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Gender Stereotypes Essay

1274 words - 5 pages

As we’ve grown up, we have been taught that there are certain things that only boys can do and certain things that only girls can do. Things like the colors that children wear, the toys they play with and even the clothes they wear are stereotyped. Gender stereotypes affect both men and women, some in similar ways and some in very different ways. Many people don’t know what a gender stereotype is, how what we say about gender in Western culture differs from what is actually true, the stereotypes that are actually scientifically proven to be factual, or how some Native American tribes accepted tribal members differing from their biological gender.
Behavior that is defined as masculine, things like physical strength, control over emotions and being a good provider, differs quite a bit from behavior that is defined as feminine, like dependency, expression of emotions, and nurturing and maternal instincts (Kazdin 430). Things like the kind of toys you play with as a child and the type of clothes you wear can all turn into a gender stereotype. Toys for boys are much different from toys for girls. For boys, toys are dark colored and have a “tool-of-terror” function of some sort involved, but for girls they’re frilly and often have caretaking as an underlying function (Turgeon). For girls, playing with G.I. Joes and Hot Wheels isn’t considered “normal” and you’ll be labeled a tom-boy or even a dyke. For boys, playing with Easy-Bake Ovens or Barbies isn’t considered the social norm and can lead to gender stereotypes like being homosexual. In addition, parents usually raise male and female children differently. Girls and boys are taught to be completely different when it comes to emotions, dependency, and competitiveness, and are often given toys, such as girls getting tea sets or dolls and boys getting trucks and footballs, that encourage the “gender appropriate” traits (Cassell).
The Industrial Revolution created a greater distinction between work within in the house and work outside of the house (Kazdin). Jen Adams describes this best when she says that
“In North America and Europe, the main representatives of ‘Western’ culture, the official line is that men and women are equal. However, it is clear that gender roles have evolved in a way that undercuts this official line. Women continue to earn 77 cents for each dollar of comparable male salaries in America, while in Europe an obsession with political correctness and equality through mandates and regulation undercuts women's efforts to achieve based on merits throughout the Eurozone”.
The statement made is very true of western culture, where women are said to be equals but aren’t treated as such. This is fairly pronounced in rural communities where “women and girls play an important, largely unpaid, role in generating family income, by providing labor for planting, weeding, harvesting and threshing crops, and processing produce for sale” (“Why Gender”). In most countries, the female gender is...

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