Bible says that childbirth sucks. In fact, it was God’s punishment to Eve for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. I happen to love the Book of Genesis, so let’s quote from the King James directly here: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Pretty cool, huh? Don’t worry – man did not escape lightly either. His punishment was that he would now have to work hard to farm the land, whereas before Eden gave Adam everything he needed to survive.

But I don’t complain. It’s a falllacy that women complain more than men

women complain more than men yelling woman

Anyhoo. I don’t think that I complain much at all. Often when I am ‘complaining’ I just think I’m talking. Unless I have a bad lunch experience – then I complain and everyone around me becomes sad and depressed until the order of the universe has been restored by supplying me quickly with something I will enjoy eating.

The Telegraph in the UK recently found that it’s actually men that do more complaining than women: “Women on Twitter talk more about personal matters, television programmes and work, the study found, while men are most likely to tweet about sport, gaming and news. When it comes to tweets related to brands, women are far more likely than men to be entering competitions, while men are much more likely than women to be complaining.”

What do women complain most about?

Yeah – ok, ok. I thought I would write a list of the things I researched women usually complain about.

  • Being fat
  • The toilet seat
  • Her boyfriend
  • Having nothing to wear
  • Getting hit on
  • Drama
  • Uncomfortable shoes
  • Politics

What do men complain about?

  • Being called gay
  • Periods and PMS (why – they don’t even get them?)
  • Drama
  • Feminism
  • Sports
  • Chick flicks
  • Being sick

Let’s finish off with a quote from someone who was really famous.

See if you can guess the author of this quote:

“I really haven’t had that exciting of a life. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much like to make it up. I’d rather tell a story about somebody else.”

It may surprise you to find out that that was said by Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain.

Here’s another good one:

“Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed.” Samuel Johnson

See, Bubby? It’s not just me. 

  1. Louise
    January 22, 2014

    Men are the complainers and women are the fixers. Wives, girlfriends and just girl pals spend their lives adapting to their man’s peccadillos and trying their best to facilitate their guy’s happiness and comfort. If we are very lucky our efforts are returned twofold with lots of love and fun thrown in. Cherish each other. Viva la difference.

    1. Alyce Vayle
      January 23, 2014

      thanks for the comment, Louise! I have to agree with you there!


    2. Benjamin D Lupinacci
      June 19, 2014

      This is more than a complaint, it’s bigoted statement… Anytime you make a generalization about an entire group of people you’re in trouble…

      1. June 23, 2014

        Hi ben-

        Yes! Obviously there are women who complain and men who complain. Sweeping generalisations don’t do much good.

        Have a great day.


  2. Pingback: 7 Things men hate about women

  3. Benjamin D Lupinacci
    June 19, 2014

    You should proof read your articles, your grammar is horrid. Using the Bible to prove your opinion is a bad idea. It is a known fact that the Bible has been tampered by Kings/Queens in order to sway the public in their favor. Your sources are ridiculous, you first cite a study (fine)and then cite “some guy named Rich” (not fine). Lastly Samuel Johnson quote is referring humanity in general, not “men”, otherwise he would have said, “Men are born crying…” There are other problems; however, I felt these reasons were sufficient enough to help you write a more coherent article.

    1. Benjamin D Lupinacci
      June 19, 2014

      *Johnson’s (proofread)

    2. June 23, 2014

      Hi ben,

      Thanks for taking the time to critique my article. It obviously got you quite riled up! I work as a full time copywriter (believe it or not!) so it’s my job to make sure all words published by my team are up to scratch and perfect. However, when writing for my own blog, I often have to get things out quickly, hence plenty of mistakes and errors – although reading back over this article, I can’t find any huge grammatical errors, as you say. That aside, my references include a study, a blogger, a bible quote and other sources – probably a hodge-podge but very stream-of-consciousness, as my blog tends to be. If you’d like to see some of my more professional writing, go to
      – hopefully you’ll find better written and researched articles.

      Thanks for you comments, and hopefully talk again another time.


  4. Mark
    May 19, 2017

    Complaining about feminism isn’t really complaining because feminism, itself, is inherently a movement of women complaining. So if you’re going to say men complain about women complaining, then you’re complaining about men complaining about women complaining. I think a more fair assertion should be that the first person to complain gets the blame, which in this case would be feminists.

    1. May 22, 2017

      Oh Mark,

      First of all – thank you for your comment, which I believe to be very much in line with what other men (and many other women) might think! However – let’s get real here for a sec and challenge the thought that “feminism is just simply complaining”. While there *might* be a technical argument there, it’s sort of trivialising and diminishing something very important, right? Yes, when people are marginalised, they rightly complain. But fighting against entrenched views and unfair ideals is what the human race does best. Without this, we have no growth.

      Thank you for you comment and I truly believe that someone like you (who can make such interesting semantic arguments) gets that societal growth really does start with these feelings of unrest. Who could blame us for complaining when the price is so high?

      Take care and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Love, Alyce

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