Gender sterotypes: what they are and how to fight them.


Gwyin, Gia

Gia Gwyin

Our society has a set of ideas about how we expect men and women to dress, behave, and present themselves. According to, “A stereotype is a widely accepted judgement or bias about a person or a group even though it is overly simplified and not always accurate.” Gender roles play a huge part in stereotypes. But what even is a gender role? It is how society expects us to act, speak, dress, groom and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex at birth.
Stereotypes about a gender can cause unequal and unfair treatment. This is called sexism. An article written by United Nations of Human Rights says a gender stereotype is “A generalized view or preconception about attributes or characteristics, or the roles that are or ought to be possessed by, or performed by women and men.” A gender stereotype can be harmful when it starts to limit both men and women’s capacity to develop their own abilities and thoughts for themselves.
Men and women are already so different in many ways. The phrase “Women are from Venus, men are from Mars,” conveys a message that both genders think, feel, and act differently. One example is the stereotype that men are supposed to dress in a masculine style and women are supposed to dress in a feminine sense. However, there are people who fight against this stereotype.
Tyler Phanmaha is a junior at East High School who breaks the boundaries of the stereotypical male. Gender stereotypes affect people in so many ways.
“I believe that gender stereotypes degrade people and make people feel self-conscious about themselves and make them feel less of a person, stereotypes act as a barrier within your life,” Phanmaha said.

“These stereotypes have affected me in many ways. They affect me when I wear makeup, some people mistake me for a girl, which is not right. Makeup doesn’t make you female, it’s a way to express yourself,” Phanmaha said.
There are four different gender stereotypes: personality traits, domestic behavior, occupations and physical appearances. According to, women are often expected to be accommodating and emotional, while men are usually expected to be self-confident and aggressive. With domestic behaviors, people might expect women to take care of the house and children and men to be the working ones and the ones making the money in the household. Within occupations some people are quick to assume that teachers and nurses are women, and that pilots, doctors, and engineers are men. Physical appearances are the biggest one, people expect women to be thin and graceful while men are to be tall and muscular. Men and women are forced to dress and groom how society wants them to. Society uses hyperfemininity and hypermasculinity against a person to get them to fit in within their boundaries, so everyone is the same.
Emphasize accomplishments over physical attributes. Choosing to look at accomplishments over physical looks is more helpful and positive. Too often, people put their attention on ‘being pretty’ when speaking to and about girls and too little attention to their capabilities. The same is true for adult women. Focusing on a male’s physical strength can be just as harmful, especially if the male isn’t as physically strong as the culture expects him to be. Another thing you can do for yourself is pick your interests on what interests you and not what a ‘girl would do?’ or ‘what a boy would do?’ There was a time when all women were expected to learn skills like sewing, cooking, and childcare first. Even today, women are often looked at funny if they try to learn skills like auto mechanics or electronic repair. Also a man who spends his free time sewing may be considered less than a man. Whatever skills you want to gain, find someone to learn from them, and get to work. You might find that it’s harder than you thought.
It’s clear that we need to eliminate these stereotypes There are opportunities out there that men and women are discouraged from due to gender stereotypes. Men and women should be able to do what they please, they shouldn’t be discouraged because of society. They shouldn’t be discouraged to do things that are labeled masculine or feminine. In the end, there shouldn’t be a stigma around men and women and their decisions. Breaking the barriers around men and women is something that needs work, and we are only just getting started with fighting these stereotypes.