Gender Stereotypes – still influencing

Another guest blog by Ashley, psychology student who continues his work here for a few weeks to come.  He is developing his blogging wings and deserves some response, I feel.  He writes:

“I would like to begin this blog by stating that I do not agree with gender stereotypes. I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Similarly, an individual’s gender should not be used to form assumptions and expectations of how they should look, sound, behave, think or feel.

Gender stereotypes are present everywhere in the social world. The stereotypes of men being stronger than women, or that women are more nurturing, are just two examples of thousands. Many people appear to still accept these stereotypes, often leading to standarised expectations of attributes of men or women.

There are many films which present the audience with a fictitious male protagonist. In many instances, they are presented in standard clothing, building their character up more on their personality and behaviour. Contrasting this, we can often find women being sexualised in films, sporting revealing clothing, making the focus really about how they look rather than their actual personality. There are numerous examples of male fictional characters portrayed as being uncontrollably aggressive and short tempered, often associated with power. Women on the other hand, are noticeably susceptible to finding themselves serving as sidekicks or of a lesser importance. I am aware that there are exceptions to my observations but it is clear that gender stereotypes can sometimes still be promoted in the media.

These stereotypes have been formed over generations. Although it is now less commonly thought that it is a woman’s role to bring up a child while the father works, individuals still exist who strongly believe in these gender stereotypes. Gender stereotypes often emerge in our language reflecting a person’s thinking and values.

I am aware of women who are strong and fathers who are very nurturing. I also know strong men and nurturing women. My point is that I hope we are all capable of being whatever we want to be. Just because you are a specific gender does not mean the individual should be a specific type of person.  Let’s celebrate the stronger women and the more emotional men and not constrain or limit by gender stereotypical thinking.  Let’s celebrate who we are as individuals, not as a collective gender.

What are your opinions on this?  I am interested to hear your response. ”

Gender symbols

Image by Miraceti in Wikimedia