Gender stereotypes and gender biases are a major problem in today’s society. Whether it be how women are more emotional than men or how men are not emotional at all. It can be caused by how we are raised, where we were raised, socioeconomic status, and race. All of these things go hand in hand. Studies have shown that women suffer more from depression and anxiety whereas men suffer from addictive and impulsive disorders. Women’s health problems seem to be more sensitive to family and marital strains. There are some fairly easy ways to help stop gender stereotyping and its influence. An example would be to create a safe place for men so that they feel comfortable enough to express their emotions and letting women know that they can speak up. Buffel, V., Velde, S. V., & Bracke, P. (2014).
For many generations, society has made it seem like men are superior and women are inferior. Society has invented gender stereotypes and has become gender biased over time. Gender stereotypes are the beliefs that we associate with females and males. Gender bias is a preference or prejudice toward one gender over the other. Gender bias can be unconscious or conscious. It can become apparent in many ways that can be either subtle or obvious. Gender bias is more common than we realize. When in the workplace, men are more likely to make more and get that promotion than a woman because many believe that women are softer and weaker than men. They believe that women may step down or quit to raise children. Most believe that women don’t think rational, so men are a better candidate to make decisions on a company’s behalf. Gender bias can also happen to the younger generation. A female cannot play football because it is considered a manly sport. (https://www.diversity.com/page/What-is-Gender-Bias) Prejudice is the predetermined opinion that is not based on a reason or an actual experience. I believe that the problem is that society wants women to appear soft and weak and men to appear strong and smart, when in reality, there are some women who are strong and there are some men who are weak so to say. Society puts a lot on people to live up to the expectations, and I believe that this causes depression, anxiety, and stress on those who don’t fit the image. Women have no problem with going to therapy, whereas men look at is as being weak if you go to therapy.
Gender stereotypes and gender biases all starts when we are infants. People are taught that female babies are “beautiful” and “princesses” whereas male babies are “strong” or “manly.” Men are often taught to hide their emotions whereas women are known as emotional creatures. Men believe that they have to be the “breadwinner” in the relationship. Women believe that they have to be flawless, quiet and passive. We should be critical of the way we are taught to expect men and women to behave based on their gender. We live in a more open-minded time compared to the past when it involves a gender. There are still gendered expectations that are still entrenched in our culture and we hardly notice it because it is so elusive. Buffel, V., Velde, S. V., & Bracke, P. (2014).
There are four basic types of gender stereotypes which include: personality traits, domestic behaviors, occupations, and physical appearance. Television often portrays women’s personality traits as emotional, while men are expected to be confident and aggressive. Domestic behaviors are when women are expected to cook, clean, and take care of the children, whereas men are supposed to work and be a handyman. Women are often assumed to be nurses or teachers, while men are assumed to be engineers, businessmen, pilots, or even doctors. Men are expected to be tall and muscular, whereas women are expected to be graceful and thin. It has always seemed to be gender appropriate for men to wear suits and pants and women to wear dresses and skirts. Television plays a huge role in how these four types of gender stereotypes go hand in hand. (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexual-orientation-gender/gender-gender-identity/what-are-gender-roles-and-stereotypes)
Furthermore, when babies grow up, this leads them to think that females are weaker than men and more emotional, whereas men have to be strong and show no emotions. Men grow up believing that crying shows weakness. Adults, such as parents or teachers, are more likely to try to sooth a little girl, whereas they tell boys to suck it up, stop crying, and move on. This leads to men having built up animosity due to the little boy holding his emotions inside. Men who have built up animosity often are depressed because they don’t talk about what or how they are feeling. This can lead to being abusive, slacking in school or work, or even suicide.
