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10 Sex Stereotypes and Gender Roles

Updated on August 10, 2016
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1. The "Macho" Man

We begin with the concept that men are supposed to be macho and strong. Gender roles dictate they are supposed to be the hunters, the protectors, and the defenders of women and children. They can't show any emotion besides anger because it makes them weak.

This was fine and dandy during the stone age, but that's no longer the case. Men and women should be strong but in a different way. They don't have to be physically strong and emotionless to be male.

In fact, men who are able to feel and show off their sensitive side are far better people than those that can't. It makes them human and it's okay for them to cry and not be a huge hulk like figure who can bench 400 lbs.

Mental toughness is more important than physical strength and mental toughness is knowing how to handle difficult situations while being able to convey a wide set of emotions. The macho man stereotype is completely old fashioned, outdated, and should no longer be considered the definition of a real man.

2. Women Can't Play Sports

On the opposite side of the coin, there are preconceived notions with women and how strong and tough they are supposed to be. Women were supposed to be the caretakers, the givers, and the weaker gender who could never do things like athletics.

Except this is the 21st century and such ideals are completely ridiculous. In today's world, we have emerging female athletes everyday who are proving how strong they really are. We even have emerging MMA (mixed martial arts) stars like Ronda Rousey who are challenging those stereotypes head on.

There's no such thing as being called the weaker gender because again it's not all about physical strength. We know women can be very strong physically, but mentally they are some of the toughest around. They can even deal with things that men may not be able to handle as well.

In sports you don't have to be the most physically gifted because it all comes down to fundamentals. If you know how to play a sport correctly, then you don't have to athletically gifted in order to play it. Women have proven themselves to be fundamentally sound and capable of playing any physical competition.

Unfortunately many men still view female athletics as a joke and believe women shouldn't get involved because either they don't know the sport or aren't physically capable of performing it. A lot of those same thoughts apply to women who do stereotypical male oriented jobs/careers.

3. The Lazy, Messy Male

If you ask someone whose usually the messier of the two, then I bet most will say that men are. Males are still portrayed as being dirty or messy while women are seen as being clean and organized.

However, many times the opposite can reign true. There are plenty of instances where females are far more messy or lazy than men are, and it depends on the individual rather than the gender. Some people are very clean and organized and some aren't.

There are plenty of men who enjoy cleanliness and being organized. They like having a clean home, car, and surroundings while their significant other may not care as much. The opposite is true, but it's not because their male.

The lazy factor used to apply to things like taking care of the children or housework which used to be seen as women's work. It's what was used to define gender roles back in the 1950s and earlier, but that has changed dramatically.


4. Women Should Take Care of the Children

This stereotype defines women as caretakers of either their children or other children. They were supposed to be the ones responsible for their kids while the husband worked.

Although there are plenty of instances where this continues to be the case, there are also many cases where the opposite occurs. More men than ever are starting to take care of the kids and be stay at home dads while their spouse works outside the home.

Unfortunately that almost ties in with the lazy male stereotype because society still believes men should be the big earners and women should watch the children if they have to. It's a hypocritical way of thinking when stay at home moms are considered to be hard workers while stay at home dads are viewed as lazy because they don't technically work.

Everything depends on the situation and sometimes women earn a lot more than their spouses would and can't take care of the children.

5. Men Perform Blue Collar Jobs

This stereotype will take a long time to diminish because the majority of workers in these professions are males, but that doesn't mean men have to perform these jobs.

Blue collar jobs can also refer to the "dirty jobs" like construction, being a mechanic, electrician, and other hands on physical labor. This notion of performing hard labor can also be tied into the macho man stereotype where men are supposed to do those kinds of jobs.

Be mindful that there are more and more women who are doing these jobs as well, but they may not be biologically as strong enough to perform certain tasks. That's what it may come down to rather than females not knowing how to do certain tasks.

On the other side of the coin, men don't have to do physical jobs and can be artists, writers, teachers, and nurses. They shouldn't have to feel bad if they aren't mechanics or hands-on workers because they don't have to be anymore.

6. Women are Bad at Math and Science

It's almost the same as saying women aren't quite as smart as men. The problem with this stereotype isn't that women are incapable of being scientists and mathematicians, but that men still dominate these fields.

Men are more likely to be scientists than women because there are more of them in the field, but that is continuing to change. More and more women are attending and outnumbering men when it comes to getting a college education, which means more women will be interested to pursuing a career in math or science.

It will take a while to change the dynamics, but it will happen eventually as trends continue to favor women in education. They are just as intelligent and capable of grasping math and science related concepts as men are, and many are becoming even more intelligent than some men in these fields.


