Need for eliminating gender stereotypes

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Photo: Pixabay

Have you ever noticed the subtle division at family gatherings due to gender stereotypes? Men engaged in their conversations with laughter echoing through the room, and women in the kitchen with pots and pans clashing, too busy to even talk. Why is it so?

Some name it tradition, but it is deeply rooted in gender stereotypes and norms. Women are expected to provide hospitality, be it in their own house or when, as guests, they “need” to cook and clean while their husbands have an important discussion on the weather.

Where is the spirit of generosity and inclusivity?

Something as simple as house chores, which are required for basic survival, has managed to find a way to be divided according to gender. Such works must not depend on gender but rather on a spirit of generosity and inclusivity. There should be space for everyone to participate and contribute, regardless of gender stereotypes.

These gender roles extend beyond just family gatherings, which are social media. In recent years, social media trends such as “the boys” and “women” have created horrifying double standards in the way we perceive men and women. Videos of men engaging in reckless or foolish behaviour end with them being portrayed as cool or calling them “the boys.”

These videos are often viewed as courageous and cunning, as the comment reads “Iconic” or “legendary,” but when there are videos of women who do something out of what has been done before or a video where women seem to be confused or provide wrong answers to some questions asked, they are ridiculed and mocked.

The video ends with two men in their suspenders sipping tea from their cups and laughing after phrasing the word woman in the most displeasing manner to mock and belittle them. It’s almost as if the word woman is used as an insult.

Further explaining this, in a commercial by Always, an American brand known for their menstrual hygiene products, they talk about “like a girl.” In the commercial, participants were asked to run like a girl. Participants then showed a shabby run with their hands swinging on the sides, denoting a lack of strength and power.

Then later, children as small as 10 years old were asked to do the same, but this time around it went differently; the children mimicked running fast and strong, using all their strength. They explained their understanding of “like a girl” by running as fast as they could, but they were also confused about whether it meant humiliation or not.

Why are words like women and girls insults?

Women in Politics - strong woman
Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Words like women and girls have become insults. Children, as young as 10, have already been subjected to the negative meanings that come with being girls, to the point where they find it hard to differentiate whether it is a description or an insult.

In our day-to-day lives, things like women going to cook in the kitchen and trends in social media where women are degraded or ‘like a girl’ being an insult are often overlooked.

Yet with these seemingly trifles there is a deeper truth that tags along: the deeply ingrained gender stereotypes that date back to ages ago and the struggles faced by women in their path to equality. Such trifles must be deeply understood and given great importance, as it will help to shape and reshape the perceptions people hold about matters to “like a girl.”

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