Males and females can be friends at a young age; however when puberty strikes all of that changes. Teenage males are portrayed as predators whereas teenage females are portrayed as a target. Teenage females are told like; “cover up,” “don’t go out,” “boys are nothing but trouble” Researchers have found that there are negative attitudes toward breast development and menstruation which leads girls to feel objectified, which leads to body shaming. (https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/20/health/geas-gender-stereotypes-study/index.html)
Men were also taught that they have to be the breadwinner in the relationship. Most households often have two sources of income, which means men should make more money than their wives. If the man does not make more than his wife, they often feel embarrassed, insecure, inferior, or resentful towards their wife. A man’s worth should not be determined by how much money he makes. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, they found that 40% of American families’ primary breadwinners were mothers, and 37% of those breadwinners were wives, which estimated to 5.1 million who make more than their husbands. (https://www.joinonelove.org/learn/gender-stereotypes-impact-behavior/)
In this study, they use the Eurobarometer. This Eurobarometer collected data from the general population of people who were over the age of 15 in 31 European countries. 500 people were interviewed in Luxembourg and Malta. 1,127 people were interviewed in the Netherlands. There was a total of 28,748 people who were interviewed for this study, 12,500 men and 16,240 women. However, there was no more than 2.1% of missing values on years of education. The accumulated percentage for men with the missing values was 6% (N=748) and women had a percent of 5.8% (N=945). This caused the final sample to be 11,752 for men, and 15,303 for women, which totaled to 27,055. (Van de Velde S, Bracke P, Levecque K (2010))
This study used a random sampling of individuals within certain households in certain areas. It also used face-to-face interviews. Post-stratification weights were applied in each country conferring to the demographics that were used in the most recent census data to ensure nationally. The Mental Health Inventory has 5 ways to measure depression and anxiety. It uses questions such as ‘How much of the time during the past four weeks have you felt downhearted and depressed?’ it can be answered using the categories of 1) most of the time, 2) some of the time, 3) rarely, 4) and never. 5) uses a scale from 0 to 100 to use points to score less psychological distress. In this study, the researchers analyzed how the consumption of primary and specialized mental healthcare varies for males and females. The researchers presented the total percentages of individuals who general or specialized mental health care. The results are age-standardized by the European Standard Population. The researchers used v2 tests to assess the significance of gender differences. The respondents were asked if they looked for help from a therapist for psychological or emotional health problems in the past year before the interview. Two “dummies,” which would be: 1) contacted a GP (1= yes, 0= no) and 2) contacting specialized health care, were constructed in case they sought help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Regarding the dummy, the respondent is given a score if he or she contacted a psychologist or psychiatrist and a 0 if they had not. (Van de Velde S, Bracke P, Levecque K (2010))
In a study that was conducted by Figueiredo B. and Conde A., they determined that anxiety and depression differentiated between men and women ranging from early pregnancy up to three months postpartum. In this study, they created used a Socio-Demographic Questionnaire that was distributed to over three hundred hospitals to 260 Portuguese couples that were expecting. This Socio-Demographic Questionnaire included questions about their age, their marital status, and their occupational status.
During this study, they discovered that high anxiety was high and common in both women and men. However, they found that the rate for depression was higher than the rates of high anxiety in women during the early stages of pregnancy and postpartum, but no during the third trimester nor childbirth. The rates of anxiety and depression were lower for men during the pregnancy and during childbirth. Postpartum depression has always been talked about when it comes to anything dealing with a pregnancy, however, studies have been conducted within the past few years that have demonstrated that anxiety is more prevalent than depression before and after childbirth. (Lee et al. 2007; Wenzel et al. 2003, 2005).
In the study conducted by Figueiredo B. and Conde A., they determined that anxiety and depression differentiated between men and women ranging from early pregnancy up to three months postpartum. In this study, they created used a Socio-Demographic Questionnaire that was distributed to over three hundred hospitals to 260 Portuguese couples that were expecting. This Socio-Demographic Questionnaire included questions about their age, their marital status, and their occupational status. During this study, the researchers also noticed an improvement in the mental health status of both men and women after childbirth. women had an increase in their psychological adjustment during childbirth and three months postpartum, although they did have anxiety around childbirth. This could propose that men and women can be stressing in similar ways while other complications that are specific to gender or parental roles. The results of this study were that age, mental health, socioeconomic characteristics play a role in gender differences. Other issues involve the stigma of men denying help because they feel that they would have to be “strong.” Women are more than likely to seek mental help. For mild symptoms, whereas men only seek help for severe complaints.
This also goes to prove that there are gender stereotypes when it comes to mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Gender stereotypes and gender biases all starts when we are infants. People are taught that female babies are “beautiful” and “princesses” whereas male babies are “so strong” or “manly.” Men are often taught to hide their emotions whereas women are known as emotional creatures. Men believe that they have to be the “breadwinner” in the relationship. Women believe that they have to be flawless, quiet and passive. We should be critical of the way we are taught to expect men and women to behave based on their gender. We live in a more open-minded time compared to the past when it involves a gender. There are still gendered expectations that are still entrenched in our culture and we hardly notice it because it is so elusive. Buffel, V., Velde, S. V., & Bracke, P. (2014).