7. Men Love Sports

It's one of the oldest stereotypes in the books where men love things like sports while women love to shop and gossip.

Men don't have to like sports and women may love them. It's okay to not like watching or playing physical competitions and other sporting events regardless of your gender. However, there's a level of scrutiny that still occurs for men who aren't interested or know how to play any sports.

These levels of scrutiny usually come from other men, especially those who love sports. They may look at you funny if you don't know anything about football or basketball because they assume you should.

Not every male watches ESPN 24/7 and your other male comrades have to get that through their heads. There is more to life than discussing sporting events, and the same applies to women. Women don't have to talk about clothes or makeup; they can discuss their favorite sports teams and play sports without it being an issue.

8. Women Are Supposed to Cook and Clean

Along with the idea that women are supposed to take care of kids is that they're supposed to do all of the cooking and cleaning in the household.

It's one of many outdated stereotypes that is continuing to dwindle. In a partnership, the responsibilities regarding cooking and cleaning should be divided equally.

There are a lot of men who love to cook and whom do most of the cooking at home. There are women who also perform these tasks, but not because they have to based on gender. Honestly everyone should learn how to do those things because it's important to know how to be able to keep a clean home and cook your own meals.

This is no longer a gender issue and all of these idiotic comments about how women are supposed to stay in the kitchen and make sandwiches are ridiculous and make the men who say them look like morons.


9. The Sexually Active Male

It may be one of the most common male stereotypes out there, and it's still frequently talked about. It's the whole idea that men are always sexually active, they have numerous partners, and that they are constantly thinking about sex.

There are some aspects that may be proven true biologically, but the problem is that it goes too far. Men aren't always thinking about sex and many men are monogamous. The biological norms have shifted over hundreds of years as society continued to transform people.

So although men are still far more prone to think and behave more sexually compared to women, the actual numbers are far different than what people believe. On the other hand, women also have plenty of sexual thoughts and ideals. There are a lot of women who are more sexually active and those numbers are increasing.

A changing society has allowed previously repressed women to finally let go and not be afraid to be promiscuous. The entire idea that women weren't allowed to think in those ways and that only men were has changed dramatically in first world countries.

As negative connotation go away, more and more women won't feel ashamed to express themselves sexually.

10. The Submissive Female

This stereotype, which is now largely seen as outdated is the female who is supposed to be seen and not heard.

The submissive female was supposed to obey her male counterparts and do what she's told. She wasn't allowed to speak out or go against her husband. There are still some places where women are expected to behave in such as way.

This remains the norm in many countries around the globe as well as old fashioned couples whom go by this notion. The reasons why this exists are far more disturbing than we think, and it's one of the reasons domestic violence exists.

Unfortunately the consequences of women taking action and speaking out has led to horrifying cases of domestic abuse and violence. The ideas of domestic violence is often viewed as being seen and not heard because people don't talk about it very much unless it's relevant.

When a celebrity or someone well known is guilty of domestic abuse, everybody pays attention, but if they're not then people don't seem to care. This stereotype is one of the most damaging and needs to change because of the horrors that surround it.

Have You Ever Been Stereotyped?

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub Chris and I agree with every point you make. The roles of men and women have been stereotyped for too long and things have changed dramatically including gender roles, but some people still have outdated ideas. Voted up and shared.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      sadly, Chris I am as Jodah stated a person with outdated ideas... but it doesn't take away from what you believe in...

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Sorry Frank, some of mine are too. I still stand up on a bus, and open doors for women etc.....but I often cook and do the

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Sorry Frank, some of mine are too. I still stand up on a bus, and open doors for women etc.....but I often cook and do the

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Interesting article. These stereotypes are still alive but not so much in the circles I move around in. I actively have violated every one as a married man except the lazy, messy male. Now alone, I continue to support setting aside ignorant ideas. And what is this thing you call sex???

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Chris; all valid points...and to think I burned my bras in the late 70s to get some equality and remove some stereotypes - now there's another one for you. Or that we 60s generation were all just druggies - well, okay in my case, that one is correct. Sorry for the tongue in cheek with this, but so many stereotypes become a parody, yet they continue to create biases. I've changed a tire and a diaper. I've been the bread winner and baker. I think if we can, we do, when we can't we ask for help and are just grateful there's someone - male or female to fill the void. Great article. ~Marilyn

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      You fought and we still fight but some things are difficult to change. Anyone who goes against the norm is a hero in my book so good work. I was also going to include the wages argument and how it could take decades before true equality exists. Thanks for the read and throwing stereotypes out the window.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I'm glad, keep tearing away at these stereotypes as they should be spat on. Lol remind me to google about it. Thanks for the read.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's good. Courtesy still goes a long way though I've had cases where women were annoyed when doors were opened for them. I don't get it. We should all do a little of each, there are no longer set objectives for each gender.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh NO!! I don't want to be a MAN! I'm a Boomer. I must remain a "Princess" who is catered to, pampered, spoken to in a whisper, treated like a porcelain doll who may break at any moment. I detest sweating and manual labor.....women shouldn't work at all, but stay at home and care for her hubby and many babies.....(with hired help of course)........

