Hillary Clinton speaks at a women’s march held in Washington DC in 2004
By Lauren Azcarate
It’s plain to see that stereotypes are relevant, especially in high school. There are stereotypes for all sorts of races, religions, for the sports one plays, or for what sex they are. Though some of these are observations, so many people don’t believe in them. They are found offensive, for judging someone by their sex, or merely by the color of their skin.
Women all over the world are trying to demolish the “weak girl” stereotype. Girls are not dumb, weak, bad at sports, or gold-diggers. Not all girls are obsessed with their looks. Many people believe these just because she is, in fact, a girl. Senior, Abyi Cherinet claims, “That’s only what brutes think.”
Women are not the only ones to experience categorization issues. Men too are victims of stereotyping. They absolutely MUST be tough, and never cry. They can NEVER wear the color pink. They can’t ever let themselves seem girly. Too many boys have this mentality. It’s “girly” to show emotion. Cherinet also shares that he doesn’t feel as though he can be too emotional. “That’s how I was raised into society. We’re not supposed to be weak; emotionally or physically.”
“Who decides and defines masculinity and femininity?” asks talkitover.in. They come to the conclusion that, “Somehow, in all this chaos, our real self is often lost. Many of us realize this but wonder how to get out of these boxes that seem to be so deeply ingrained in us. We know we have the power to decide what makes sense for us, even if it requires us to look beyond our gender.” Nobody in particular actually made these boundaries, they’ve just always been there.
After a man is fully grown, he is naturally stronger than the average woman. So men were always seen as the “protectors, suppliers” while women were the help. However, times have changed, minds have evolved. He may be a boy and naturally stronger, but she has a thicker body type while he’s thin as a twig. He can’t say he’s superior simply because he’s a boy. Just like girls can’t say “Don’t be a girl” to a guy, nor should anyone.
Sophomore, Lauren Smits, shares her opinion on stereotyping women. “People underestimate women. I don’t believe that Strength is necessarily defined by muscle. Women can be more intelligent and make more rational decisions.” Smits also believes that it’s wrong to expect more from men. “They feel like they have to fulfill their stereotypes. Live up to the expectations of society.”
History and psychology teacher, Matthew Levi, doesn’t believe in stereotypes for a second. Levi does believe that we are getting closer to gender equality. “I think we are moving towards equality in America. None the less, we still need to fight for equality.” Though, he does accept that there are factual differences between men and women. “On the other hand, to say that men and women are exactly the same and that we should have the same expectations is ridiculous. Men have more upper body strength, so they can do more pull-ups, period.”
Levi also shares that he can be subconsciously sexist. He may talk to a boy the way a coach talks to his athletes. “I don’t know if I would challenge a girl the same way. That could be my own unconscious sexism, I haven’t really explored it.”
Many things can lead to gender stereotypes. There are four main sources of stereotypes says ehow.com. These include; socialization, media, science, and workplace. Stereotypes can be strengthened through socialization right from birth. “From the time of birth children are socialized with sex roles.” says the website. When a women finds out the sex of her unborn baby, she may already have preconceived ideas of her child.
In the media, women are viewed as weak and nurturing individuals while men are the domineering gender.
Science plays a part because when the body is fully developed, men are naturally stronger than women. Leading women to be seen as a minor while men are expected to be superior.
Jezebel.com has an article named, “We Aren’t imagining it: The Tech Industry needs more women” In this article, author, Melanie Pinola, writes, “‘You can do whatever you set your mind to’ is a half-truth, because there are real obstacles-if not barriers-that keep women and minorities from truly thriving in this field.” In a workplace, women still don’t get equal pay. Though the gap has decreased throughout the years, it’s still there. And so many are fighting for this gap to be gone.
Last year there was a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl that showed how the term “girly” is changing. They got boys and girls of all ages to give an example of a “girly” throw, run, terms. The teenage guests all did it bad. They portrayed the “throw like a girl” stereotype. They then asked young girls to throw like a girl. They did it right, and ran their hardest. They said that they ran like a girl because they were a girl. She was girly because she was a girl, not because she was a wimp.
Basically, stereotypes are there, and possibly always will be. Whether or not people expect too much or too little from a person may always be based on gender, race, or even clothes. There are factual differences between men and women, however we may never stop judging people because of it.