Simply put, gender stereotypes are generalizations about the roles of each gender. Gender roles are generally neither positive nor negative; they are simply inaccurate generalizations of the male and female attributes. Since each person has individual desires, thoughts, and feelings, regardless of their gender, these stereotypes are incredibly simplistic and do not at all describe the attributes of every person of each gender.
While most people realize that stereotypes are untrue, many still make assumptions based on gender. There are many stereotypes we may all be guilty of, such as assuming that all women want to marry and have children, or that all men love sports. The following is a list of some of the most common gender stereotypes as they pertain to either men or women. Remember that these are stereotypes because they claim to apply to all men or women.
Female Gender Stereotypes
Gender stereotypes begin the second a baby’s gender is found out. As soon as we find out it’s a girl, we immediately begin decorating a pink nursery filled with soft décor and butterflies and flowers. We assume that our daughter will be very “girly” and fill her closet with frilly dresses and her toy box with tea sets and dolls. What this is essentially doing, even though many parents don’t realize it, is setting our child up to be the “perfect lady,” and teaching her how to be the stereotypical woman. We are teaching her that girls are supposed to wear dresses, serve food, and take care of babies; the biggest and most common stereotype put on women.
Have you ever watched a little girl playing house? Even as young as five or six, she is well aware that she is supposed to stay home with the baby while the husband goes to work, and she has dinner ready when he gets home. Here is another stereotype; women stay at home while men go to work. While there are a million gender stereotypes about females, these are definitely the biggest, and the most debated by feminists of today. Some other stereotypes include:
Women are supposed to have “clean jobs” such as secretaries, teachers, and librarians
Women are nurses, not doctors
Women are not as strong as men
Women are supposed to make less money than men
The best women are stay at home moms
Women don’t need to go to college
Women don’t play sports
Women are not politicians
Women are quieter than men and not meant to speak out
Women are supposed to be submissive and do as they are told
Women are supposed to cook and do housework
Women are responsible for raising children
Women do not have technical skills and are not good at “hands on” projects such as car repairs
Women are meant to be the damsel in distress; never the hero
Women are supposed to look pretty and be looked at
Women love to sing and dance
Women do not play video games
Women are flirts
Women are never in charge
Male Gender Stereotypes
Stereotyping is no different when it’s found out that a boy is on the way. The nursery is decked out in blue, his closet is filled with tiny jeans, polo shirts, and boots, and the theme is usually something like jungle animals or dinosaurs; something tough. Boys’ toys consist of trucks, dinosaurs, action figures, and video games. From the beginning boys are taught to be tough, to be protective, and to defend themselves. Boys are taught that daddy’s go to work and mommy’s stay at home; from their point of view, boys have fun and girls do all the work.
Are you surprised to hear that most parents admit that they do not teach their sons how to do chores such as washing dishes or folding laundry? Instead, they teach them to take out the trash and mow the lawn; from the get-go boys are made to think that certain household chores are “women’s work.” This is a major stereotype, but the majority of American households today would prove this to be true. Men are supposed to do the dirty jobs and anything that requires muscle, they are also supposed to go to work and provide for the family. Little boys see this and the stereotype continues.
Other gender stereotypes that inaccurately try to describe all men are:
All men enjoy working on cars
Men are not nurses, they are doctors
Men do “dirty jobs” such as construction and mechanics; they are not secretaries, teachers, or cosmetologists
Men do not do housework and they are not responsible for taking care of children
Men play video games
Men play sports
Men enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking
Men are in charge; they are always at the top
As husbands, men tell their wives what to do
Men are lazy and/or messy
Men are good at math
It is always men who work in science, engineering, and other technical fields
Men do not cook, sew, or do crafts
Can you see how many of these actually are true of many men or women that you know? They may even be true for you personally, but they do not apply to every single man or woman alive. That is what makes them stereotypes; the fact that these things are considered, “the norm” and expected of every male or female. Each person is an individual and it is perfectly normal for a woman to run her own business while a man stays home with the kids. On the other hand it is also perfectly acceptable for a man to be a nurse or hate sports, or enjoy cooking.
