- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships
10 Types of Gender Stereotypes in Western Culture
Gender Role #1
Women Belong in the Kitchen
The idea is that women are supposed to do all of the cooking and cleaning in the household.
Luckily it's one of many outdated stereotypes that continues to dwindle.
There are a lot of men who love to cook at home, and there are plenty of women who also perform these tasks but not because they have to.
In theory 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 shouldn't be a gender role and all those idiotic comments about how women are supposed to stay in the kitchen and make sandwiches are ridiculous.
Whoever believes this, men or women, should be ashamed of themselves.
Gender Role #2
Men Have to Be Masculine
Gender roles dictate that men 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 different ways. They don't have to be physically strong or lack empathy.
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 bulky "Hulk" like figure.
Mental toughness is more important than physical strength because you need to know how to handle difficult situations that 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The macho man stereotype is completely old fashioned, outdated, and should no longer be considered the definition of a real man.
Gender Role #3
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 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 possess top-rated physicality.
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 they don't know the sport or aren't physically capable.
A lot of those thoughts apply to women who perform in male oriented jobs and careers as well.
Gender Role #4
Men Are Often Messy & Lazy
If you ask someone which gender is 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 is 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.
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 lazy factor for men used to apply to things like taking care of the children or housework, which was seen as women's work.
It's what was used to define gender roles back in the 1950s and earlier, but remnants of those old-school thoughts are alive today.
Gender Role #5
Women Must Care for the Children
This role 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 taking care of their kids and become stay at home dads while their spouse works outside the home.
Unfortunately that 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 do and can't take care of the children due to financial reasons.
Gender Role #6
Only Men Work Blue Collar Jobs
This stereotype will take 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 refer to the "dirty jobs" like construction, being a mechanic, plumber, and other hands-on physical labor.
This notion of physical labor could be tied to 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 despite not being as biologically strong to perform certain tasks, but more and more of those tasks are becoming automated.
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 haven't learned a trade because they don't need to anymore.
Gender Role #7
Women Are Terrible in STEM Fields
Saying women can't perform in STEM fields is almost the same as saying women aren't 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 or engineers because there are more of them in the field and they don't have to deal with things like workplace harassment, but that's finally beginning to change.
More women are attending colleges and graduating than men, which means women will have more opportunities to enter these fields.
It's been proven that women are just as intelligent and capable of grasping math and science concepts as men are and that a lack of interest isn't the problem.
Tech studies have shown that many young girls were interested in STEM fields but that gender negativity, a lack of role models, and self-doubt led them to other careers.
Hopefully we'll see a lot more diversity in the coming years because there's so much more innovation to be had.
Gender Role #8
Men Love Sports
One of the oldest stereotypes in the book is that men love sports/cars 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 occurs for men who aren't interested or know how to play any sports.
Such negativity usually comes from other men, especially those who love sports. They may look at you funny if you don't know anything about football or basketball or even ostracize/insult you because of it.
Not every male watches ESPN 24/7 and your 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.
Gender Role #9
Men Are Sexually Active
It's the most common male stereotypes out there, and it's still frequently talked about.
It's the 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 true biologically, but the problem is that it goes too far. Men aren't always thinking about sex and most men are monogamous.
The biological norms have shifted over thousands of years as society transformed how we think and function.
So although men are more prone to sexual ideals versus women, there are a lot more similarities than you think.
Women do have sexual thoughts and feeling, and there are a lot of women who are becoming more sexually active without succumbing to the promiscuous stereotype.
A changing society has allowed repressed women to finally let go and not afraid to be free.
The idea that women weren't allowed to think in those ways and that only men were has changed dramatically in western cultures, and women finally don't have to feel ashamed to express themselves sexually.
Gender Role #10
Women Should Be Submissive
This stereotype, which is largely extinct in western cultures is that women are supposed to be seen, 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, and sadly there are still places where women are expected to behave that way.
This gender role is a stable of many eastern cultures or even old fashioned couples. The reason why this role exists may be far more disturbing than we think because it's often linked to domestic violence.
In some cultures, women who took action and spoke out led to horrifying consequences such as domestic abuse, public shaming/lashing, and violence.
Domestic violence itself is frequently viewed as being invisible because people don't talk about it very much unless it's relevant.
When a celebrity is guilty of domestic abuse then everybody pays attention, but if they're not, then people don't seem to care.
This stereotype is one of the most damaging to women and needs to change because of the horror that surrounds it.