Stereotyping gender is harmful; Take “gender norms” away


Trinity Mell

Men and women go through stereotypical “gender norms” on the daily, it happens all around the world. Many people are tired of this and want to stop this from happening as it hurts more than doing any good. People who don’t want to get rid of the stereotypes are the ones who think people shouldn’t do or be certain things. 


Everyone stereotypes people whether you realize it or not, many of us keep it hidden, but others like to voice their opinion. Stereotyping is extremely emotionally and mentally harmful to men and women, especially if they are in their teenage years. It affects both genders. Young girls are dropping out of school, going into deep depression, and being exposed to violence. Young boys are starting physical fights with one another, abusing drugs, and taking their own lives. If you can not see how harmful “gender norms” are just wait until statistics open your eyes. 


Putting kids under the pressure of being normal and fighting them are preventing them from having an open, creative mind. Young children are led to believe that they are equal but once they hit puberty, things seem to go down hill. Tweens and teens are being taught that women, “stay at home and nurture” while men “go to work and provide”. This is stunting their brain from being able to understand they do not need to fit society’s gender normalities. 


Men are being suppressed and aren’t allowed to talk about their feelings because,”it isn’t manly.” Telling men, especially boys at a young age, that they are not allowed to show any emotions is damaging to their self esteem and making them think they are wrong for being human. Men make up a majority of the suicide victims in the U.S, “Men account for 75 percent of all suicide victims in the U.S., with one man taking his own life every 20 minutes.” They would rather take their own life then to talk about what is bothering them. Women on the other hand are more likely to drop out of school at a young age because of pregnancy. They have been told that getting pregnant is their purpose so they try and fulfill it. They also decide to get married at a young age because again that is what they are told is what is expected from them. A majority of the reason the pregnant girls drop out is because they are not being catered to, “it was their choice to get pregnant” is many school staff members’ excuse on why pregnant girls shouldn’t do something easier, “The P.E. coach made me run when I was 2½ months [pregnant]. I told him that I was pregnant. He told me to run but not fast (Hispanic female).” School staff members do not care about the safety of the pregnant girls nor their unborn baby which makes the young girls drop out to try and provide their baby with the best they can do for them. 


Men and women suffer one common issue, sexual harassment. 81% of women have experienced sexual harassment, 43% of men have experienced it. You may be thinking why is the number so low if it’s a common issue, again men don’t speak about their experiences because they are, “not being manly” or “that can’t happen to guys.” This is why it’s harmful. “It found that 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime.” Sexual harassment happens everywhere, day and night. 100,000+ men have been sexually assaulted in the military, shame keeps the victime quiet, “More than 100,000 men have been sexually assaulted in the military in recent decades.” Women are sexually assaulted more at their workplace than anywhere else. 16 year old Madison got a job as a waitress, two male managers started harassing her with sexual comments that made her uncomfortable, it soon got worse. “They would come up behind me … and they would just rub up against me,” Madison said.” After it happens the victim feels shame and guilt as if it is their fault.


If you still believe that stereotyping genders and continuing gender normality is ok, you are a part of the problem. Teenagers and adults are becoming depressed and committing suicide over these types of things. They feel like a burden to society because they couldn’t live up to the standards of gender norms so they took what they believed was the easy way out. Men and women are no different, stop treating them as if they are.