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WRONG Wrong Wrong

When I was a child, because of gender stereotyping, I used to think that I had to act and be a certain way, and I used to deny things about myself because it didn’t fit others expectations of me. As I grew older, I then started to realise that there were things about me that matched the male gender stereotype, and I slowly began to accept this. I changed the way that I behaved in front of and around other people, and now I am much happier with the way that people see me and the way that I am.

 

I actually find that some of my “male” qualities are greater than that of others who actually are male, and I actually seem to identify more with this set of qualities. There are many things that I like about the way I have developed, and the blend of qualities that I actually have. Having stereotypes means that a woman could be really skilled at what would be considered to be a man’s job, and visa versa, but that they can not do this because of others expectations and so society is missing out on people’s more valuable skills just because of what people supposedly “are”.

 

Gender stereotypes mean that as well as having the strengths of that gender, you must also have the weaknesses of that gender too. Mixing them together means that you can have the strengths of both and you can try to be a better person in every way. As we all know, gender stereotypes were probably made more to suppress women, but in the same way as a second effect they have also damaged men too.

 

One example of this would be in the case of sexual abuse on children. I imagine that to believe that more girls are abused in this way would be a misconception. Although all cases of abuse are under reported, males are a lot less likely to disclose information on sexual abuse because of the characteristics they are expected to have. A cultural bias means that males are expected to be more confident or aggressive, and to be perceived as a victim would mean that a male was inadequate as a male. A lot of people appear to be less sympathetic towards boys who are victims of sexual abuse, and this is one of the many, many examples that I could use to argue that gender stereotyping is always WRONG.

 

As a young person it made me angry and frustrated, and now I most definitely disagree with it and don’t see how it benefits society at all. A caring, loving male to me is much more attractive than an aggressive one (despite the fact that I’m not really straight but never mind). I’m sure many straight girls would agree…  

 

AmeliaHarding AmeliaHarding 18-21, F 5 Responses May 29, 2008

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I agree. Stereotypes can make life so uncomfortable! I feel gender is irrelevant nowadays.

You are so right in every way. Thanks for a great story. I wasn't allowed to have red sneakers when I was 5--red was for girls. I'm nearly 60 now and still am sad that I couldn't start kindergarten in red shoes. When I was in junior high school, I asked if I could take home economics and was told it was only for girls. As an adult, I was a single parent of three--no girls. When my youngest son actually was allowed to take home economics, he said the class was a joke. Why? Because I had taught him far more that was offered in that course to prepare him for self-sufficiency, no matter what. As a single dad, I asked our church if I could join the single moms' support group. I was told that I could not. Why isn't there a single dads' support group, I asked. Because there aren't that many single dads was the reply. Isn't the reason why single moms need a support group because they are few?, I asked. In my perfect world, there would be only one set of rules for both genders and absolutely no gender discrimiation.

i'm in total agreement with You, and i'd like to add that the stereotyping that goes on means some males that are abused believe they're supposed to *enjoy* it! i'm sure that some may do so, but abuse is still abuse, and takes more from them than any momentary thrill of physical pleasure could possibly return.

I agree, gender stereotypes are very damaging, and people don't realize it. All I heard growing up was "no, that's for boys." I'm relieved now that I don't have to necessarily follow those cookie cutter roles.

I completely agree with you - gender stereotypes can hurt everyone who isn't the same as what they are "meant" to be. I am very lucky to have been brought up in a family that completely ignores those gender stereotypes, or I would have had a horrible childhood.
Also, I really like you analogy of stereotypes as "cookie cutter roles". I hope you don't mind if I borrow that phrase sometime.

I can tell you that I did not appreciate that my father would not allow me to wear shoes that my friend had because they were not "girl's shoes". We girls wanted to wear them because our male friend had a pair and we liked him. Stereotypes of any kind are not always what they seem. :-)