Breaking Out From The Gender Stereotypes Essay
When we started this class on gender stereotypes, I thought I know a lot about it as I am a woman. It is however interesting that there are gender stereotypes that we do not recognize because they become normal that nobody complains about it. As Hackman in mentioned in the introduction of Sexism, 50% of the world’s population are oppressed but revolution is nowhere to be found. It is because the oppression has become normal and it became part of our daily lives.
As we started the class, we were asked about the value of women. Our teacher asked us to stand and form one line. She moreover asked us to step forward if we agree and step backward if we disagree that women’s value is staying at home caring for the kids and the husband while depending on the husband financially. In this exercise, most of the women that include me stepped backward while majority of our male classmates stepped forward. The result of the activity only gives us a hint that women do not like to be confined at home waiting for their husbands to come home. The reaction of the male students means that they see it normal for women to stay at home while men go to work to provide for their families. It was the system since time immemorial that it became normal. Women have endured this set-up that they want to go out and find their self-worth.
We asked our male classmates why they think that women’s value is at home and most of them answered that it is the way it should be. It is part of the basic teachings at school and even at the Church. They also asked us why we think that our value as women is not confined at home. Most of us answered that it is not only sexist that women are kept at home to serve for their families. It is more of curtailing her privilege to find her niche and succeed in the arena that is usually dominated by men.
Truly, we learned about how men control the resources and power for their benefit. Moreover, Hackman mentioned that ever since, men have the control over the ideology of gender that reinforces the stereotypes. First and foremost according to Hackman is attaching the words masculine and feminine to the male and female sexes. Hackman explained that we are taught about the gender roles that male should be masculine which means, they do not cry, they are tough, they do not ask for directions and others that affirms their dominance over female. Women on the other hand are taught to be feminine that they should always look beautiful for the benefit of men. Moreover, women are emotional, domestic, natural caretakers and other characteristics that are apt for subordinate. These gender roles are naturally evolving in the society.
As the discussion goes on, our male classmate started to talk about what they observe regarding the male attacking their wives while the women cannot do anything but to cry. They realized that it is the gender stereotypes that disempowers women and gives more power to men. Sometimes, it is leading to violence against women. It was concluded in the class that it is not men’s fault alone but the whole system of the society. It is the patriarchal and anti-women gender roles that push men to abuse women.
We then concluded that in order to break out from these gender stereotypes, women cannot do it alone. Women need the help of enlightened men to push for a society that regards men and women equal. I know that it will be a long journey but it should start now nor never. All women should break out from the trap of distorted gender roles and work hand in hand with men to bring about a society where our children and our children’s children will thrive regardless of gender, race and class.
In one meeting during the gender roles class, we were asked by our teacher of things about men and women if we disagree or not. The teacher asked me if it is right that men are reigning in other professions like engineering, and pilot while women are in health care and social work. I contemplated first then told our teacher that the people’s choices of profession are still guided by gender stereotypes. For example, because men are taught to be masculine, they should also choose a profession which is attached to masculinity like engineering, and architecture. They are not directly told to choose the said courses but the gender stereotypes that are already embedded in their system pushes men to choose.
On the other hand, women choose to enter into professions that are deemed feminine like social work and health care because as mentioned by Hackman, one of the gender stereotypes for women is being natural caretakers. Society has already branded girls to be the ones caretakers that even in professions; it is still unusual to see male nurses or social workers. In the media profession, women are thriving with male counterparts however, in the United States, female journalists are confined with “soft” coverage that includes lifestyle, fashion, entertainment, and features. Male journalists still dominate the hard coverage that include politics, finance, war and others that are detrimental to nation building.
Together with my classmates, we also scrutinized the business profession where only a handful of women are landing in managerial positions or in the positions that includes decision making. Women in the business world are mostly seen in the front desk and secretary tables. Even in the movies, women are portrayed as such. I rarely see movies portraying empowered women in the business sector. Moreover, I have never seen a movie with a female pilot. In the U.S., female characters in the films are portrayed as submissive. If they are portrayed as empowered, they still should look sexy and beautiful.
I realized that it is very difficult to break the gender stereotypes. It is as I have said embedded into the core of the society that nurtures male and female population to be masculine and feminine. Indeed, it is true that talking about gender according Lorber in her article entitled “Night to His Day” is like a fish talking about water. In the said article that we discussed in class, it cited Simone Beauvoir’s quotation that goes: “It is nor born but rather becomes a woman; It is civilization as a whole that produces this creaturewhich is described as feminine” (“Sexism,” 325).
With this lesson, we learned that breaking out of gender stereotypes is not a walk in the park. It is a passion that every human being should possess in order to be successful in dismantling the said gender stereotypes that regards women as weaker counterpart of men.
One of the worrying results of the feminine gender stereotypes is seeing women undergo surgery just to meet the society’s standard of beautiful. Some add silicone to their breast and stretch their skin to look younger than their age. These activities are done in order to feel accepted in a society that has set standards on who is female and male.
I think that education as an institution should already start instilling among the students how to break out of gender stereotypes. In our class alone, I am a witness of how the minds of men and women are opened regarding the stereotypes that they previously thought as normal occurrence.