Gender stereotypes are instilled unconsciously from birth.They are preconceived ideas, inherited from an outdated social model, that determine the lives of boys and girls based on their sex.
A stereotype is a belief that attributes specific characteristics to the members of a group, generally in an arbitrary way, based on shared ideas and, although without any basis, commonly accepted.
Gender stereotypes refer to those beliefs deeply rooted in society about how women and men are or should be. They are beliefs that dictate the roles that men and women have to play in the society to which they belong. A problem that can start from birth, even with the archetypal boys in blue, girls in pink.
Why do gender stereotypes exist?
Gender stereotypes gain strength depending on the number of people who share them, becoming ideas that are difficult to refute, and which can only be corrected or dismantled with tools such as education.
They can be negative, positive, or neutral, but in any case, they mark the roles and performance of both men and women from childhood, generating in many cases situations of inequality and discrimination. There are all kinds!
For example, socially, men are associated with qualities such as bravery, dominant character, rationality, strength, or effectiveness, among others. At the same time, the female figure is synonymous with nouns such as fragility, instability, submission, dependency, lack of self-control, passivity, or frivolity.
These types of ideas are repeated with so much frequency and determination, that in the end, they end up being naturally accepted by the members of society, limiting in the process many other options for personal development outside of these stereotypes. But there are more things we want to tell you.
Characteristics that define gender stereotypes:
Gender Stereotypes have defining characteristics that alert us in advance to the problems they entail.
- They are shared by many people.
- They are unaware.
- They attribute different traits, attitudes, or behaviors for each gender.
Most people unconsciously determine the role that men and women should play. Being an unconscious attitude, it will hardly be corrected, since you can only combat what you are aware of. Being shared by many people, stereotypes gain strength and credibility, as if it were irrefutable proof.
Classification of gender stereotypes:
Any stereotype is, by definition, irrational and dangerous and could, therefore, be labeled negative. Considering this, we can still classify stereotypes as positive, negative, or neutral:
- Positive stereotypes: They would be those that suppose positive characteristics in a certain gender, such as: “girls are better”.
- Negative stereotypes: They would be those stereotypes that attribute to gender characteristics whose value is negative. For example: “girls are not good at sports”.
- Neutral stereotypes: They would be those that suppose characteristics without any value judgment, neither positive nor negative; for example: “Americans are blond”.
Any stereotype, regardless of its characteristics, is irrational and can have serious negative consequences for those affected. Gender stereotypes define the role of a person based on their sex and, with this, they are establishing the goals and social expectations of both men and women.
In this way, different evolution and development are marked from childhood, which gives rise to situations of inequality and discrimination.
In this process, it does not matter if it is a positive, negative, or neutral stereotype, because it will also shape the future attitudes of both genders.
The girls will be good, affectionate, concerned about household chores, little sportsmen… and instead, the children will be active, mischievous, sportsmen, disorderly...
These characteristics will be attributed to them with such great reliability that it will leave no doubt. So, reliable are the stereotypes that they will be assumed with amazing passivity by both genders from the earliest childhood. And the one who is an act of bravery does not allow himself to be caught by gender stereotypes will be crossed out and labeled by others.
Most common gender stereotypes:
Among the most common stereotypes assigned to each of the genres are:
Male gender stereotypes:
- Emotional stability
- Objectivity and rationality
- Dominant character
- Intellectual and sports skills
- The tendency to risk and adventure
On the other hand, the most commonly used female stereotypes would be:
- Emotional instability
- Lack of control over themselves and their emotional states
- Submission, dependency, weakness