Our Daily Encounters with Gender Roles and Stereotyping

Gender roles and stereotyping is in our everyday lives. Gender roles are passed on through generations. Society expects males and females to fulfill specific gender roles and stereotypes that have been established. Gender roles is how we are expected to act, speak, dress, and present ourselves. Around the age three, children become aware of the differences between a boy or a girl based on the actions of their parents. It is understood that girls wear purple, pink, and flowery outfits, play with girly toys, and are feminine. Whereas, boys wear blue, grey, black, and plays with boy toys such as trucks, actions figures, and are masculine. As a child grows, they begin learning what behaviors are appropriate and expected in society. The purpose of this essay is to speak about the gender stereotyping among colors, toys, and costumes.

I believe gender plays a huge role in society. Being a boy or girl hoists own expectations. Gender roles happen from an early age, starting with colors we introduce to children. Even though blue is a diverse color, we generally use blue or darker colors for boys and pink or pastel colors for girls. Blue is described to be a masculine color. Whereas, pink is described as a feminine and soft color. According to Pomerleau, Bolduc, Malcuit, and Cossette (1990) “Girls wore pink and multicolored clothes more often, had more pink pacifiers and jewelry. Boys wore more blue, red and white clothing. They had more blue pacifiers. Yellow bedding was more frequently observed in the girls’ rooms, while blue bedding and curtains were more prevalent in the boys’ rooms” (p. 1).

There are four kinds of gender stereotypes. Personality traits, domestic behaviors, occupations, and physical appearance. Across our lifep there are roles and expectations society abide by. According to Mitra and Sikdar (2008), “men are characterized as aggressive, risk-taking, decisive, and autonomous, whereas women are characterized as kind, caring, relational, and humble” (p. 2). A personality trait is how one is expected to present themselves. Domestic behavior is the expectations society have for both male and females. Occupation is described to be the field of work one can work with. For example, women are generally nurses, and men are doctors.

Throughout my life my father was always gender neutral rather than gender specific. My dad did not direct me to only playing with dolls or only to wear feminine colors. He allowed me to grow and make choices of my interest. I began playing sports around the age of five and I am currently twenty-three years old completing my final years as a female basketball player. I may have been lacking areas of strength being a female playing in male physical activities, but, it did not stop me from pursing the sport that I loved. Based on gender stereotyping, gender roles are engrained into children at a very early age so they can gain the understanding of their specific gender role. For example, boys were provided with more sports equipment, trucks, guns and small vehicles. Girls were provided with dolls/doll houses, fictional characters, child’s furniture, and other toys for manipulation.

I would choose to raise my children to be gender neutral. I want my children to understand that I am going to support them no matter the choices they make. It is understood that stereotyping is always either negative or positive. Children are encouraged to serve separate roles when it comes to interacting with the outside world. For example, boys are encouraged to join physical activates. While girls are provided more attention to how they look and present themselves. But, in my opinion, girls should not be stereotyped if they want to play physical activates rather than play house and wear feminine colors. Also, boys should not be stereotyped if they choose to play will dolls or wear feminine colors.

As I have grown up, I have witnessed a lot of gender stereotyping from both male and females. It is expected that both males and females adapt to, believe in, and fulfill their specific gender role. Because of gender stereotyping and how one is perceived to present themselves in society, if a boy is playing with Barbie dolls they are labeled as homosexual. Whereas, if a girl is playing with action figures and or boy toys they are labeled as a tom-boy.

Before doing this paper, I never had an in-depth thought about the different gender stereotyping that goes on in society. It is a shame that we are teaching our children to abide by the gender specific norms rather than guiding them to be gender neutral. Even though parents may not realize, we as individuals are setting our children up to be stereotypical parents for their future children.

For example, providing girls with just feminine options, it is not allowing them to explore other options such as being involved in physical activities, such as basketball. It is best to be a gender neutral parent rather than a gender specific parent because it allows your child to choose their choice of interest rather than being forced to only participate in gender specific things. In conclusion, being a gender neutral parent is best because it allows your child to develop naturally rather than being forced to abide by the creation that society has placed around gender roles.

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