Men and women are individuals; they are more than just male or female. Our gender is only part of who we are; it does not define us as people.
Brilliant article, I think stereotypes are wrong. My biggest annoyance is when men think that if women are doing sport they will be rubbish, so many times this has happened to me. It is drummed into people as children and it stupid and unfair on anyone.
This article is so true it's frightening. Another stereotype of girlswomen is that we are shallow and only care about the world as it pertains to us. For example, women, in recent years, have been becoming more stereotyped to become obsessed with shopping, makeup, and shoes. While the majority of women do like these things every now and then, we're on dependent on these objects.
I was watching the news the other day, and I noticed the man was saying all the real news while the woman on the set just stood there agreeing with everything he said. And then I realized that all women on the show were wearing very provocative clothing. And if they didn't look like that, they would get fired, while the managers just so happen to be very lenient with the men. Coincidence much?
This is an awesome article. GO FEMINISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sick and tired of people telling me how I should behave due to my gender, and what my future goals should be. I'd rather eat a poisonous frog's venom than get married and have children. I want to travel to the most rural African countries and write about the issues to try and help them. I guess that that is qualified as a "dirty job". Also, I DON'T FLIRT, because most guys are awful, sardonic, sexist jerks that view women as objects. As for the "women are meant to be seen, not heard." SCREW THAT!!!!!!!!!! I am an opinionated person, and I LOUDLY, share my opinion so that everyone within a ten block radius can hear. I HATE being rescued, and am able to DO THINGS ON MY OWN, thank you very much.
“Most guys are awful, sardonic, sexist jerks that view women as objects”
I don’t understand, wasn’t this article about putting an end to gender stereotypes? That statement is a HUGE one. I understand you have a passion for feminism and being an independent women, but lobbing stereotypes isn’t a way to dispel existing ones.
You have an amazing point. “Lacey”, I felt targeted men. I am a man. I don’t view women as objects. I view them as people. I am not sexist at all and I felt Lacey tried to imply I was. I know she said “most guys”, but that is still extremely stereotypical. I do not think I am awful or sardonic. I do not mock and I am not cynical. Hannah, your comment was well worded and I agree with your point. Lobbing stereotypes against another is not the way to dispel stereotypes.
The quality of this article was exceptional. If you actually think about all these stereotypes, we are very much pushing children to learn that this is the expectation what everyone is. The one fact that I can relate with the most is that many American parents, once they learn the gender, always decorate the nursery room either girly and cute or boyish and strong. For most new parents it's an immediate action to stereotypically change the room. I am a girl, yet my parents had a misfunction with my gender, they had a boy baby shower and when I was born they did not have enough money to buy girly clothes. So until I was two years old I was not called a girl in public, most of the time I got confused at family parties. About only one-third of my family is girls, I grew up living with boys and boy things. I am the complete opposite of the "lady-like" stereotype, I hate pink, I'm loud, I can't do chores and I can't do things that take time without getting frustrated. My brothers are also the complete opposite of the "macho-man" stereotype, they love pink and purple, they are quiet, they learned chores at five and they do whatever they will to help other people. We should stop discriminating and being sexist because this era is now on the lead of doing something that I call "What makes you happy should not be discriminated by anyone, it is your right".
The general affiliation for women on the political spectrum is Liberal, which I have found to be false at a very extreme level. Most females are tough in spirit, and look at themselves as superior (which is true) but there are certain things (small things) that show women to be conservative, as there are small certain things that show men to be liberated (nerdiness, laziness, peacefulness etc.). Most women are not soft; they are hard, gray-spirited Republicans who look to America in a positive manner, while men think logically and don't always think that freedom or safety are necessary for survival, and will increase the evolution of society as a whole. Women look to God, while men see the answer in nature and find Christianity as a psychological brainwashing tool instead of an almighty power. Men, while dominant and self-visionary, are actually affected by the way they were taught as kids and the things they were given. Girls wish to serve the poor and depressed because the mental conditions have affected them in their early lives. Men and women's brains are built differently in certain regions of the upper hemisphere. Men and women's brains are built and function based on education, rather than biological genetics. Genes cause the brain to grow, but education guides genes into different parts of the human brain. Certain parts of the brain are not affected, and this is where men and women's relationship seeks in.
