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Posted: January 12th, 2024

Stereotypes and Gender Roles in our Society

Stereotypes and Gender Roles in our Society

Gender stereotypes are generalized beliefs and preconceptions about characteristics, behaviors, and roles that should be possessed by or performed by males and females in society. For instance, throughout history, women have been viewed as emotional, weak, and nurturing beings, while men are seen as strong, rational, and career-driven.  Gender roles refer to how males and females are expected to behave, speak, dress, groom, and behave in society. For example, society expects girls and women to dress in a certain way, be polite, and caring. Boys and men, on the other hand, are expected to be strong, bold, and aggressive. Gender stereotypes can be positive or negative. But it becomes harmful when it results in the violation of human rights.

Examples of Gender Stereotypes

A good example of negative gender stereotyping is the failure to criminalize sexual violence and marital rape due to the perception that women are sexual properties of men. The belief that women should dress and behave modestly to protect themselves from being violated can be traumatizing to women. Also, the notion that women should be homemakers can make it hard for them to infiltrate and succeed in the career world.

Where do gender stereotypes and roles come from?

Gender roles and stereotypes can be traced back through the history of humankind. They are influenced by social beliefs and norms that have existed for centuries. Different ethnic groups and cultures can have different stereotypes that can develop and change over the years. For instance, many years ago, pink was viewed as masculine color while blue was considered feminine in the United States.

Impacts of Gender Role and Stereotypes

Stereotypes based on gender often result in the unfair treatment of a person. Extreme and harmful gender stereotypes hinder people from expressing their emotions and pursuing their goals. For instance, it can be damaging for men to feel that they should not be sensitive and emotional because they will be seen as weak, and for women to think that they should not be strong and independent in society. In a school environment, it can impact the academic performance, subject choice, and overall wellbeing of a student.

Gender roles and stereotyping have been the major cause of discrimination against women, particularly women from minority groups, those from lower economic status, migrant women, and those with disabilities. It is also the leading cause of violations of multiple rights, including the right to education, health, freedom of movement and expression, among others. A society free of gender roles and stereotypes allows everyone to be the best version of themselves.

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