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Women and Gender Roles (Opinion Article)

Updated on May 1, 2019

Women and how they have been impacted by gender roles has been a very big part of my life and I relate to it specifically. Women everywhere are being oppressed by the gender roles that society has forced upon us. Women are told what to do, say, wear, buy, and even think. This is especially dangerous to young girls. Children are incredibly impressionable and are being taught at a young age to conform to society, and that is unacceptable. Girls are taught to love pink, and play with dolls, and be a princess, and boys are taught to be messy, play in the dirt, and be a tough guy. Not only should we not limit children to these roles, but we should not condemn them for wanting to be something else.

Even as adults, women are pressured to be a certain way. Women are expected to be mild-mannered, sweet, passive, and gentle. However, the reality is, most women are not this way. Women are strong, powerful, and influential. The simplest thing that society needs to understand is that women don’t need to just fit into one category. Women can be kind, strict, loving, impressive, and intense, all at the same time. Society needs to stop placing labels on women and stop categorizing them based on their first impression. People are not just one thing, or one personality or idea. We are made up of many different characteristics that make us who we are, and gender roles and stereotypes get in the way of the success that we aim for. In an online article, Joy Nash states that “These stereotypes can be harmful because they motivate people to condemn and oppress those who do not fit the traditional gender roles.” Societal standards need to change in order to be accepting of everyone and allow equal opportunities for all to live life to the fullest.

Throughout literature there have been many stories, fictional or otherwise, that discuss oppression of women by their husbands. Stories of being forced to stay at home and cook and clean, and abusive husbands. While this is a very real problem, especially abuse, it needs to be understood that this is not always the case and is in fact a lesser occurrence. Much of society has a problem with the not-so-traditional feminist values in this age of political prominence. What is not understood by society is that not all men are terrible, cruel, heartless predators, and not all women are kind, gentle, helpless victims. There are a lot of gender roles and stereotypes for both men and women. According to, gender roles “perpetuate unhealthy behaviors for both women and men.” However, throughout history, women have struggled to gain the same rights as men and have always been viewed as lesser people. And while women’s rights have greatly improved in the 21st century, many believe that women are still not equal to men.

In order for both women and men alike to be free from the stereotypes and roles placed upon us so long ago, we need to speak up and speak out. Those who never stand up for what they believe in will always be put down. While making a statement may seem like it will only make things worse, over time, society will realize the mistakes made and we will start to see change in the world. Women are strong, and kind, and loving, and powerful. Men are tough, and sensitive, and understanding, and intelligent. Women should not be condemned for wanting to be empowered, and men should not be mocked for showing emotion. In the political age of the world, equality is becoming a more popular subject in a wide variety of forms. Gender equality, racial equality, equality in the LGBTQ+ community, and so much more. People everywhere are making a stand for what they believe in. And the more people that speak out against incriminating gender roles, the easier it will be for society to change for the better.

© 2019 Chloe Petersen


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