Just wanna say, about the stereotype that guys are good at math, I'm in 8th grade, and in my geometry class, there are only 4 guys and there are more than 5 blonde girls. Also, there are only 2 black people, including me and we are both girls.
I don't understand this hate against stereotypes. You don't HAVE to follow them, they're just general guidelines. Also, some of the ones you mentioned are ridiculous.
Men don't like cooking is a stereotype? Among my generation of millenials, most people don't even know how to cook and have little interest in preparing anything more difficult than what comes from a box or can.
And women like to play video games and play in the mud? That's not something I see happening often at all. And it's not because of the social roles they've been "brainwashed" into occupying.
This was helpful but didn't really give any information that was unknown. I expected something more so referring to transgendered people, bigendered people, agendered people, etc. I will go back to this source though because it will help with an introduction to my actual research report.
I agree with most of this, except when someone talks about swimmers or tennis players, I think of women and not men. But when I think of rugby, football or any other sport, I think of men! Thank you for this tho, it really helped with some media homework I had to do. =)
Really Great! I knew much of this and was quite aware but the way you layed it out was amazing and made your message clear and powerful. It helped me to write a poem about societal gender role expectations.
I'm 13 and I'm currently studying to be an astrophysicist. I absolutely HATE it when people just give me that weird stare whenever I'm shopping in the boys' section. I don't want to wear pretty pink, or wear nice purple butterflies on dresses. Society is messed up!
I feel that these stereotypes are very untrue. I am a girl myself, and I play multiple sports. Not only that, but I am good at math — better than most of the boys. And I have often been scolded for speaking out in class.
Men and women are equal in value. But it's not a 'stereotype' to say ON AVERAGE a man is stronger than a woman, it's true. They're just built differently. Plus can a man breastfeed? No. I could carry on but I'm going to stop there and that's all you need to know.
This article should be re-written to not be anti-"stay at home mom" and anti-"raising children". The other messages would be more effectively shared without the back-handed negativity towards these choices.
Very Helpful and True. I'm a guy and I see that some of the male stereotypes are true, but not all. Also, it's unfortunate how true some of the female stereotypes are, and hopefully many people see this article so that people can get an idea of what's happening and put a stop to it!
After reading this article, I also realised that if ever a man walked over to an injured child, everyone would look at the man as if he was some paedophile! And I hate the stereotype that women do all of the cooking while some of the greatest chefs in the world are men; such as Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver. While there are wonderful female chefs such as Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart, I disapprove of the stereotype that women do all of the cooking and cleaning and looking after the children. Everyone looks at me and wonders why I hate make-up and dresses. I dislike shopping and cooking and cleaning. I don't know if I want children at my age but if I did, I wouldn't want to be the mother figure that everyone expects me to be. I always get weird looks when I want to go to the male section for clothes, since the clothes there are almost the only clothes that don't show off half of my chest and stomach or having my arse falling out of the shorts (sorry for the language, I'm just really passionate about this topic!) Everyone gave me a horrified look when I cut off my hair, almost shaved, that was originally down to my waist. Everyone said I looked like a boy, but that didn't bother me at all. sorry for my rant but I felt as though it was needed to be stated that even though these stereotypes are in play, there are more that aren't within the stereotypes than those who are in. (^.^)/
I thought this to have been spot on! I did not feel that there was anything left out at all to be honest but, I feel that it’s simple and easy the way stereotypes work because I am a guy myself and I personally would rather do "dirty jobs" but that’s just me though.
I also HATE stereotypes and I strongly agree that they should just stop. Here's 2 things about what I learned from the Internet: Tons of gamers. Half of the gamers are men, half are women. More than 87% of women hate pink, dolls, and are NOT girly.
