Wednesday, January 2

Gender Stereotypes

I've had this picture on my hard-drive for quite some time now, mainly because I didn't get around writing a post about it. Here it fits quite well.

Gender stereotypes run quite deep. And even if the parents take care of not acting to them, giving the child free decision of what to do, what to play with, how to live - society will basically overrun them with its ideas of what boys and girls should and shouldn't do.

Every society has a huge catalogue filled with "how men are" and an even larger one filled with "how women are". Those stereotypes quite often are not based on facts, but on fiction. "Woman have no talent for any technical things." That's one of those myths that are ingrained in girls from the beginning (or as soon as they have to enter society). "Men don't cry or show feelings." That's one of those myths that are ingrained in boys from the beginning. None of them has any basis when it comes to facts. Women are not physically or mentally unable to deal with technical things. Men are not physically unable to cry or show feelings.

Humans are individuals, every one is different from all others. There are people on which those stereotypes fit. But there are even more people who have to ignore or suppress part of their character to fit into the tight corset that is gender stereotypes.

Besides being highly unfair, gender stereotypes (stereotypes of any kind, really) also are counterproductive. By limiting certain abilities to one gender, people also limit their resources. "Women can't work with technical things." That means "50 percent of the populace cannot be employed when it comes to technical jobs". That means a lot of possible talent wasted, just because a person has the wrong gender.

And they go deep. They are rooted so deep in our society, people will be punished for acting against them (not by the law, but by society). You are not feminine, if you don't play by the rules laid down for women. And you're not masculine if you don't play by the rules laid down for men.

Feminism - to get back to the overall topic of this blog - has started breaking those stereotypes up, but unfortunately they installed new ones. A woman is old-fashioned if she stays at home, that's a gender stereotype, too. And you can't free people by exchanging old stereotypes with new ones.

The only way all people can be equal, is to get rid of those stereotypes one and for all!


Rhiana said...

I agree whole heartedly with you. There is only one other girl in my computer I.S.T class but that only makes us want to over achieve more in that certain class to prove to others that we can do it. But we should not have to! prove anything. We should not be restricted by our sex, but sadly we are. Can I ask where you got that poem from? Thank you a lot, you have given me something to think about :)

Cay Reet said...

I think I found the poem on The F-Word, but I'm not completely sure ... I have had the picture for quite a while.