Gender stereotyping involves simplistic generalizations concerning gender attributes, individual roles and differences. These stereotypes could result into negative or positive impacts on one or both genders. However, stereotypes are not the true or accurate reflection of what they communicate. They are mainly composed of gender assumptions with no evidence to support. There are different stereotypes for different genders. Stereotypes have changed over time as human beings and society evolves and research has rendered some of the stereotypes null and void.
Female stereotypes are those unproven beliefs about female members of the society. In most societies, the stereotypes begin as early as after birth when the baby’s gender is identified. These assumptions include those that a female baby would grow into a girly individual who loves everything that most young girls like. Common female stereotypes in most societies are; women are not strong as compared to men. Women do not get as much education as men and their career choices are limited to inferior positions. Women are not good leaders, sports people or politicians. Women should have no say over their male counterparts and they are responsible for raising children. These stereotypes have different impacts on both women and men in society.
The stereotypes affect female individuals negatively since they make women feel inferior to men in society. This affects their mentality and in some cases, women do not put in effort in their studies, sports and responsibilities because the expectations are very low. On the other hand, men are not affected much by the female stereotypes. Instead they feel superior to their female counterparts and under rate them in every field that women can be matched against men. Gender violence against women is known to arise from some of these stereotypes. For instance, in African cultures, wife battering is believed to be a husband’s show of love and concern for his wife.
Male stereotypes also start at birth when the society puts certain expectations on baby boys. These boys are treated and groomed to be strong individuals who will protect the society and be leaders. In some cultures, boy children are not taught house chores since it is believed those are not their duties. Other common male stereotypes in the modern world include; men love cars and machines, men are associated with manual and dirty work. Furthermore, men love playing games, sports and other outdoor activities. Men are house heads and make all decisions. Men are also thought to be messy but good at challenging tasks like mathematics.
The impact of the male stereotypes is that men get this mentality into them and practice it. In some cases, the stereotypes may result in men being high handed over women. The impact may go as far as gender violence on women. On the upside, these stereotypes work in favor of men, especially students who work to prove that they are good at what they do. The impact on women is that they suffer the mental blow and in terms of confidence. Women feel inferior to men because of these stereotypes hence; they do not attain their potential.
There are some stereotypes that have completely changed with time. This is because of the societal changes and improvement in human interactions. It can also be attributed to strong individuals whose conscience and perceptions led them to spearhead changes in gender stereotypes. An example is the old perception in the U.S that female citizens had not mental astuteness to vote for their leaders. This stereotype existed in the America at a time when gender imbalance was so evident in the American society. Women were overlooked in many aspects. They held no national responsibilities because of stereotypes. However, women stood up to the challenge and advocated for equality in the American society. Slowly they gained recognition and were allowed to vote in leaders of their choice. As time progressed, women gained recognition on the American political scene and some have been voted into political positions of senators and governors. Initially, women in America were not recognized as citizens and were treated like slaves. However, when the stereotype was banished, women gained recognition and got a role in national politics and development.
There are stereotypes that still exist in modern day but do not add value to society. one such stereotype one that justifies gender violence in traditional African societies. Gender violence in most communities on the African continent is viewed as a way of demonstrating love and concern to women. However, this practice is degrading to women and affects them negatively. Women in the African societies feel inferior to men and they do not pursue education. Little or no education for these women means they live in poverty and depend on their male counterparts. Their health, attitudes and behaviors will be limited to the way they are regarded in society.
The African societies that condone these kinds of gender stereotypes must reassess their values. This is because these negative stereotypes perpetuate inferiority complex and poor mentalities. These stereotypes impact negatively on the women’s health, attitude, behavior, work performance, education and family. Sadly, the stereotype about harassing and beating women in the African societies still exists despite humanitarian appeals to stop this bad habit.
This stereotype has never impacted on me as since I do not believe beating up women helps them at all. Instead I feel it must be dealt with more seriously because many women are suffering and not fulfilling their dreams because of traditional beliefs. The impact it has had on me is the extra concern and urges to help those women out of the bondage they have been kept by societal stereotypes.
Therefore, gender stereotypes are baseless assumptions about either male or female individuals in society. Gender stereotyping could have devastating impacts on at least one gender. However, there are also positive impacts, especially if the stereotypes are positive in nature. This is because a stereotype impacts individuals mentality. Some stereotypes existed long ago but since society evolves constantly, they were banished. One such stereotype was the one against American women who were not allowed to vote because they were thought to lack astuteness. There are other stereotypes that still exist today. For example, the tendency to harass and beat women in traditional African communities still exists in some communities.
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