gender stereotypes


1. Dad:”Millie,don’t you think it’s time you learn how to cook?” Me:”Yeah,seems like a good idea.” Dad:”And maybe you can cook for your brother” Brother:”Or maybe cook with your brother. I gotta have some basic skills too,am I right?” Dad:”Nah,you don’t have to.One day you’ll get a wife and she’ll make hot meals for you.” 2. Dad:”Hey,Simon(my brother’s name).Come,let’s go change the tires. Brother:”Ok Dad,I’m coming.” Me:”Can I come too?” Dad:”No sweetie.It’s men’s work,you know.” These gender stereotypes make us dependent. Now,we’re young adults and we’re both single. My brother can’t make a freaking omlet and I can’t change a freaking tire.


I have hair cut to a shortish bob, still pretty girly. I was at a weeklong summer camp, and for the first two days, I had worn T-shirts and leggings or shorts. On the third day, I came to camp in a T-shirt and a shin-length prairie-style skirt. I sat down in the circle with the rest of the kids, (about 6-8) and the boy next to me, about 6 years old, leans over and whispered, “Dude, why are you wearing a dress?” I was young, and thourougly confused by the comment, so I decided to correct him. “It’s a skirt, not a dress.” He stared at me like I was an alien. “Well, why are you wearing a skirt?” I shrugged, “Because I want to. So there.” He continued to stare. I began to feel uncomfortable. I fidgeted. Then, it dawned on me. my eyes widened. I tapped his back, my anger quickly dissolving into shock. “By the way,” I said cautiously, “I’m a girl.” “Oh shit.” (Keep in mind, this is a 6-year old) “Oh man. Wait till Jeremy hears about this! He’ll flip!” I glared. I was only about 8 at the time, and I didn’t really understand that people stereotype people by their hair and their clothes, I just liked short hair and long skirts and leggings with T-shirts, so that’s what I wore. What I did realize was that this kid (younger than me) thought it was funny that he mistook me for a boy. For the rest of the camp, I glared at him, and stared at him, searching for some sign of remorse or apology. None came. When we sewed clothes, almost all of the kids gave their girl dolls dresses and their boy dolls pants. I seed bot, so my doll could switch off. Now I’m older, and when i think back to this, I don’t feel angry, I feel sad. Sad that someone so young could be so unthinking and cruel. Sad that that little boy had no one in his life to teach him that people come in all shapes and sizes and clothes and hairstyles, no one to tell him that it didn’t matter if i was a boy and I was wearing a dress. Sad to think “What if It had been a boy he said that to?” But mostly, i’m sad that this is the generation of kids we are raising. (This is coming from a kid)


I walked into a charity shop one day looking for books for my baby daughter. I was surprised to see the children’s books marked out on the shelves as “books for boys” and “books for girls”.


I was sometimes been teased and bullied at school for my love of dinosaurs and palaeontology, because it was not considered ‘girly’ or a ‘teenage’ hobby. This infuriates me, because everyone has the right to like what they are interested in. Similarly, a friend of a friend was questioned on her interest in engineering and robotics, and was going to work on a project when someone told her to ‘get back to the kitchen’. They were trying to be funny, but it wasn’t remotely amusing.


Comments around school: Food tech. teacher (female), to a boy: “You’re stirring it like a girl.” (I.E. weakly.) Music teacher (male), to the class: “The boys will like ‘The Great Escape’.” (Or whatever film it was, I know it was something I’d like a lot though.) Boy from my English class at a book reviewing session: “It’s more of a boys’ book.” Random boy who was being annoying, to me: “You dropped your lunchbox, here you go, Princess.”


One of my P.E. teachers (male) is hard on all the boys and soft on all the girls. He shouts at some of the boys to work harder and helps only the girls if they’re having difficulty.


In the shops, there are dozens of children’s toys, books and games. Pop-up tents shaped like castles are on sale, with a different type apparently designed ‘for each gender’. Ordinary castle has a picture of a boy on it. Pink-ified castle has a picture of a girl on it. Same with books: storybook labelled ‘for boys’ has stories about pirates, dinosaurs and robots. Storybook labelled ‘for girls’ has stories about princesses, ballet and horses. Sticker books and colouring books are horrifyingly similar, while even a storybook with no gender labels shows on the cover a boy in a pirate hat and a girl with a pink crown.

Ann Veronica

There was a comment online about a teenage couple. The comment was something like, “OMG there such a good couple, she,s hot and hes nerdy they wouldn’t be if he was HOT and she was a NERD.” I hate people’s stereotypes on how each gender should be. Similarly, at every school, it seems, a boy gets branded as a ‘nerd’ or a ‘geek’ if he works hard, you only get told to be proud of being a ‘geek’ in the face of bullying if you’re a girl. This, as well as the fact that boys are stereotyped as violent, results in many boys being idiots in order to counteract the ‘geek’ stereotype. Speaking of stereotypes (I’m rambling now), my R.E. teacher once referred to decorating your work as ‘girlifying’ it. I wish I’d thought of going on ‘work decorating strike’.


Last week, I went around several shops looking for a Mother’s Day card that was not pink and floral, and couldn’t find a single one. Why is it assumed that this suits all women’s tastes? And why does this gender socialisation continue from when we are young girls to when we are grown women? Pinks and florals may be to some people’s tastes, and that’s fine, but I think we deserve different, more refreshing option. Equally, it angers me that women who do like pinks and florals are seen as ‘typically girly’ – it seems to me that society creates these gender stereotypes, but then shames women whether they fulfil them or not.


When I was really young, one of my friends had a birthday party at ‘Funky Monkeys’; when we were there, we did dress up. All the boys were given superhero outfits and all the girls were dressed up as Disney princes. As we went off to play one of the women there said: “now all the boys can rescue all the girls.” It’s mad that at the age of 7 girls are taught that we need to wear dresses and rely on men.