By definition, gender stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, differences, and roles of individuals and/or groups. Stereotypes can be positive or negative. However, research shows that they rarely communicate accurate information about the other gender and always involved gender role stereotyping. Gender role stereotyping occurs when a person is expected to enact a series of norms or behaviors based upon their sex. Gender is a combination of social construction, and other social categories such as race, ethnicity, class, religion, and language etc. (Argosy University, 2015).
Some of the gender stereotyping can be but not limited; in order to be seen as normal, a woman’s role is to marry and have children. She is also expected to put her family's welfare before her own; be loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, and sympathetic; and at all time to be slim, sexy, and beautiful (Argosy University, 2015). The male stereotypic role is to be the financial provider, to be assertive, competitive, independent, courageous, and career‐focused; hold his emotions in check; and always initiate sex. These sorts of stereotypes can prove harmful; they can stifle individual expression and creativity, as well as hinder personal and professional growth based on various research results (Argosy University, 2015).
Science’s Role in Gender Stereotypes
The weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that despite the biological and brain structure differences and other types of differences that exist between men and women, social observation remains the number one source to learn gender stereotypes. In fact, according to research it is believed that children learn gender stereotypes from adults. As with gender roles, socializing agents—parents, teachers, peers, religious leaders, and the media—pass along gender stereotypes from one generation to the next, which may cause serious imbalance between the two genders and the way they are perceived (Linda C. and Wellesley College, 2001).
Example of stereotypes that might cause serious damage in a child’s perception of gender can be; a boy who’s crying and his father tells him to stop crying and behave like a man, will learn to hold his emotion even when he’s in serious emotional pain. Or a girl who’s being thought that men are stronger than women. She will learn to behave inferiorly whenever she’s around men. These two examples above show the long term negative impact stereotypes of gender may have on both genders and the way they perceive themselves and others (Claudia A. and Huffington Post, 2015).
Some of the stereotypes have lessened over the years are; men are superior women, men are stronger than women, house works are designed for women, men are the ultimate providers, etc. to name a few, there are a lot more stereotypes that have lessened over the years. As a result, lessen the tension between the two genders. This also shows how both time and society have evolved. However, one must understand, such a change didn’t come along without hard work and sacrifices of others for gender equality (Claudia A. and Huffington Post, 2015).
Argosy University (2015). Gender Psychological Perspective. Hormones and Chromosomes. Data Retrieved on 04/03/2015, from: https://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/0558217257/pages/48386049?return=/books/0558217257/outline/6
Claudia A. and Huffington Post (2015). Gender Stereotypes. Data Retrieved on 04/03/2015, from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/gender-stereotypes/
Linda C. and Wellesley College (2001). Gender and Social Influence. Data Retrieved on 04/03/2015, from: http://academics.wellesley.edu/Psychology/Psych/Faculty/Carli/GenderAndSocialInfluence.pdf