View Full Version : Gender Stereotypes
06-03-2009, 08:43 AM
Do you think that you encourage gender stereotypes in your household? Do you think that girls and boys grow up into a model dictated by society through schools and parents?
I came across very interesting research on this topic so if it is something you are interested in, I'd love your comments here and if you want to know more, you can visit http://www.betteratschool.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=34&Itemid=49
This will be a great discussion that should start a lot more later!
06-09-2009, 10:36 PM
My answer is YES. Kind of like, if a guy is a hair stylist or fashion designer he’s gay. The majority of the time is true, but that does not mean they all are. I don’t know why people are so narrow minded, but that’s life. I know I will not raise my daughter as such.
06-10-2009, 01:46 AM
Everybody knows that gay or ladyboy hair stylists are the best :)
Honestly, I myself really do not feel anything wrong what-so-ever with anyone being what he/she in most cases have wanted to be like his/her whole life. Gay, ladyboy, lesbian whatever, if that is what their inner selves are, then they should be that.
Do I encourage gender stereo types? I hope not but in reality I probably do a bit
06-10-2009, 02:20 AM
Thanks for these comments. The worrying thing is not so much about if we associate certain professions and styles with being gay but more the NEGATIVE messages associated with being a girl... When you ask elementary school boys what their life would be like if they were a girl, 95% of them come up with negative, horrible feedback... Don't know if you got to attend the teleseminar but it is available on my website in the Events page. Really shocking stuff...
06-10-2009, 04:16 AM
I do not think that I convey any negative messages about being a girl what so ever actually. I may unconsciously place my daughter in a female role, but nowadays I see that as “less wrong” than I did many years ago. Why?
Don’t know if this is of interest: I have been living and working professionally in Thailand for the last 17 years and based on that experience, I must say that I see less wrong in male and female roles than I did 20 years ago. Why? Because it is not the role itself that decide strength.
Most westerners are of the belief that Asian women are submissive and the weaker sex. In fact, the truth is that women rule more in Asia than in the western world. The western way of judging “the strength” of the female role model is thereby fraud. There are different skill sets in use within a role model and those are the ones that decide strength, not the actual role model itself, or the perception of it.
I can believe the figure 95% in the US... I believe the figure is less in Asia, how much less I don’t know. Feedback in Asia would also be less negative. The impact of the negative messages associated with being a girl is thereby less in Asia. Asia is less aggressive, less confrontational and more accepting
06-10-2009, 08:56 AM
Thanks for this Michael. I didn't mean to suggest that your message was conveying anything negative. What you say about Asia is definitely very interesting and it would be great to be able to conduct the same study that was done in Pennsylvannia last year, just out of curiosity and to be able to compare. The worrying thing about this particular example is that kids' answers were the same 10 years ago... So it makes you wonder if things are really changing.
If you have any contact with a few elementary schools in Thailand where we could ask the same question to kids there, let me know.
06-10-2009, 09:40 AM
I definitely think we encourage gender stereotypes in our household, although maybe not consciously. There has to be some reason my daughter wants to be a princess when she grows up . . . On the other hand, my son, who is younger, loves to play with her toys more than anything else (of course!) and I don't discourage that. He wants to do everything she does and it is so cute. This means that you may see him wandering around with bows in his hair, wearing pink sunglasses, playing with Barbies, and dressed up like a princess. He sees my daughter practicing her ballet and tries to perfect his own pirouettes. I think if I'd have had a boy first, my girl would probably be playing with trucks and - okay I'm stuck for any other boy activity, that shows you how much girls rule in our house.
Do I see anything wrong with this? No. I am a professional, but also am very girly-girl and I love it. My daughter likes to dress up pretty every day and having tea parties, no one forces her to do it. She also likes to go outside and get sweaty and dirty every day, which is not something I revel in, but hey, I have to let her be a kid. I think you can encourage your kids to be powerful and embrace their gender role if they want to. If my daughter decides that what she wants to be when she grows up is a stay at home mom, I will be just as happy for her as if she decides she wants to be a doctor or a soldier. The great thing is she is going to know she has a choice, because I will teach her that. I have seen people on reality shows get grief for teaching their daughters nothing but how to be mommies, but so what? If that's what makes them happy, so be it. The daughters will be able to make up their minds when they grow up.
