Gender Stereotypes and Norms and the Effect in Society

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After 50 years of research how and why are gender stereotypes still such a big problem in society today. Often, when people think of gender stereotypes the first thing that comes to their mind is colors. Pink and purple the colors to represent a female green or blue used to represent a male For example, all things Barbie are pink and advertised to little girls never to little boys. Green is the color for army gear and advertised to boys. When children are asked from a young age what they want to be when they get older girls are expected to say things like princess, nurse, school teacher and boys are expected to say policeman or firefighter. This doesn’t stop or get any less intense as we age, the question is why? This paper will touch on all things gender stereotypes, male and female expected norms in society and how the advertising industry using stereotypes to sell.

Gender Stereotypes and Norms Woman

Gender stereotypes that are given to women since they are born. “Gender roles in society means how we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex” (What are Gender Roles,2019). For example, Girls were given clothing with the prints of princesses, flowers and a pink color scheme. No one ever thought to ask the little girl if she wanted the shirt with the dinosaur on it or the army gun toys, “children begin to see the effects of gender stereotypes by the age of 10 but begin to stereotype themselves from as young as 4-5” (Coghlan,2017) The society we live in today has been trying hard to break the cycle with feminist movements such as the Women’s Marches in America. With feminism on the rise, people often do not know what they truly stand for. “Feminism, the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. Although largely originating in the West, feminism is manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests” ( Burkett 2019) but still today there are many norms and stereotypes given to women. Some of the Gendered behaviors are gender-specific clothing, speech, movement, activities, thoughts and feelings, and those norms may vary according to place, time and culture. ( Women And Gender Roles,2018). A good example of some stereotypes that are given to women include,

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  • you throw like a girl
  • women belong in the kitchen
  • girls don’t play sports
  • go play with your dolls
  • you’re going to be a good wife someday

saying these things to women especially to young girls can have a huge impact of their lives.

Although the stereotype linked to the sex someone may appear doesn’t fit the individual the stereotype in itself has the power to make someone feel wrong, hurt or, out of place. The gender stereotypes may even play apart in the way females view themselves (book). For example, women may not apply for a certain job or apply for certain education programs because society has told them that they are not “sex-appropriate” if a girl does not want to cook or perfecers to be the one to work instead of being a stay at home mom are society has told them that they will no longer be “ wife material” Single mothers are pressured to find a husband. ’The problem with Gender Roles is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are’’. (Ikegwu,2017)

Gender Stereotypes and Norms Men

[bookmark: _gjdgxs]When you hear someone say gender stereotypes people often begin to think about women, but men are faced with expectations from society as well. Contrary to popular belief, sex is a biological construct, and gender is a social construct specifying the roles men and women are to follow to be accepted into society as “normal” (site). some common phrases everyone has heard are

  • be a man
  • men don’t cry
  • grow some balls
  • toughen up
  • don’t be a wimp
  • that’s a “girl toy” put it down
  • shake it off

This is often used to stop a boy from crying or fearing something. Society teaches men from a young age that men are rugged, are emotional robots unless they are angry, and only care about sports. Of course, this is not the case. Men do show emotion, men are soft and are not always out to be rough and tumble. Everyone thinks there are cardboard cutout creations of what the perfect person is and try to implement them by introducing stereotypes. This influences the behavior of children and teens, we see teenage boys regularly fighting and the excuse is “boys will be boys”. When and why did violence become okay just because you are a boy? These ideas are planted in children’s heads at early ages. Superheroes are crime fighting and some are great role models, but there is violence in these films. Children are always seeing violence, whether it’s a superhero movie, or even a video game like Fortnite. The most surprising part is most violent products are advertised and catered to boys.

First Person Shooter video games like Fortnite or Call of Duty, superheroes are usually men making it easier for boys to relate and be interested. We see more men in the military than women because of the stereotypes of men being these strong, violent creatures and the women being small, dainty princesses. Men are also discredited as domestic abuse victims simply because they are men. This goes for sexual assault and abuse as well because it is an issue that is almost never talked about. Men are not just automatically safe from these atrocities simply because of what us between their legs. They are often made fun of or laughed at when they come forward causing boys and men to often stay quiet. This is a huge problem because with this as well we see men committing suicide due to issues like these at an accelerated rate. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2017 3.54x more men committed suicide than women and an alarming 77.97% of suicide deaths in 2017 were white males. As of October 2018, it was estimated that around six men take their lives a day in Australia. “In 2017, the number of deaths from intentional self-harm was 3128. Of those lives lost, 75 per cent — or 2349 — were men, according to the Bureau of Statistics.” (“The Men’s Healthcare Crisis, 2018).