In general, gender stereotypes can be helpful when trying to make quick estimates of how individuals react, how individuals behave, or how large groups of people are different from one another. These tasks can make stereotypes and gender stereotypes less useful when trying to estimate the potential characteristics of specific individuals. Gender stereotypes can inflate the alleged effects of labeling people due to their gender and propose an overgeneralized view of reality. They highlight apparent boundaries between men and women to justify the symbolic and social effects of gender for role diversity and social discrimination. The extensive awareness of gender stereotypes has across-the-board implications for those who depend on stereotyping anticipations to evaluate others, also including those who are subjected to these judgments. There is a tremendous amount of research that states that gender-stereotypical expectations influence the way we look at and judge the abilities of both men and women. In educational environments, gender stereotyping can cause students who are female to be viewed as less talented than students who are male, especially in areas of science. (Leslie et al. 2015). For example, male students are known to outshine female students in biology, even if the female students have better grades than male students. (Grunspan et al. 2016).
Not only do gender stereotypes affect the perceived possibility of male or female when they are chosen for potential jobs, but gender stereotypes also affect the work performed by men and women which is measured and valued. This was shown in an experimental study done to evaluate a teacher’s performance during an online course. This study showed that when a teacher identified by a male instead of a female was rated almost a whole point higher on a five-point scale. (MacNell et al. 2015). The evaluative differences triggered by gender stereotypes can have significant outcomes for career development and revenue levels for both men and women, which can accumulate into significant census records comparing the wage difference between men and women when going into the job market with equal credentials and working similar jobs. (Buffington et al. 2016).
We have all heard of the phrase saying, “women are from Venus, men are from Mars.” This phrase is used to express the differences that are observed in the way men and women think, feel, and act. It expresses the certainty of the difference by implying that men and women come from different planets that are so far apart, suggesting that they are as fundamentally different as they could be if they were different species.
The question we must ask is what is to what point do the differences in men and women really are and to what point do they reflect how we think men and women are different from each other due to gender stereotypes. Once the nature and content of gender stereotypes are identified, it explains the fact that they describe not normal differences between men and women but suggests what men and women ought to be and how they should behave in different aspects of life.
Parenthood often causes people to look at men and women differently due to gender stereotypes subtly steering our judgment. When women become parents, we often tend to presume that their main priority would be to care for the children and be less dedicated to working. When men become fathers, this does not apply to them. Men are assumed to be workers, so this does not affect their job opportunities as it does for women. A survey in 36 countries including around 40,000 workers showed that men and women stated the same problems while trying to work and raise a family. (Lyness & Judiesch 2014). However, managers have seen that it was more of an issue for women than for men. Women with children are two times less likely to get the job than a woman who does not have children even though their qualifications were the same. (Correll et al. 2007). Consequently, jobs are less likely to educate, hire, or promote women who have children that fathers or women who do not have children. (Cuddy et al. 2004).
Men suffer from gender stereotypes too, just in different ways. Often times, men are played down in work-related roles and family roles that highlight the communality and care. Gender stereotypes subtly stop their interest in these roles. roles (Croft et al. 2015). The subtle idea that relationships with others and personal weakness are less relevant for men and can cause devastating effects eventually. These results were shown in a meta-analysis of 78 samples surveying nearly 20,000 research participants. This survey has shown that men that were provoked by the masculine stereotype to be independent and employ power over women experienced social costs, despite their age, race, or sexual orientation. They showed an approach of negative outcomes demonstrating negative social functioning and diminished mental health. (Wong et al. 2017).
Depression in fathers are more common than one would think. It can affect between 2% and 25% of men during their partners’ pregnancy and up to the first year of postpartum. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the rate can increase to at least 50% when the mother has postpartum depression. Depression in men may not be as obvious as it is for women. Men may not cry, but they can feel angry, frustrated, or lost. Depression can show itself in irritability, impulsivity, and even losing interest or pleasure in things they normally would be interested in. depressed fathers are more probable in engaging in domestic violence or substance abuse.
The way a father feels can affect how he interacts with his partner or child. Fathers who are depressed are more likely to whoop their child than those who do not have depression. In fact, fathers with depression are less likely to positively interact with their children in ways such as; playing with their child, singing with their child, or even reading to their children. Children who have fathers that have depression often have a higher chance of having emotional or physical problems when they get older.
With gender stereotypes and gender biases being so predominate today, we need to find ways to level it out between men and women. Studies have shown that women suffer more from depression and anxiety whereas men suffer from addictive and impulsive disorders. Although women tend to show more emotions than men, men also go through depression and mental illnesses when dealing with pregnancies. It starts when we are born, girl babies are treated like princesses and boy babies are looked at as they are so manly and tough. Boys are taught that they can’t show emotions because it is not manly to do so. Once this step is done, it will lead to men being able to openly talk about the things that are bothering them, even leading them to go to seek professional help. Once men start talking about the things that are bothering them, this can lead to a decrease in relationship problems, substance abuse, and domestic violence. Creating a safe place for men so that they feel comfortable enough to express their emotions and letting women know that they can speak up is a solution that can help both men and women during this very critical time in a child’s life as well as their lives.