Gender stereotyping, the bane of our society

Gender stereotyping, the bane of our society

Picture Credit: Ben_Kerck

We hear a lot of people talking about gender stereotypes almost every day, and most of the time it's a very superficial way of writing about real issues. When we walk into a toy store, we see a separate section for boys and another for girls.

Even the toy industry is trying to make us believe that pink toys are for girls and if the toy isn't pink then the girl wouldn't buy it.

Very few toys are free of gender labelling and most toys are either associated with girls or boys.

It is believed that girls’ toys were associated with physical attractiveness, nurturing and domestic skill. Similarly, boys’ toys were associated as violent, competitive and exciting.

Gender-centric toys might encourage attributes that aren't the ones you actually want to cultivate. The way girls are looked at are they are gentle, will cook and should look pretty too, whereas boys will drive cars, be aggressive, play with toy guns and mock weapons and outdoor sports.

Girls driving cars these days is common. So, why should a girl not play with cars as a child? When it comes to toys or colours, children should be free to enjoy and experiment with all toys, colours and activities. One child's likes or dislikes should not be a representative sample for all boys or girls.

There are no separate films for boys or girls. Why separate toys for them? Let toys be toys! Why restrict the freedom to play?

Pink and blue clearly distinguish spaces for little boys and girls, establishing gender stereotypes and carving out spaces within the home and the outside world.

Stereotyping also sends messages to all children that ‘girly’ is inferior, saying things like ‘you run like a girl’, ‘cry like a girl’, 'you are so girly because you like pink' etc.. Society should value and respect all traditional women’s work and refrain from using ‘girl’ or ‘girly’ as an insult.

Girls and boys are both entitled to equal rights and the same opportunities.

We know that gender-based violence and violence against women continues to destroy the lives of girls and women.

We live in a world where girls do not get to do things of their choice, a world where feminists are considered disgusting, but misogynism strikes up a light-hearted laugh, a world where a girl is treated badly, beaten and bruised, a world which trolls  girls and women when they raise their voice against any type harassment.

Who knows what the future holds for an innocent little mind?                                                               

We have spent decades discussing about gender stereotypes and neutrality. 

A generation that is equally treated today will treat each other equally tomorrow!                             

Parents should not raise children the way they were, but should be free to be themselves and allow them to choose any colour they want.

This is what people had to say when DH queried them on the topic of gender stereotype:

Jaylakshmi (homemaker): Gender stereotyping is necessary. Boys can't like girly stuff, it’s weird. I wouldn't let my son play with Barbie dolls. God, every time he holds one, it freaks me out. It’s just not his thing. People may say anything but certain things are that way for a reason, right?

Shivani Menon (student): It's funny when you think of it that people associate colors with gender and sexuality too. You look at women in pink and immediately assume that is feminine and soft. And you see a man in pink, it’s hard the word gay is used to accept it. A man in pink is considered feminine, not acceptable and gay. Gender stereotypes are not born one fine day. It's something deeply engraved within us ever since we were born.

Merlyn (student): Gender stereotype is something that I oppose. The choice should be given to children to choose what they want to. They should not be taught that since you are born a girl you should only play with pink toys. Why restrict them to a particular path? We should rather let them do what they want. When it comes to the toy industry, they design toys very stereotypically. Big eyes, long hair and pink dresses are only for girls. Colours have nothing to do with gender and it’s more of one's desire to choose the colour they like!

Sherin Grace (student): My view on the toy industry being stereotyped is actually not what it is supposed to be. People do buy dolls for boys and toy trucks for girls. Gender stereotype does not make any sense to me. Pink and blue colours are equally everyone's chooseable colours and nobody can associate gender with a particular colour. 

Praneetha (student): Blue is not a color baised on gender but pink surely is. Pink color is girly is something people have done. There's no rule that boys shouldn't wear pink. And yeah, why can’t boys play with Barbies when girls can play video games?    

Mikhail (student): I would say on a larger scale that colours play a role. When parents buy children presents, they buy pink stuff for girls, boys get almost any colour but except for pink. So as I have noticed girls either grow with the tendency to love pink or detest it.

Joseph (programmer): Matching blue and pink to specific genders, usually regarding small children, is inherently pointless. Those two colours have no defining traits that relate them to either gender. I have similar thoughts on the toy industry, which people associate boys to cars and girls to dolls.