      And BTW Chris, any of my good friends here who may read this, might tell you I just fed you more BULL than you'll hear in a lifetime...?

      Just ignore them.

      This is a fabulous hub!......UP++++

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      You leave some of the most entertaining feedback I've seen thus far. I still hear plenty of that rubbish from family and friends.

      My family back in Poland is extremely old fashioned and they would look at me like I have three heads if I shared this article with them along with several others.

      Thank you for the feedback.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 2 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your hub. Some people think the same way as you describe in your hub. Thank you for writing this article. I like the picture of lust. The body builder looks great. I can only imagine how much work out . He did to look build. I believe both men. The body builder and lust have a lot of fun. One building it, and the other doing a lot of thinking. You did an excellent job on your hub. Than you for writing this article.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you I'm glad you enjoyed my take on the subject. I'm always skeptical of body builders because I think many use supplements either legal or illegal to achieve such growth. If it's all done through hard work then great for them, but I'm a cynic.

    • itsallrelative profile image

      itsallrelative 2 years ago from Outside Dallas

      I have been a male legal assistant for more than 30 years. There are more and more men in the field now, but we are still a huge minority. I have for years been the only male or one of just 2 at my firm for years and years. I have to admit I rather like it. It is a bit tough though being a man in a traditionally female job (as it certainly is in the opposite direction, and worse I am sure) for one thing I have no true peer group at work. Sure they are my peers - by definition even - but it is just not the same. I can't just ask one out to lunch without being very careful. I just socialize when there are groups involved. (I accidentally types "gropes" instead of groups - and that certainly changes the meaning) But I think it is hard to break into a traditionally male or female position. Some resistance, fear, lack of peers, and it shapes how people thing about you. I can not tell you how many people have found out what I do and then - being sly (not!) - asked if I was married....

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's really fascinating. I often hear the opposite about minority females in a male dominated profession, but it absolutely works the other way around. You really do have to be careful especially in today's politically correct world. The last thing I would want is for someone to take something I said and turn it around on me. People also look at you funny sometimes if you tell them you're a male nurse or pre-school and kindergarten male teacher. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      riyasna 2 years ago

      I agree with some but not with all, when we talk about skills, physical needs, mind power and etc.they are such common thing to both man and women.women can exceed in anything she capable of , But , please don't underestimate things like taking care of children, cooking, or house hold work, why people like you just look on such work in a horrible way, do you know it's a great job more than women give birth to a child, as she feed to her baby , she knows everything thing about her baby she loves to look after it.and some one needs to do this.if the most suitable one leave her great job of social responsibility, no love , no families, no good outputs.both men and women should value their family responsiblities than the stereo. ..

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I'm not underestimating things like caring for children, cooking, and house work. They are essential when it comes to functioning in a family unit. I want things to be equal in both management and value, and women who take care of children are to be commended because it's not an easy task. It's not horrible because there's a lot of fulfillment to taking care of someone because of the responsibility and teaching involved. Both parties should experience what that feels like in a couple-marital relationship if children are included in that plan.

    • profile image

      riyasna 2 years ago

      ☺☺ so sweet.....

    • nikhilsukumar profile image

      Nikhil Sukumaran 2 years ago from Bangalore

      Great hub, this is how a hub should sound - real!

      I wish I could write a hub like this.

      You are genuine in your writing.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you very much. People shouldn't write if they don't mean what they say. And I wish I had the high quality skills of some of the writers on here.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub Chris. Very well thought out and well written. Voted up for useful!

    • Top Indian cinema profile image

      @ Bollywood... 2 years ago from Ahmedabad

      Great writing with different views. We need more people like you who can think about the society in a fresh manner. Keep it up.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you very much it's always nice to get positive feedback. Wishing you a great day and good luck to you.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 24 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting hub. The old beliefs of men to be superior to women has long gone. Even if some still adhere to those attitudes, they should give way to more realistic and decent thoughts that women are as equal as men and both should value and respect each other. Thanks for sharing these good thoughts. Voted up.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 24 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you for the read. They'll continue to give way gradually though it's highly dependent on the location. Those with stronger religious ties will take a lot longer to vanquish these stereotypes. Many first world countries are well on their way already, and one day we'll laugh at some of these ridiculous notions.

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