Gender stereotyping has its own pitfalls. It puts people into typical brackets that forces people to behave because of their gender. Some typical gender stereotypes are:
Girls: are weak both physically and emotionally. They cannot handle criticism. They need to learn only how to look after their families. There is no need for them to be educated enough to work out of home. They are emotional and lack the practical skills to handle situations. They are moody and this affects their working.
Boys: are physically and emotionally strong, to the extent of being able to be cold and insensitive. Boys have to look after families and hence need to work out of home. They are more practical and take logical decisions. They are not affected by moods.
The fact that such stereotypes exist create many prejudices. These are assumptions which disregard a person’s abilities in favour of general trends. Choices and options get limited due to this. Girls are not presented with options of taking up careers which require heavy physical work because of such attitudes. Through history it has been noticed that women have been paid lesser even when they did the same type of jobs as men.
This was only because of the belief that women need not be paid as much only because they were women. The case of Razia Sultan who was a strong administrator but failed to make it as the ruler of Delhi is classic. The nobility refused to support her as her abilities were clouded by the fact that she was a woman.
Gender stereotyping affects not only women. Men come under tremendous pressure to play their masculine roles. A man is supposed to be macho, protective, and earn the bread for his home and look after the family. A sensitive man is often teased as being effeminate or weak. Men are portrayed in most media as violent, sexually abusive, and incompetent fathers. We often tell kids to be aware of men rather than women.
Be wary of reinforcing these stereotypes on your children.