Gender stereotypes give a simplified and standardised conception of the roles of male and female, both domestically and socially. They can be learnt at home, at school and through media. Defining men and women through stereotypes can affect the way they live, work, relate to others, and how others relate to them. The way a person fits into these stereotypes can affect her self-worth.
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Gender stereotyping can play a role in a person's career. Influences from society, media, parents and peers help create the stereotypes, like only women can be nurses or men make better CEOs, which was reflected in 2010 when only 15 CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies were women. Gender stereotypes make it more difficult for women to cross over into what has been labelled a "man's job," and vice versa. As children, these stereotypes can affect the course boys and girls take towards a particular career.
The stereotype that boy's don't cry can affect the way men process painful moments, leading to stress. For girls, who might be raised to think women are overly-emotional, the ability to handle crisis can also be affected. Placing emotional labels on genders can play a role in a person's emotional stability and affect the way others view the person if she isn't conforming to the stereotype. Boys taught that men should be aggressive can develop poor social skills.
The stereotype that men should be taller than women can cause some women to completely eliminate a guy simply on height, which can affect the way the man views himself. Feeling inadequate about your body can lead to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. Even if a woman has a low body weight, the stereotype that a woman should be skinny can cause her to believe she's overweight and possibly take drastic measures, like crash dieting. Media plays a large role in defining the ideal image men and women should strive for, even if it's not realistic.
Gender stereotypes on mental capacity can affect both men and women throughout their lives. The stereotype that boys are better in math and science, while girls are better in language arts, can stunt growth and make the children think that because of their gender they can't excel in a particular subject. This can affect the child's career, limiting his options. Or it can help give him confidence to keep pushing towards an area he's having difficulty with.
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- CNN; How Women Can Break Into the C-suite; Kaitlin Madden; May 4, 2011
- California State University, Long Beach:Gender Roles and Gender Differences
- The Soc Journal; Care Bears vs. Transformers: Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements; Dr. Monica Brasted; Feb. 17, 2010
- Education: Parents' Beliefs and Behaviors; Dr. Kathleen Moritz Rudasill & Dr. Carolyn M. Callahan
- University of North Carolina: Views and Consequences of Gender Stereotyping
- University of North Texas: Gender Stereotypes