Very useful article, thanks. I also think that gender stereotyping is wrong and this really highlights some of the key points. Hopefully this will help with my exam that I am taking soon, much appreciated!
This is great. It is true that many people expect these things out of people because of our gender. I am a boy and even though being messy and having a dirty job is a stereotype personally hating filth. Also just because someone is a girl doesn't mean they can't be the one who hoes out and make money. All stereotypes do is making expectations out of people because of certain factors in their life and if they don't follow them they might be judged.
Also some feminist’s say they are protesting for equal rights for both men and women they are actually protesting for women to be superior over men. More people might help their cause if they support equal rights for all men and women instead of women superiority.
Hi Holly, I am in the middle of researching on gender stereotypes and then I found your article here. I have read your article and it is really good example of the definition on gender stereotypes I was looking for. Thank you very much for sharing.
I like how unbiased this article sounded without being overly dry and clinical. It impressed me that the author wrote about both male and female stereotypes without indicating his or her personal opinion on stereotypes and stressed that parents teach all or most of the common ones to their children at a very young age.
I don't think this is true cause if you look at it the number in male teachers has increased and female doctors is slowly starting to increase also. And another thing guys go hunting and I'm a girl and me and my stepmom go hunting with my dad every season.
I hate when society thinks that (well not everyone in society thinks this), that all men and women want to have sex, get married and have kids. NOT TRUE at all. Stupid society. There are many people who vow to stay virgins and not everybody wants to have sex. And not everybody wants to get married and have kids. Dumb society creating all these fake, stupid false stereotypes! I'm not influenced by society
better to be yourself than following what our dumb society does! (But not everyone follows society). But God is real.
I would just like to point out that men are not actually completely stronger than women. Men are genetically built to have greater upper body strength, while women are made to have better lower body strength. Women are also built to experience the excruciating pain of child birth, which is why most women have a higher tolerance for pain than men. Please notice that I said MOST not ALL, very important.
This article about gender stereotypes, by Holly Brewer, discusses not only the problems originating from gender stereotypes but also the way it effects children early on in life. “Simply put, gender stereotypes are generalizations about the roles of each gender.” For example, women have historically possessed the roll of the caretaker of the house and the keeper of the children. Men, on the other hand, take on the role of the hunter/gatherer. They provide for the family and protect them from danger. Today’s day and age has broken down masculinity and feminism into stereotypes: Men are supposed to like cars, work with their hands, and play videogames, while women are supposed to have “clean” jobs, enjoy cooking and cleaning, and be the “damsel in distress” waiting for the man to come in and sweep her off her feet. These stereotypes may not be true to all males or females, but they are considered “the norm” and they are expected to be followed in today’s society. As Brewer states quite firmly, “Our gender is only part of who we are; it does not define us as people.”
As a response to this article, I, Ryan Davis, simply want to point out that most of these stereotypes are true and these roles are given to us by God for a reason. As it says in Genesis 3:16, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Many of these stereotypes go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. The reason men were given the role to be “tough”, “work with their hands”, and “Go to work while the women stay home” is because God cursed the man to work the land, and in doing so he is providing for his family. This isn’t the case for all men, but this certain role was given to them by God and that is why these roles are stereotypical for men. There are many other stereotypes I didn’t mention: Men are supposed to like videogames, men are supposed to be lazy and messy. These may or may not have to do with God’s plan, but naturally, many men seem to be that way. I myself am not the cleanest person on the planet, but my brother, on the other hand, has to have everything clean and neat in his bedroom, otherwise he goes crazy. There are many women I know who love to play videogames, I myself am not obsessed with them, so maybe that stereotype isn’t valid for only men. Brewer may be correct in saying that these stereotypes may not be accurate for every human alive, but she is wrong when she assumed that “most people realize that stereotypes are untrue” because they’re not, at least not completely. All stereotypes have a little truth in them, otherwise they would have not been created. In conclusion, I would like to say that Brewer’s article was pretty accurate in describing stereotypes, but she was not, however, accurate in expressing her idea that stereotypes are untrue.