Men have a much larger stigma attached to mental health and we see these alarming stats as proof. Is the money the companies make off simply trying to make men “manlier” worth the amount of lives lost? Something that has brought controversy very much around it is the Gillette’s newest short film. Gillette a popular band of men razors and hygiene products. known for their sexualized ads and there popular slogan “the best man can get” with the face behind the slogan normally being a very sexualized middle aged white male, big mussels, perfect skin, full perfectly kept facial hair. in Their newest short film of 2019 this is not the case. not only is the short film have a different face behind it and the slogan changed to “the best a man can be” but they do not mention razors once throughout the whole thing. there is many mixed emotional around the film some want to know why and where this all came from after 30 years of sending a negative message to young boys. the company had decided to join the me to movement which is a a group of people working together to help give people a voice.”

The commercial proves that toxic masculinity has gone on for too long by showing glimpses of bullying, harassment, “Atta boy mentalities” and overall negative actions from boys and men. It’s these actions that have led to the current issues both men and women are facing on a daily basis.” (Macke,2019) men have been using the brand for 30 years looking up to and comparing them self the sexualized models used before. advertising can greatly affect young boys and men.

Gender Stereotypes in Advertising

The advertising industry has been using stereotypes to sell and bring attention to whatever it is they are advertising since before people even realized what they were actually doing. Gender stereotypes go back as far as 1953 when the ad for HyTop twist-off bottle cap created by Alcoa Aluminum, this advertisement was showing that women could do something that normal requires strength and since women were thought to be “weak” and always need their husbands to help, it was their way of saying the bottle was easily opened by women. This ad is often viewed as a symbol of sexism in 1950s US and more specifically of social stereotypes emblematic of the “Mad Men” era (Rushden 2010). People may believe that the advertising industry is getting better and, in some ways, yes, it is better than 1953 but stereotyping is still very prevalent in our society now a days as well. Not only in commercials but in everything we buy things as small as deodorant. Because society has made us believe that girls should have things in pink with flowers and soft lines and guys should have dark colors and bold font.

Companies have taken full advantage of doing so. Companies create the same product with two different labels one clearing stating in pink or light color saying something like “just for women” or “for her”. A good example of this is the Clinique skincare line for men versus the skincare line for women. Products that are said to do the same thing are changed from their pastel packaging to a dark gray and black theme, so men feel more manly buying it. Even though the products are the same, thanks to stereotyping and advertising the men will often only buy products specifically catered to their gender. The market-place is simply dividing the industry into two gendered groups. Many companies such as, Lego now realize that girls want to play with there product as well but instead of it being okay with them to play with the classic red yellow blue green Lego pieces LEGO realized they could market a whole new line of pink purple and blue Legos and raise the price that parents will buy then for their daughters since they are “ for girls”. “With LEGO® toys for girls, your little one can build exciting creations with LEGO Pink Brick Buckets, develop her own Friends adventures or simply discover her passion for play as she gains dexterity and problem-solving skills.” (The LEGO Website, ND) notice that this was taken directly from the LEGO website.

At the beginning the sentence uses “your little one” instead of a gender word but that quickly changes to her and she clearly stating that the pink bricks are for girls. Although gender stereotypes fall heavily around children toys it can be seen everywhere when you look for it.

How Can We Stop Gender Stereotypes?

gender stereotypes have been around for decades. they have affected people of all gender and age through all stages of their lives. If you were to ask someone if they were personaly effect by any type of stereotypes 9 times out of 10 the person would answer yes. Somethings society needs to do to make a change in the way we use and ignore gender stereotypes in our everyday lifes. First thing being we must begin to recognize. “TV, film, advertisement and the Internet are full of negative gender stereotypes. Sometimes these stereotypes are hard for people to see unless they’re pointed out” (Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc, ND).

For example, when watching your favorite tv program many people do not pay any attention to the completely sexist commercial based around gendered stereotypes that are playing on their screens, we need to have an open eye and break the pattern of these things being completely “normal” and “okay”. Another thing we must do is be up front and admit that you yourself use gender stereotypes, for example when a woman finds out the gender of her unborn child, she is quickly to paint the nursery pink for a girl and blue for a boy. As a society we must recognize that colors don’t have genders and we should allow are children to wear what ever color’s they want and play with what every toy they want to no matter their genders. By recognizing when we make those kinds of decisions, we are instilling gender stereotype on our children. As a society we must become more educated on the short term and long-term effects of gender stereotyping it has been around and effect lifes old and young for decades starting from advertainments down to the soap we choice to clean our self’s with. People need to take the time to do their research before pushing it off as nothing. If people educate themselves on the topic, they are more likely to not use gender stereotypes them self which would be one step closes to putting a end to it on a large scale.


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Gender Stereotypes and Norms and the Effect in Society. (2021, Aug 25). Retrieved from

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