My other thought is, are we perpetuating the negative attitudes towards 'being a girl' by discouraging gender roles? Or does it have more to do with how we are raising our boys than how we are raising our girls? Maybe the boys came back with so much negative feedback about what it would be like if they were a girl because every time they showed interest in something 'girly' they were told that was wrong. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it.
06-10-2009, 12:51 PM
I totally agree with KayLay that we do send messages to our boys that being female is "icky". Unfortunately we continue to pay for these messages all of our lives. As we try to enter into leadership fields over-represented by men, we are met with attitudes that women are not as capable as men. In my research, The Effects of Childhood Themes on Women's Aspriations Towards Leaderhship Roles (Wojtalik, 2006), I discovered that the messages that say that women are only cut out to be mommies and that we are helpless and afraid of many things (lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my), create women with poor self-efficacy. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves in positions where we can't be stay-at-home moms. When that happens, we also find ourselves untrained for much more and have a difficult time in the workforce. It is up to us, as parents, to give our girls choice and to develop girls who are strong and independent so that they can fend for themselves when they have to or choose to. Choosing to stay at home and raise a family is admirable and great for our kids, however, when that chapter ends where and how do we fit into the work world? We need to arm our girls with the skills and the mindset to make choices but also to have many choices to make.
06-10-2009, 05:11 PM
Choosing to stay at home and raise a family is admirable and great for our kids, however, when that chapter ends where and how do we fit into the work world? We need to arm our girls with the skills and the mindset to make choices but also to have many choices to make.
Yes, you're right. I hadn't thought about it that way before. Thanks!
06-13-2009, 04:14 PM
Thanks for your feedback. It is definitely something to think about... Listen to this to find out more if you have a minute. http://bit.ly/Wxm9y
Some of this is going to shock you...
07-04-2009, 11:08 AM
In my opinion, i think "we" as parents should keep ANY stereotypes, fears and prejudice to ourselves. My family regularly goes to the beach. I am terrified of water! Do my two-young boy's know this, NO. I personally had a hard time understanding the "gay" lifestyle, does this make me a bad person, i sure hope not. It was new to me. Yes i lived somewhat protected i guess, but my boy's have no idea what gay is because what makes gay, gay is behind bedroom doors which at their age or mine is none of our business.
The point i am trying to make is, although i have fears and faults, my kids will know of none (hopefully besides stranger danger etc) and form their own from our open eyes. This world would be a much better place if we all did the same.
I hope you agree, if i am making a wrong move as a parent, please let me know!
07-04-2009, 04:12 PM
I think this is a very good approach. There is no need to answer any questions before they are asked. Kids will ask when something seems new or strange to them and the first people they will tend to ask is their parents. In the answer, it is important to state facts and as you say, keep opinions out so that kids can build their own. It is a very good thinking exercise, at any age. Too many people underestimage kids and think they don't understand. They can understand a lot more than most people think, especially if they are trained to practise at a young age.
I totally agree that the world would be a better place if people did that. Many kids fall out with their parents over differences of opinion on certain points, often labelled as "generation gap". It should be simple to just accept that people have different views and stop spreading and encouraging any form of stereotypes.
07-07-2009, 08:14 PM
I agree that the world would be a better place if our children could grow up in a society free of gender bias and gender stereotypes. I commend all parents who promote independence and open career options for their daughters. I also commend parents who encourage their children to be bias-free! The fact is, however, that the world is not free from stereotypical expectations (or lack of expectations) for our girls that often limit their ability to enter into professions or positions of management. The glass ceiling does still exist. As parents we need to promote awareness of the gender bias and the messages of female submissiveness and dependence that permeate our TV shows, commercials, fairy tales, and movies. We need to encourage our children to be aware of these messages and to question the "rightness" of them. Questions like: "What do you think about Rapunzel? Do you think she could have gotten out of that tower by herself." "What do you think about Johnny saying that girls can't play ball?" "Did you see that our doctor is a girl? Did you know that girls can be doctors?" Encouraging awareness of gender stereotypes is critical if we want our girls to grow up free from the negative influence of society's gender-biased messages. I am so passionate about this topic I have done extensive research in this area. Download my free eBook if you would like more information! You can find it at www.parentinggirls.com (http://www.parentinggirls.com).
