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  • Sarah M.

SEX; bitch, bossy, strong or dominant

Gender Stereotypes? Characteristics ascribed to either boys or girls.


Gender stereotypes are the beliefs that people have about the characteristics of males and females. The content of stereotypes varies over a multitude of things. These expectations are often related to the roles that the sexes fulfill in their own culture.


Though there may be many differences between men and women. To some extent, these are captured in the stereotypical images of these groups.


While men are generally portrayed as having agency characteristics such as competence, achievement-orientation, inclination to take charge, autonomy and rationality, women are associated with communal characteristics such as concern for others, affiliation tendencies, deference and emotional sensitivity.


These characteristics are not only different, they tend to be oppositional: on average people believe that men should not be excessively warm and that women should not be excessively dominant.

I bet that you know a very tender and warm man and most likely a dominant woman; hell you might be one.


We know that being a girl in society is not easy in a lot of places in the world. Gender stereotypes and gender-based discrimination are omnipresent, and women can be deprived of basic rights they should otherwise be entitled to.


But we don't always treat men right either. "Boys don't cry", "crying is for girls", "don't be a pussy", "a child's place is with his mother regardless of the situation" or "why don't you do the disgusting task".


Gender stereotypes acquired by girls and boys in early childhood – stereotypes that affect their choices in school and as they enter careers – are blocking progress toward equality.


Very young children interiorize gender stereotypes by observing the world around them, categorizing what they see as female or male and adapting their own behavior to these images.

For instance they quickly learn to associate “caregiver” with “female.” Which in this day and age isn't always the case.

But if a 7 year old boy wants to play with dolls, dress up in moms cloths, should he be stopped? I don't think so.

Because in reality we all poses both masculine and feminine qualities.


We are slowly excepting women with masculine traits such as strength, courage, independence, leadership, assertiveness or a lousy cook but when it comes to men we tend to easily think it's less acceptable.


Often masculinity and femininity are described as opposites. And thinking of them like this is thinking that they automatically cancel each other out as our learnt expectations.


Research suggest that though children aren't born to see masculinity and femininity as opposites, as they get older their views become more contradictory.

The idea that men and women are like opposites and their respective traits is completely learned. We internalize everything to male and female association.

Even though the traits and qualities of a women could as easily belong to a man.


A lot of men and boys I know love the color red and there are several women in my life whos favorite color is blue. Even though we are taught otherwise; to be and act within our social norms and boundaries.

These masculine and feminine traits are formed in culture and societal expectations not by biological differences.


These days women can wear pants, play sports, vote and work in any field they want and still be feminine, although acceptance and fluidity is not the same for men.


Men are still widely expected to live within their impossible stereotype. Our ideals of masculinity allow men to maintain a socially dominant position over women and other gender identities, when in reality this only limits ones potential.


The idea that there is only one type of masculinity box expectation; keeps women out and forces men in.

There's even a double standard; men as leaders are powerful and strong and women in the same position is often considered a bitch. We slut shame girls while we admire a man as player.


This creates this idea that men are superior causing self-esteem problems among women.

Phrases like don't be such a girl are used to describe actions that are performed poorly.


Even subconsciously we are worried about being judged or ridiculed by doing something outside the expected norm.

But by breaking down the stereotype of masculinity we can increase the acceptability of femininity.

These identities differ by culture, region, religion and personal beliefs so there are unlimited forms of masculinity and femininity, and we can be open to accepting them all as a spectrum instead of two strict ideals.


Non of us should be forced to live on one side or the other. My identity is not decided by one sided traits and I encourage you to embrace any traits you feel comfortable with; the spectrum of possibilities is endless.

It’s not easy to challenge stereotypes, but society doesn’t change if you don’t start changing yourself first.


We are not gender conforming robots, we are complex human beings with countless traits that should not be confined by a gender.

Let's not down play our own abilities whether they are socially considered masculine or feminine.

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