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Gender stereotypes and influence

BY Linxin Jiang

Even in this modern society, there are many hidden and visible gender stereotypes that happen every time, every day. Gender stereotypes affect not only a single group of people but the entire population.

No matter what gender or sexual orientation you are, you are being hurt by gender stereotypes in one way or another. For a long time, people had stereotypes in their minds. Men should be powerful, rational, hard working, and good at repairing things. Women are emotional,  good at housework, and they can be less educated as long as they are getting married. To them, everyone should follow the rules; whoever didn’t, became potential targets.

For women, gender stereotypes are very harmful and their aftereffects are extremely prominent. Women can be ignored in the work environment because they used to be labeled as emotional, unprofessional, and good at raising children. Some women don’t even have the right to decide if they want to have a child or not. When a female decides not to have a child, her family might give her enough pressure to make her give up on what she really wants. Their reasons could be that ‘every woman goes through this’, ‘you are so selfish if you don’t have at least one child’,‘when you are getting older, you will regret it’. However, marriage is not as simple as fairy tales portray them to be. Every fairy tale ends with the prince and the princess living happily together. As a woman who is brave enough to get married and have a child. There is a very high chance that she will need to do all the housework and cook for the family, despite going to work just like her husband.

As a female who majors in Computer Science, I have been questioned by others since the first day when I picked this major. No one believes me when I say I picked this major because I love coding, instead they question if I have good logic to write code. When they finally accepted that I want to become a programmer, they suggested that I become a front-end developer because it requires less logic. When I answer by saying I hope I can be a front-end developer only because I love building user interfaces, they always have an “I told you” expression on their faces. They want to tell me how ‘smart’ they are for giving such useful suggestions. Sitting in a classroom where ninety percent of the students are male, I sometimes wonder if studying and working with mostly males is really what I want to do? After two years of exploring the technology field, I came to the realization that I am not the one who needs to change. In addition, I encourage more women to try and explore more about technology.

Most men believe that they don’t need to fight for anything. But the reality is that many of their rights are gone without notice. According to this quote from my People and Language class. One of the articles points out, “Many researchers have reported that both sexes engage in gossip… but its cultural meaning (for us) is undeniably ‘feninine’. Therefore we might expect to find most men avoiding it, or disguising it as something else, especially in mixed settings where they are concerned to mark their difference from women ”(Cameron). To keep their masculinity, they are forced to act like they don’t like gossip.

Men get upset when women try to fight to get their power back. They claim that women already have a lot of power nowadays as opposed to in the past. They stigmatize feminism by saying women who support feminism are asking for more than they deserve and are taking men’s rights and power. They argue that feminism is a means for women to get more money without taking on any responsibilities. Ultimately, they don’t feel that women have been treated unfairly. They even claim that women have more rights and power than men at times, however, it is undeniable that our society is patriarchal. 

Does this mean men don’t need to fight for anything?

The answer is surprisingly no, everyone in this society needs to fight for themselves. This  is because men ask women to follow the gender model. That means, according to their logic, they should be powerful, rational, work hard, and good at repairing things. When men ask women to stay at home to take care of children and do housework, they are asking themselves to work harder to feed everyone in the house. When they ask their wife for anything, they need to consider that their daughters may be placed in the same position when they grow up and get married.

If there are no gender stereotypes, the LGBTQ community wouldn’t have had to go through what they had been through.

At first, the church was against homosexuality. Although we can no longer know the real reason, the following are some popular conjectures. For example: ‘church wants to have better control’, ‘stable population’, and ‘against the Bible story’. When something becomes common sense, it is very difficult for us to break it down. 

According to the video, “Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson”, Michael Lynch said when she thinks about Marsha P. Johnson, she thinks Marsha is someone who kids today who are gay know nothing about which is a shame. Because she‘s one of the reasons they are sitting in all their liberty glory. Marsha paid the price for who she was.

Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen, who was known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights. She was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

One big thing in Marsha and Sylvia’s life was that they had formed a group called STAR (Street transvestite action revolutionaries). They were able to operate an apartment as a shelter for homeless transgender youths, who were kicked out of their home for being transgender.

During the interview, Michael said: “I’m not intending to live 20 more years. I don’t want 20 more years of this wonderful life of disco romance. They call me a legend in my own time because there are so many queens gone that I’m one of the few queens still left from the 70s.”

Feminism is never just for women. People who are controlling this game want us, men and women, to fight with each other over small things. Therefore, they can take away bigger things from us without notifying us. 

 

References:

Cameron, Deborah. Performing Gender Identity. 1999. 

Frameline Voices – Pay It No Mind: The Life and … – Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo0nYv9QIj4. 

One thought on “Gender stereotypes and influence

  1. Hilarie Ashton

    Linxin,

    You have some wonderful ideas in your piece that you express really evocatively and powerfully. In particular, the way you talk about your own experience majoring in computer science after laying out the context for the harm of gender stereotypes is really sharply done.

    You also do a great job posing and answering your own question, “does this mean men don’t need to fight for anything?” The answer would be stronger with some integrated quotes from the texts you use or from something like the Angela Davis that we read.

    The second half of your essay is not as strong. It’s not made clear from the beginning why you write about women and then queer people in separate groups. You can absolutely do that: you just have to make it clear upfront. And the style of your paragraphs is different enough from the first half (shorter, less fluid) that it takes a reader out of the essay.

    With a little more editing, you can do more justice to your great ideas.

    I’m looking forward to your final projects!

    Prof. A

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