07-13-2009, 10:03 PM
The fact is, men and women are different. We tend to see the world differently and this can affect our aptitudes and the professions we choose. In addition, things like having children have a much larger impact on a woman's career than a man's. I think one of the best things we can do as mothers is to make sure WE are the kind of woman we want our daughters to be and to teach our sons to value strong women. If we shrink back from doing something because it's a "man's job" or if we spend hours moaning about our appearance or if we teach our daughters to cook and clean but not our sons, then we are failing to show our children than men and women can be what they want and can be self-sufficient.
07-14-2009, 08:30 AM
I do, but I certainly try not to. I don't stop my sons from playing with dolls, nor my daughter from playing sports. My daughter isn't a 'tomboy' she loves to dress up nice and play pretend, but sometimes she enjoys getting muddy and playing games with the boys. I don't discourage either. I don't try to make her dress up, she just likes to. As for my sons, one in particular is into playing house, and playing with dolls more than the others, but it doesn't worry me. His older brother used to play with them as well. I think its important for boys to find a nurturing side, and for girls to build confidence in themselves. I don't freak if my son wants to wear pink or cries I try to each my kids to respect others and that expressing themselves and their emotions is a good thing. But I do admit, if any of my sons wanted to wear a dress, I'd feel uncomfortable with that. Its a social stereotype, but I wouldn't want them to deal with the backlash of things like that.
07-14-2009, 04:40 PM
I totally agree with you. Your expectations and your feelings about being female will have a huge impact on your daughter's self-esteem and self-efficacy. Please read my free eBook! You will love it! It is right up your alley! You can find it at www.parentinggirls.com (http://www.parentinggirls.com). Let me know what you think!
I absolutely do not encourage stereotypes in our household. we have a anybody can be what they want to be attitude in our house. however that doesn't mean my sons don't pick them up else where or from me unconsciously. for instance, in our society media tends to objectify women or portray them as less than desirable characters in subserviant roles, even in shows targeted for children. One example that immediately comes to mind is "the sweet life of zach and cody" i believe it's called. my stepsons like to watch this. from what I've seen the girls in this show are portrayed as ditzy and stupid. so it's no surprise to me that 95% of boys view the concept of being a girl negatively. so I do believe society as a whole is still guilty of dictating gender roles despite the womans movement and the leaps and bounds we've made toward equality.
further parents whether we want to or not are still guilty of perpetuating stereotypes. for instance I teach my sons to be respectful of all people but I unconciously have taught them how "to treat a lady" (ie. opening doors, pulling out chairs, ladies first, etc). at the time it didn't occur to me that it transcends just teaching respect to reinforcing the gender roles. as much as I'd like to think I don't reinforce these roles it still happens in certain cases. if one of my sons wanted a barbie for their birthday you can bet your bottom dollar they'd get it. I don't conciously hold them to a specific role but it still happens.
07-24-2009, 07:58 AM
Hurrah For You, Lou! You have the right idea and I applaud your ability to see through the negative stereotypes presented through television. As a parent, you can best serve your children by drawing their attention to these false portrayals. Both men and women are presented poorly in many of our sitcoms...strong moms are ogres and dads are aften silly, childlike and afraid of the mothers. These shows are good discussion starters and will open your child's eyes to the stereotypes being portrayed. If we can't stop these stereotypes we can at least help our children critically see them for what they are! More power to you!
07-28-2009, 12:26 AM
I don't like a lot of the gender stereotypes that are presented, but there are some that I feel shouldn't be done away with. I hope that my son will always know how to 'treat a lady' and my daughter will always know how to 'act like a lady.' Men and women are different, so maybe it isn't equal that we should be pushing for.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.4 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.