MALE AND FEMALE STEREOTYPES
Stereotype: ‘a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.’
Stereotypes are a vicious cycle and stem from so many different places. We’ve probably all stereotyped other people, fallen for stereotypes of ourselves and others and then complained about those stereotypes. I’ve noticed that stereotypes will cause you to diminish the depth of a person’s character. It’s so easy to identify people as merely stereotypes, because they are very common and they have become so ingrained that you may not always be conscious as to when you are using them. Stereotypes will cause you misinterpret the world and how people truly are if you base your judgements of others on them.
I am going to use the example of MALE AND FEMALE…
Some male stereotypes are: that they are bad, trash, dogs, cheaters, only interested in ‘one thing’, sporty, emotionless, shallow, controlling, unreasonable, condescending, deceiving, promiscuous, aggressive, have no self control, predators, immature, disappointing, troublesome, relationship givers, only care about money etc.
I’ve seen a lot of negative and hurtful words being spoken about men and male shaming, particularly on social media. I think that saying certain things even as joke is more damaging than it seems. Don’t underestimate the power of what you say. In the Bible, it says: ‘The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.’ (Proverbs 18:21 NLT.) I noticed that young men are bombarded with negative messages about who they are. These negative words can send subliminal messages to men, because labels do stick and as a consequence they can cause men to slowly fit the mould they are being literally accused of constantly. Thus, males will begin to feel almost obliged to follow the expectation given of them, if that’s all they hear. Sadly, many males are made to feel guilty of being something and have to fight off labels that they are not. If you’ve had a negative experience with male(s). It’s completely unfair and inaccurate to assume another male will be the same or to immediately equate a male’s faults/weaknesses to their gender. Although, males are portrayed to be tough, these stereotypes are damaging and hurtful and it’s not fair that men are expected to just deal with them.
On a positive note, the effort to develop the well-being of males is growing, for example: ‘The Man Up campaign’ : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSAeOhCrv_s
Similarly, women are also given stereotypes, being portrayed to be:
Only interested in their physical appearance and relationships. They are stereotyped to be weak, dependent, emotional, gossip, superficial, shallow, sensitive, sexual objects, only good for house work and taking care of children, inferior to males etc.
Many young females begin to identify themselves in the wrong way as society gives them the message that their value is for example, in their body or in a man. But then, they are also shamed that they only care about how they look etc. So, it can be very confusing for women as mixed messages are sent of who they should be. It’s impossible to win. Society tries to also limit female’s abilities and only celebrates them to a limited extent, not always allowing them to rise above males, as seen in many working environments where women are less likely to be promoted to higher positions. Sadly, many females also fall for stereotypes and external opinions and as a result carry around this pressure to act according to these rules and try not to step out of line.
My advice: is to be the change you want to see in the world. If you don’t want to be stereotyped then you must also not stereotype. Make the choice to contradict social norms and how society wants you to think. Don’t let stereotypes be the lens through which you see people. Give individuals a chance to be who they are don’t make a whole gender guilty of one person’s actions. It’s really is not anyone’s place to label others. God, says He created us all to be unique: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations”( Jeremiah 1:4-5). Instead of looking for problems with the opposite gender, be open minded with each new person you meet. ‘So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.’ (Genesis 1:27-28), See the person God created them to be.
I’m not saying to be naive and act like everyone is perfect. However, to love one another and break free from generalisations, both genders must work together and not against each other. It’s too easy to just label and shame others actions, but you don’t have to do that. In the real world, people cannot be fit into the boxes created by society. Yes, people do have their faults but the solution is not to continue feeding the stereotype as that may be the cause of some people’s behaviour to begin with.
If you think about yourself and the complexity and depth of your character, this is also the case with everyone else you meet. Don’t judge others because you really don’t know their story. If you look for stereotypes within people that’s what you will see, if you look for their uniqueness you will see their beauty.
Personally, I have fallen for stereotypes and God has revealed these things to me and that it’s not compulsory to believe them. How are we able to love one another whilst at the same time judging labelling and shaming? Both Male and Females are created in the image of God, defined, and given their value by God. It’s not our roles to try and define and fix each other. Males and females have their differences and it’s best to embrace them. Let’s choose to speak words of life to each other.
You don’t have to believe what the world is telling you to believe about yourself. You don’t have to carry these burdens. Pray to God, ‘Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.(Psalm 55:22). God cares about what you care about!
Thank you for reading, God bless!!