Can you solve the following riddle?
One day, a father was driving his son to school when they were both badly injured in an accident and had to go to hospital. The doctors at the hospital decided that the boy needed to have an operation at once, so they called the surgeon. A few minutes later, the surgeon arrived, looked at the boy and said, “I can’t operate on this boy – he’s my son!”
The children in the following film are asked to draw people doing different jobs. Watch up to 2:07 and answer the following questions:
- What kind of jobs do they draw?
- What gender do they choose for the people they draw? Male, female or both?
Now watch the rest of the film. What happens? How do the children react. Why?
Our society has a set of ideas about how we expect men and women to dress, behave, and present themselves. Gender stereotypes are generalizations about the roles of each gender, how each gender should act. These generalizations are not always accurate. Gender roles themselves are neither positive nor negative. Stereotypes about gender on the other hand can be negative or positive and can cause unequal and unfair treatment because of a person’s gender. This is called sexism.
Which of the following adjectives are related to men and which are related to women? Can you think of any more to add in the list?
Make a list of stereotypical gender roles
If men show any feminine traits they are considered weak and are often not taken seriously. Have you noticed that society is more gentle on girls if they don’t correspond to gender roles than boys? Girls can be “tomboys", but that’s not necessarily negative, while calling a boy a "sissy" is very offensive.
Arya Stark, fictional character from the popular TV series "Game of Thrones"
Gender stereotypes begin the second a baby’s gender is found out. As soon as we find out it’s a girl, we immediately begin decorating a pink room filled with butterflies and flowers. Stereotyping is no different when it’s found out that a boy is on the way. The room is painted blue, and the theme is usually something like jungle animals or dinosaurs. As a result children start to learn gender roles very early and by the age of 3-4 they already have a fixed idea of what men and women are supposed to do.
In the following video how is the girl discouraged from science and technology?
Compare the previous video with this one. What are the differences?
In the following video an eight-year-old girl compares the different slogans found on girls' and boys' T-shirts.
- How are these slogans different?
- Who are these slogans mostly unfair for? Boys or girls? Why?
How many of the stereotypes we discussed are true of many men or women that you know? They may even be true for you personally, but they do not apply to every single man or woman alive. That is what makes them stereotypes; the fact that these things are considered, "the norm" and expected of every male or female. Each person is an individual and it is perfectly normal for a woman to run her own business or play professional football. On the other hand it is also perfectly acceptable for a man to be a nurse or hate sports, or enjoy cooking. Men and women are individuals; they are more than just male or female. Our gender is only part of who we are; it does not define us as people.
Change the narrative - Break the box
Text adapted from
Opening image from: