For Him And Her: Gender Stereotypes That Need To Go

Posted: June 19, 2014

Society is plagued with gender stereotypes that come in the way of equality, liberty, and happiness. Here’s a short list that will make you want to trash these stereotypes immediately!

Men and women are inherently distinct to some extent, physically, mentally and psychologically. But, we stretch these differences way too much, demarcate and allocate illogically too many things as ‘manly’ or ‘womanly‘.

In this regard, a lot of misconceptions rule the minds of both men and women. Bursting these bubbles will certainly enlighten us that both men and women can be equally strong, although sometimes in different ways.

Myths men hold about gender roles/identity

A public show of affection is not manly

Those men who indulge in expressing their love for  their better halves or flaunting and appreciating their qualities, are certainly not faking it! Unlucky are the guys who fail to realize that they are missing out on a larger chunk of women, who would have easily fallen head over heels in love with them, just to have that sort of ‘explicit’ love.

The ‘angry young man’ is ideal

Bollywood tells us that the ‘angry young man’ is the right attitude when it comes to making oneself irresistible for the girls. Correction: Manhood does not come with the size or shape of a mustache, or biceps, or  a man who has the look of a ruffian, but by the way he treats a woman.

Domestic chores are not for men

To cook food, do household chores, or give a helping hand to one’s spouse, irrespective of whether she is a working woman or not, is apparently not a ‘man thing’. The usual tagline of most of the husbands is If you expect me to do this, why don’t you start by doing my job?”. While rendering this line , men usually succeed in making women feel guilty enough to admit that such chores are solely ‘her  responsibilities’. (Kudos men!)

Babysitting is not for fathers

Looking after kids while the wife is at work, or teaching them on a regular basis is seen as ‘babysitting’ instead of “responsible parenting”.

Real men don’t show emotion

Crying? Definitely not a man thing! Is it not more prudent to shed a few tears now rather than accumulating one’s emotions in the mind, and spewing hatred and venom later on, when it feels like letting it go?

Cars are only for men

Being an automobile geek is surely a man thing and the interested women are just ‘aping men’. And without doubt, women are bad drivers. If they drive fast, they are reckless. If they drive carefully, keeping with the rules, then they are definitely not making way for other drivers!

Only men must protect women

Girls need to be watched over by men , for the sake of their safety and security. But if it is the other way round, it is sheer infringement of privacy or cramping the personal “space” of men.

Swearing maketh a man

I would not say all men are this way, but there is a large segment who believes it is macho to swear and speak dirty. They reel under the impression that filthier the language, the stronger it maketh the man. Who would dare tell them that it is nothing but plain uncultured upbringing!

Myths women hold about gender roles/identity

In this respect, I must say women are more creative and complicated, and there is no dearth to their thoughts, inhibitions or imaginations on the subject.

Born to serve

However empowered or modern womens’ outlook may be, inside the four walls of their homes, for the sake of peace and harmony, they prefer to don the mask of the  ideal ‘Indian’ woman, who is bound to stay subservient. For whom, the husband is god. Often, they fail to remind themselves that if the husband is god, the wife is none other than the incarnation of a Goddess herself.  And that culturally and theologically, women were placed on a much more respectable footing.

Culture plays a dominant role in womens’ lives,  for it determines how they should talk, walk , think, and behave. Inhibitions and thoughts about what others might think matter. Even when culture and customs evolve, they elect to remain slaves to certain cultural etiquette and traditional dogmas.

Family first means self-sacrifice

For women, ‘love for the family’ means taking upon themselves the perpetual duty to serve an entire family tirelessly, however big or small. Even if it means that they need to juggle between being a ‘glorified maid’, to a personal secretary , to a wife, teacher , cleaner, career woman and what not, to take pride in showcasing themselves as thesuper woman. Just for that simple pat on the back from their counterpart or to evade that depressing question, ” What do you do all day?”

Family first, even if it means forsaking one’s dreams and ambitions. Dreams have no age or limits, but to recapture them, women feel they are answerable to many at various stages of their life, which is to an extent true.

The Superwoman complex

Women are considered quite good at multitasking and time management. Some women would rather not allow even those men who willingly volunteer to help. The most common defense –  “Men mess up everything and double our jobs, so why assign ‘our’ chores?

Kids’ challenges = Mom’s failure

Women shoulder responsibility of their kids’ education. The poor performance by children in their studies and other scholastic activities indicate a woman’s failure as a responsible mother.

Women are emotional fools

Ironically, we see women standing tall and strong in the most difficult situations, or enduring the greatest pains, where men falter!

Women cannot take care of themselves

Physically, women are unable to safe guard themselves. Women are gentle and fragile and need the constant support and companionship of men.

So the stereotype goes!

 

Pic credit: BrianSuda (Used under a CC license)

Ash

A legal consultant, settled in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; my first love is and has

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Comments

5 Comments


  1. Hey an article I wrote on similar lines was published online today – The curious case of the stay at home dad. What coincidence! Goes to prove that this is a topic on a lot of minds. http://www.indianmomsconnect.com/2014/06/18/the-curious-case-of-the-stay-at-home-dad/

    • Travelling Noodles- Yes, same thoughts there! And I bet at some point or the other, these thoughts might have crossed the minds of almost every woman. Its a good sign that the mindsets of women in general are evolving and now they are able to look beyond these absurdities and exert their independence and identity. Thanks for sharing your write up. Good one …(Y)

  2. This point can’t be stressed enough. Thanks for the article.

  3. Pingback: Feminist Film Review – Ki and Ka – This Is My Truth

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