The roles, stereotypes, and expectations of men and women in intimate relationships. What were some of these roles and stereotypes?
In relationships, we talked about the everlasting traditional stereotype of men being the bread-winners in relationships, having to take on the role of dominance as a protector. On the flip side, the woman isa housewife ideal – someone who stays home and whos every duty is to abide by every need of their partner. They act like the damsel in distress and aren’t meant to speak out or up-end the man.
To what extent are gender roles and stereotypes prevalent in your life? Gender bias? Privilege?
There are many ways gender ideals play a role in all our lives, whether covalent or obvious. The narrow it down before I express some ideas, these are prevalent in areas such as:
My family:I have a twin brother, so many things become explicitly more prevalent to me consideringour being the same age – such as how our different genders impact us. For example, my parents are clearly more worried for my safety, and sometimes it seems unfair or frustrating – such as when we go overseas, I’m never allowed out on my own yet my brother can go wherever he wants whenever. Furthermore, my mom will comment on things she would never care to mention about my brother, such as how I dress, how late I’m out, the guys I see and talk to, etc. However, in the end, I also understand my mom can and does trust both my brother and myself very highly, but when it comes to having a daughter and simply being a girl – it is the rest of the world and people around you/her that you can’t trust. And even though it seems unfair to put on so many more boundaries, rules, and arguments – it is only given our society today that pushes these into a necessity.
My School:In my school, one of the ways gender stereotypes become most recognizable is given subject choices. For example, giving into these stereotypes: Compsci, DT and physics are boy’s subjects. However, fine art, biology, literature, dance and girl’s subjects. For one gender to take the subject of the other’s stereotype is often laughed about or judged, or people respond with shock or are impressed. This is not necessarily in a bad way, and many people don’t intend to give off this impression – but their reaction always shows the stereotypes built into them are present. This can be demotivating or frustrating at times. For example, my compsci class has 9 boys and 2 girls, and when I tell people I do compsci, they ask me if its weird being in a boy’s subject, or that they are impressed thinking many girls didn’t do it, or pester me to justify why I chose it…
Society: So much about society in this aspect frustrates me that I won’t even attempt to write all or explain all of it. Primarily, I want to discuss safety and dressing. When a woman goes out dressed up, completely put together for a night out – people comment that she’s trying too hard, trying to attract attention, who is she trying to impress? She’s a slut, a try-hard, attention-seeking, air-headed, obsessed with herself and her looks, goes out too much. When a woman goes out with no effort, sweatpants and no makeup, people comment she’s lazy, she needs to try harder, shes never going to get a man like looking like that, she’s a prude. Every level in-between, or no matter what you do or how you dress, you will always receive negative comments. I remember my mom told me this once, she told me whenever we go to the mall together, she notices that the Singaporean men (considering the conservative culture) look at me and stare in a way that makes her and me very uncomfortable… yet the Singaporean women will stare and look disgusted and turn up their noses. It is as if people will always pick out what they can and what they want to, and judge by appearance no matter what you wear – there’s always something to criticize when it comes to women.
Furthermore, I hate that in society, so many boys and men think it’s fine to constantly hit on Girls. I’m going to give an example of when I was in Greece last summer, mostly because I’m using this post as a field to complain now. I absolutely love adventure, and I refuse to stay home. This, of course, bothers my parents because when I’m overseas, I always want to be out. The first night at the dinner table, I told my parents I was going to go for a walk around the town. I was about 5 meters away when my brother came running up to me saying my mom said I had to come back because a group of teenage boys had started following me. The rest of the trip I wasn’t out alone. It became me constantly complaining day and night for someone to come with me, just so that I could walk around town and explore, but could only do it with someone supervising me – albeit my brother would run off whenever he wanted to wherever he wanted. Additionally, you would think this is because they were teenagers, that they will mature – but so many men I’ve met still disgust me with how they act towards women, and I’m scared for any girl in society who comes to think that it is okay or hasn’t learned to stand up for herself. Even the traditional stereotype that women are meant to give in to the needs of a man – that when a girl turns down a guy, she apologizes so much and tries to give excuses and enough reasons. Is this because she has learned that she should feel bad, or because she’s scared of how he will react otherwise? When a guy doesn’t go for a girl who likes him, no one cares – shes being desperate. If a girl doesn’t go for a guy who likes her, she’s a bitch – “give him a chance!” There are so many double standards like this in society between genders, so many hypocrisies and small things that have become so natural that we are used to them and believe them.
During our final activity last week, we were given a role and asked to step forward when answer questions about self-determination, education, safety, etc.
My role was as a closeted lesbian woman, and I ended much further back than many. This, to me, metaphorically tells us how people in society are told that if they work hard no matter where they start, they can reach greatness and succeed. However, this experiment showed that there are so many other factors at play into someone’s success. For example, simply because my gender was a female, I got many fewer opportunities in life and became of my sexuality, I was not accepted by many, I was judged by many and in many instances, it made life much more difficult for me. On the other ends of the spectrum, we saw how someone’s ethnicity played a role, how someone’s job, someone’s family background, someone’s relationship role…
List some personal examples of either experiencing or seeing gender bias or gender privilege.
- How girls and guys can dress
- Job and the work field, leadership roles
- Stereotypes on what their hobbies are. Therefore, parents sign their daughters up for ballet and sons up for boxing. Why are our OWN HOBBIES chosen for us at such a young age?
What can you do within your community to combat negative gender stereotypes or gender bias?
Raise your children right. Teach them what’s right. Give them choices. Empower both genders. Stop stereotyping. Encourage individuals to act freely.