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Gender Roles and Their Effect on Society

Sept. 27, 2020

Gender roles are the reason you feel pressured, by peers, mutuals, family, and even strangers. An example of this could be feeling as if “pink” was pushed onto you as a child. You also could feel you never fit the “mold” we were pressured into like, a perfect body, blonde hair, clear skin, and blue eyes. I am going to tell you now, these molds were made to feel unreachable and to bring others down. And you know what? It is normal to be different! Your peers and mutuals are not going to look like you because they are not you! 

Photo by Eli Rezkallahor

So, what even are gender roles? Gender roles are duties such as grooming, actions, words, and clothes that society has placed upon a group of people or individuals who identify as that gender. Every culture has its expectations and these roles are applied based on the current perspective the society has. These perceptions of character and molds that are placed upon people can rarely be reversed. Gender roles can come from deep-rooted misogyny, toxic/fragile masculinity, and even just stereotypes. 

Here are some stereotypes you may feel the need to fit. 

  1. Pink is a “girl” color and blue is a “boy” color. 

  2. Men cannot wear skirts. 

  3. Women should shave their body hair. 

  4. Men cannot cry. 

  5. Women should act “ladylike”.

  6. Men cannot wear makeup-it is too feminine. 

Why are gender roles so bad? Why do they bring negative effects?

Gender roles can lead to a higher risk of manipulation, slut shaming, violence,

Photo by Eli Rezkallahor

suicide, substance abuse, and unwanted pregnancy. This is because the pressure society places leads us to use escapism tactics that may do more harm than good. The common notions like “boys don’t cry” and “girls need to cover up” are very harmful for many reasons. It teaches girls it is their fault boys cannot control themselves, it teaches girls to feel guilty about their body, and also teaches girls that their bodies are to be determined by others. Boys, girls, and all genders are affected by gender roles in different and individualized ways. 

How can we solve this major issue? 

1. Usage of the media!

Tiktok and other popular social media platforms can and have brought upon new positive, self- identifying ideas for what is “acceptable” in today’s society! 

a. By knowing what you like, you can influence others to wear what they enjoy as well! You are amazing and self-expression is important to a person’s mental health.

2. Allow yourself to be the “basic” stereotype or even the “alt” or anything you prefer! There is this notion where you are of less value than someone else simply because of the style you resonate with. 

Being “basic”, or “goth”, or “alt”, or “unconventional” isn’t a bad thing! Allow yourself to live your life, no one else can do it better than you can! You truly are worth so much and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. It is okay to cry, be sensitive, be angry, wear skirts, wear pants, and express yourself in a way that feels most YOU.

3. Continue to share your voice! We have our rights and privileges to express ourselves from activism. We can’t stop now! We need to continue to fight and not stop until everyone feels safe enough to be themselves. 

a. You can share your voice by putting your anti-social norm looks/ideas on social media for everyone to see. This will encourage others to step out of the box-or even find that what they love is the “basic” idea (and that’s perfectly okay!) 

b. You can also educate yourself and others. By becoming informed you can find a way to help those who are being further oppressed by gender roles. 

c. You can finally donate and contribute to those fighting for equality and against gender roles. Gender roles have brought upon wage gaps, preconceived notions of a person’s values, and even have created assumptions to be made about a person depending on how they dress/act. 

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