Gender stereotyping is based on factors such as domestic behaviors, personality traits, physical appearances, and occupations. The female gender is expected to express traits such as emotions and accommodating while men are expected to be aggressive and self-confident. Gender roles stereotyping is an inaccurate and inappropriate generalization of both men and women characteristics. Despite being of the same gender, not everyone will have similar aspirations. People have distinct and unique opinions, desires, thoughts, and feelings regardless of whether they are men or women. Therefore gender stereotypes are simplistic, and they are not a true representation of individuals attributes of either gender.
Although majority agrees that gender stereotypes are incorrect, they still behave; make assumptions and decisions based on gender. For example, most people assume that it is the desire or a requirement for all women to get married and have children. Similarly, most men are thought of and expected to be sports lovers. Males and females have continued to be stereotyped by personality traits; gender role behaviors; professional occupations; and physical attributes such as deep voice, being delicate and fragile or even being strong or weak.
Below are some gender stereotypes that incorrectly describe all men.
All men enjoy driving and working on cars and other machinery
Men are supposed to work on dirty jobs that demand a lot of strength such as mechanics and constructions; they are not supposed to work as cosmetologists, teachers or secretaries.
Men should not be nurses but doctors.
Men love and play sports and video games.
Men should assume leadership and authority over women.
Men should not be stay-at-home dads doing household errands or take care of children.
Husbands should dictate what their wives should do.
Men are better in specific subjects such as mathematics and physics.
Men should not cook, sew or do other crafts.
Only men should work in technical, technology, engineering, and other science fields.
Men love outdoor activities including hiking, camping, and fishing.
From our society, some of the above stereotypes are true of some men and women although not for all women or all men. Since the above roles do not apply to all men or for all women, they are stereotypes since they are regarded as the norm that every single man or single woman must abide. However, people exist as individuals making it perfectly normal and obvious that some men and women will desire and play the roles stereotyped to belong to the opposite gender. For example, there is a notable number of men who: are stay-at-home-dads, nurses, enjoy cooking and hate sports.
The society has encouraged female into male-dominated roles. Despite this fact, the society continues to hold rigid gender roles. Gender stereotypes have continued to be as strong as if they were in historical times. Currently, the society shows increased the likelihood to believe that the male gender has continued to resist female-dominated roles. However, incredibly noticeable changes in the representation and activities of both men and women have taken shape in the modern society. Despite these changes in gender roles and representations, the changes have not sufficiently and strongly altered the functional beliefs about the sociology of gender roles.
Both men and women are now showing similarities in their views about gender roles and stereotypes especially on stereotypes on occupations, physical characteristics, and psychological traits. If we compare the past gender roles for both men and women with todays gender roles, both genders seem to be equally engaged in financial roles unlike in the past when only men were engaged in financial matters and decision making. Men were solely the family breadwinners. However, some roles are still considered as male jobs including repair and maintenance of cars, building, and constructions among others. Similarly, certain roles are still considered as female jobs such as taking care of children, tending the house among others. The major reason why these stereotypes are still held is that men are and women are perceived incapable of executing certain roles due to certain natural limitations. Both genders have proved to be affirmative about the existing gender stereotypes and behaviors. According to studies, many gender differences are inconsistent and small. The perceived gender differences and capabilities are exaggerated.
Despite the gender revolution that is reshaping gender roles, the revolution seems to be completely lopsided. Unlike men, women have gone against the norms and busted into roles that were traditionally stereotyped as men roles. However, equilibrium in role play between both genders is yet to be realized. Men have not been able to actualize the transition of the stereotypical boundaries and take up women-defined roles. Seemingly, men are not comfortably or freely assuming female jobs.
Unlike in the past, working mothers have become increasingly noticeable.However, the trend is not the same for men who are assuming female roles. For instance, only a small percentage of men are stay-at-home fathers among the married couples. Therefore, domestic duties continue to be women dominated displaying an off-balance in the gender roles transition. Most children show preference of having their mothers staying at home rather than their fathers.
The fact that most women are now working in offices outside their homes reveals that gender norms are breaking down. Mothers are also playing the roles of family breadwinners. Men are still struggling to get to explore roles that are stereotyped as women jobs. Most men believe that assuming women roles will make other men to view them as being less of a man. On the contrary, women have risen to believe in their capabilities of being ambitious, competent as well as assertive. As a result of this attitude, women have continued to claim a broad range of roles. Unlike women, men have not embraced some female traits of being kind, gentle, nurturing and compassionate and therefore limiting them from claiming as diverse roles as women.
It is the nature of human beings to classify people into different groups based on aspects such as colour, religion, physical appearances, behaviors among other factors. Classification of people into different groups give an advantage to some groups while disadvantages others. For many years males have been advantaged in gender roles as all authority and power in a family was entirely vested in men. As a result, in the wake of civilization, women have fought for recognition in the society. Their fight over certain discriminations has been supported by some men who view women as equals and having similar potential as men. On the contrary, most men have been contented by the status quo. As a result, men have been stuck in gender roles. Gender stereotypes can only be overcome in the psychologies of people willing to get rid of them. The struggle for power and liberation has caused more women to overcome gender stereotypes than men. The men believe that they should dominate and have power over women has provided a barrier for men to overcome stereotypes. In the society, some people will continue to misinform others to maintain the existing stereotypes and ultimately maintain power, authority and their survival.
Reyes, Emily A. "'Men are stuck' in gender roles, data suggest." Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2013, articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/26/local/la-me-one-way-gender-revolution-20131227.
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