The paper "Are Gender Stereotyped Roles Correct?" is a delightful example of an essay on gender and sexuality studies. The society, schools, parents, friends, and media shape men and women how to act or behave and what men and women can do and cannot do. Gender roles form clearly separated circles between men and women, and people try to fit themselves in one these circles.
I had a classmate from my physiology class at East Los Angeles College last summer. At first, I could not tell whether a student is a male or a female. The student wore a black jacket, dark-colored jeans and glasses having a black frame. The clothes did not bear any resemblance to that worn by girls. I did not see the student’s body shape because the clothes were too loose. Furthermore, the student’s hair was very short. He/she had the hair parted on the left side. One day I had a chance to hear his/her voice when it was the student’s turn to give a presentation. The voice was like that of a boy’s who is about to enter into puberty soon. It sounded slightly cracked, but I did not see Adam’s apple on his/her neck. I was busy analyzing all the information to fit the student in one of the two categories: male and female. One day another student sat next to the student asking his/her name. My eyes were on a book, but my ears were deeply hooked onto their conversation. It was a girl’s name. The student was a woman. I questioned myself: What is wrong with her? Why is she wearing clothes like that? Why does she have that hairstyle? Since she concentrated on studying and didn’t talk to anyone, I thought to myself that she might be suffering from some problem, or she might be a loner in high school. It could be that she liked short hair because it saved her time in the morning, and she might be fond of big clothes because they were very comfortable. I had ridiculed her personality even before I knew her simply because she was not in sync with my standards of a woman’s persona. I had judged her personality based on her appearance. Kalof claims, “People use the physical appearance to make a wide variety of stereotyped judgments about the behavior and personality of others” (1999: 69).
Individuals have stereotyped standards pertaining to each gender as to what he/she is supposed to look like and how he/she is supposed to behave. They then estimate him/her by these standards.
My younger brother asked me to cook noodles for him because he was very hungry. I agreed and started cooking. In cooking noodles, the trick is to adjust the amount of water. If the water is too much, it would be insipid. If water is little, it would be salty. I had finished cooking the noodles when my brother came to me and lifted the lid saying that it looked salty. So, I added cold water into the pot and turned on the stove. He said, “Oh my god, sister! The noodles are going to become sodden! I might need a spoon, not chopsticks!” Since then my brother never asked me to cook for him again. I felt shameful and was disappointed at myself. I was even angry when I heard my mother saying that my brother cooks very well. I started to learn cooking from my mother. I have associated cooking strongly as one of the women’s roles and I believe women cook better than men. Sinno reports in her article “Moms at work and dads at home: Children's evaluations of parental roles”, that children clearly distinguish and describe the caretaker for mother’s role and breadwinner for father’s role (2009). She also states, “Children’s and adolescents’ struggles to understand gender norms in the school context may stem from their emerging notions of gender roles in the family context” (2009:17). Our environment shows and teaches us that the separation of gender roles when depicted in the Venn diagram. There is no overlap area in this diagram as far as gender roles are concerned. Men may and can cook better than women, and women can fix some things better than men. However, the gender-stereotyped society forces us to think of this phenomenon (as mentioned above) as a “womanish” man and a “mannish” woman.
I have been working in postpartum for three years. When I entered a patient’s room, I greeted the patient. I, then, glimpsed at a name card to find out whether it was a baby boy or a girl. A blue card represents a boy and pink represents a girl. It is hard to distinguish a baby’s sex by looking at a baby’s face. I told the parents that their baby is “cute” if the baby was a girl and “handsome” if the baby was a boy. I, then, explained to patients about newborn care. I told them to change the diaper for the boy as fast as possible. Babies resist diaper change because they feel cold since cold wipes may be used whereas boys may sometimes urinate while the diaper is being changed. They might urinate on the parent’s clothes or any other object. I explained this to the parents and added that boys are bad and trouble makers. Furthermore, I compared a boy to a girl by claiming that girls do not give parents any problem; they are sweet-natured. If girls urinate when a diaper is not on, the parents only need to change a blanket in the crib. Boys’ and girls’ urination patterns are different because of the genital anatomy; however, I characterize the anatomical difference to gender stereotypes. According to Wharton, “A child’s gender gives us important clues about him or her. Specifically, a child’s gender conveys to our information, expectations of behavior and personality, and offers some guidelines for interaction” (2012:137). Even though infants have not developed a gender identity, adults shape the newborn child’s behaviors and characteristics as female or male.
To conclude, we live in a gender-stereotyped society. Learning gender roles starts from a very early age and continues until we die. Gender stereotyped roles are norms. They are not part of the law, but we need to obey it. If someone does not follow them or is against it, he/she ends up getting ashamed and feeling a misfit in society.