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10 Types of Gender Stereotypes in Western Culture

Updated on August 7, 2017
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a 5+ year YouTube researcher who spends hours researching, analyzing, and uncovering YouTube trends, challenges, and media.

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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Luckily it's one of many outdated stereotypes that continues to dwindle.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The macho man stereotype is completely old fashioned, outdated, and should no longer be considered the definition of a real man.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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Source

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

Source

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.

Have You Ever Been Stereotyped?

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    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 2 years 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.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years 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
      Author

      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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      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.

    • 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.

    • profile image

      riyasna 2 years ago

      ☺☺ so sweet.....

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      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.

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      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 all.as 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
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      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.

    • 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
      Author

      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.

    • 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
      Author

      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.

    • 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
      Author

      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.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      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
      Author

      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.

    • 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

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      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???

    • 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 housework...so...

    • 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 housework...so...

    • 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

      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.