While this is certainly true in an American society, other cultures have vastly different stereotypes for men and women. A strong patriarchy exists in American culture, but a matriarchy can be seen in some African-American families. Indians generally encourage all children to grow up in the science field. They still have stereotypes, just different ones. Ex. Women are doctors and boys are engineers.
These are pretty accurate and since I see gender stereotypes in my relationships I am going to vent a little. My bf is a guy who doesn't have many of these except he likes gaming and wants to dominate me. Although he complains about male expectations yet would want to conform to women's gender expectations and this annoys me. I am not a fan of the gender stereotypes and expectations but how is it fair for him to be against the male ones but not be ok with women who don't conform to women's ones. I explained to him I will not be very feminine and will not ever be submissive and he accepted that but it bothers me knowing he'd prefer me to shut up, look pretty, cook, clean, let him control me… etc.
I thought that this article was very well written, with lots of true and relatable facts. I'm doing a speech on why gender equality is a myth and I came across this website and found this article, that I am hoping to share with my class.
Wonderful article, and yes males naturally find it easier to produce more muscle and much quicker than women but that doesn't mean women can't be strong as well. Also women produce more of something (can't remember what!) that allows them to fight off bacteria and stuff more easily. I think this is why women have a higher life expectancy in developed countries.
I fell like this is very true, especially when the part of how parents color the baby's nursery pink or blue, depending on the gender. Like what if they grow up not liking a color that 'their gender should like'. Like, what is the girl ends up liking blue.
I found this really eye opening and changed my whole view of life. I suggest adding some eye capturing pictures to make it more appealing to the younger audiences. I was forced to search this for my English class and now I have seen the other side.
Finally! I am a boy, I love pink, sewing, cooking, hairdressing and I believe that women and men are equal and we should learn to love each other. Also I hate all sports except from tennis, badminton and swimming. I also hate hip hop rap etc… I hate most rock except for a few. So it goes to show you gender roles are complete and utter bull-crap! One last thing, if gender roles were supposed to be the "norm", then explain why all these female politicians exist!
I've been reading through the comments, it's one of my favorite things to do, you learn so much about the people who read these articles (myself included).
I noticed there are a group of girls (like me! *raises hand* female here!) who enjoy backhanding some of the stereotypes for females, but I would offer, to some of the less conservative opinions, girls, when you hate on men, you are being just as sexist as when you feel offended by something they say. Instead of fighting fire with fire, we could use something more efficient, you know, like water, or sand (kindness and gentle corrections maybe?).
I feel like we've reached a point in our society (talking about the US here) where women feel extremely discriminated against, and yes, I agree there is discrimination, and there are things to change, but we can't start tearing down the other gender in the process. It's just not going to be good for our nation in general. Teach a young boy he's sexist, he'll never understand women, and that his tendencies are awful, and he's going to grow up stuck in the same ditch girls do. He'll probably feel repressed, but since we don't tend to let men be emotional, he might never learn to express it. That's a tragedy.
WE PLACE RESTRICTIONS ON EACH OTHER.
Instead, everybody, we can be tolerant. Accept differences. I personally love men with traits considered more feminine, like the ability to empathize or sympathize. I like being "saved" from time to time. I also love dancing and singing. I'm also training to go into the business world. Everyone is different. And many people accept that. And I accept them.
(P.S. Just to play devil's advocate a little, to the ladies who said they never wanted to get married, I might suggest that marriage is actually a good idea. Companionship, having your best friend with you, knowing you are always supported, mm.
Being committed to your one and only. I can't wait to meet a good man, who will love me and whom I can love, with standards similar to mine. We will face the challenges of life together, side by side. We're going to have a blast haha! Never give up on the good, for there is still much good in this world!)
Also, not sure yet because I have not read further in this Program but the money issue as yet has not been discussed. I’m sure it is somewhere in this Program but I have not seen it. A myth of our society is that “the man is the breadwinner and has all control of the money”.