Gender stereotypes: Why are they still here?


Photo by Mayeli Vivaldo

Gender stereotypes exist just like those of racial or religious stereotypes. They are hurtful and not at all accurate.

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Perspectives Editor

Women can vote, but they cannot be masculine. Men can cook, but they cannot be feminine. It is 2016, so why do these stereotypes still exist?

Gender stereotypes have existed for a long time. They are like any racial or religious stereotypes, hurtful and not at all accurate.

“Gender stereotypes are unfortunate. They hold people into roles, behaviors, and expectations that are not reasonable or even fair. They really limit our understanding of who individuals can be and limit our ability to be respectful to other people and who they are,” GSA adviser Brad Larson said.  

We have come so far as a country. A woman is running for president. Years ago, even the idea of this happening would be thought of as ridiculous.

The government has gotten rid of many prejudice laws. They have done so much politically, but socially, gender stereotypes continue to be an issue.

One time, I wanted to buy a new outfit so I went to a nearby store. I saw an outfit that looked interesting and I went to ask an employee if they could bring it down so I could try it on. I remember how they laughed and then replied with, “ You cannot put that on, it’s for men.” I hadn’t even realized I was in the men’s section until they made that comment.

The act itself wasn’t a big deal, but it was how I felt afterward. I was so embarrassed. I felt like I had done something wrong.

How ridiculous is it that women cannot put on men’s clothes or vice versa without feeling like this. They are just clothes in the end. There’s nothing special about them. Yet this person thought it was absurd for me to want to try on men’s clothes.

It’s frustrating that someone cannot do something that goes outside the gender norms without being ridiculed.

But, gender stereotypes do not only cause issues regarding what a person can do, they cause distress for anyone who is struggling to understand and accept themselves.

Transgender people, as well as many who identify as any non binary gender, fear to be themselves due to gender stereotypes.

Transgender junior Toby Shuman said, “When I was younger and just starting to transition, it was terrifying. Other kids or even adults would say disgusting things to me. It makes it harder to be who I am. Sometimes people want to bend the gender roles a bit but people don’t see it as right.”

This brings us to another big question: Why are there people who strongly believe that disobeying any gender prejudice is disgraceful?

GSA adviser Gwen Geiger answered this question with, “They’re afraid. They’re afraid of admitting their own differences from the roles or lack of the roles. They project their fears onto other people. It’s scary to be different.”

Although there are still many issues and difficulties with gender roles, we are slowly overcoming them.

More and more people are striving to change and fix these prejudices.

We have a long way to go but I hope as time passes, women will no longer be seen as weak, men will no longer be forced to be strong and tough, and non binary people will feel accepted.

People should be loved and accepted for who they are, no matter if they are different.