In society, there are expectations people have of a certain group. They are always driven by whatever people are taught or have understood to exist over time. For example, the basic example is about the physical attributes of people; women are expected to be thin and beautiful while men are to be muscular and tall. However, there are exceptions in all stereotypic examples depending on the attribute in question. The paper details the scientific justification, impacts, development, prevention strategies, and how gender role stereotypes can be addressed.
It is not scientifically proven if there is a one-to-one relationship between specific hormones and the specific behaviors different genders assume to play. For example, testosterone is associated with aggressiveness but can also lead to antisocial behavior, which not all men display. Hormonal changes do not entirely depend on gender but on the critical life events at a particular stage in a person’s life. Ellemers further explains that the perceived intelligence gap between genders cannot be explained scientifically. Study reviews indicate that personality and social behaviors, cognitive abilities and performances, and psychological wellness of a person show more similarities than differences between genders. However, behavioral differences are evident in an individual instead of a group, proving that Biology is not the primary influence on gender behavioral differences (2018). Therefore, there is no scientific justification for gender stereotypes in any psychosocial stage of development.
Impact of Gender Role Stereotype
These stereotypes reflect what society expects from each gender at an individual level. People are generally assessed as a group, which always provides an inaccurate conclusion about one’s behavior. Ellemers acknowledges that not all traits apply to every group, and some people may produce characteristics different from the expected. These assumptions provide a non-conclusive assessment of an individual’s features as some can violate the stereotypical expectations, which causes inconsistency. For example, another behavior shifts from the dominant judgment people are accustomed to.
In most cases, people tend to assume the scarce behavior some individuals portray and confirm their already existing stereotypes (2018). From an educational perspective, general assessments always affect people’s perceptions of others. For example, male students are considered more talented than their female counterparts in science-related programs. Usually, that is not the case, as many female students perform better than males (Ellemers, 2018). Therefore, by the assumptions, one will get a piece of inaccurate information about an individual’s behavior and performance.
At an institutional level, gender role stereotypes account for workplace discrimination and sexism-rooted marginalization. In an employment context, identical CVs are sorted depending on the gender of the applicant. Moreover, the potential of both genders is evaluated in their workplaces, and men are perceived to perform better than females (Ellemers, 2018). During hiring, most employers look at the work-related skills of each employee with a specific eye to the traditional masculine and feminine positions. Rice and Barth reveal that the applicants are selected depending on the gender or occupational stereotype related to the position. Those that held the traditional roles related to the job always had the upper hand when selections employers made their selections (2017). An argument on which gender is better in management has never been conclusive. However, males have been deemed to be better leaders and suitable for managerial roles. These job positions are predominantly masculine and have been accepted as usual (Samuel & Mokoaleli, 2017). The explanation explains the differences in the number of top management positions. In other words, the differences are translated as the underrepresentation of women in these positions.
These stereotypes have harmed the already marginalized groups in society at the societal level. In some cases, for example, rape, women are expected to be more emotional than men if they are the victims. Therefore, when the victim does not show any emotions, people will conclude that they may be lying or manipulating whatever they say. Gender stereotyping is prevalent as it typically influences how people feel and respond to certain behaviors. Societal attitudes will always influence how people respond socially and how the police respond to services and the victims (Bates et al., 2019). Conclusively, gender stereotypes will always determine how victims respond and the form they will use in seeking help.
Development and Prevention Strategies
These behaviors are generally incorporated in people at a young age. As stated earlier, children start to define their sexual orientations and define their duties and roles during adolescence. Children usually learn these behaviors from their parents and lean on traditional roles (McLeod, 2013). For example, after delivering, women tend to embrace traditional female roles like decreasing the working hours and becoming embodied in housework chores and child care. On the other hand, fathers increase work hours to stabilize or increase their income. To prevent these steps, people need to embrace neutrality and prevent genders from embracing traditional gender roles as they impact career successes in women (Endendijk et al., 2018). Furthermore, stereotypes develop as people conform to the pressures induced during adolescence. Gender roles continuously develop and change over time depending on the phase of development (Halimi et al., 2021). Therefore, each gender grows up knowing the role they have to play and perfect it overtimes, leading to the strengthening of the stereotypes. These various sources of gender stereotypes are later absorbed by marginalized people, increasing the scope and spread (Ellemers, 2018). Hence, to prevent the development and spread of this phenomenon, people should be educated on their effects.
Addressing the Issue
There are several ways people can eliminate gender role stereotypes in communities. First, people need to acknowledge their pervasive nature and find a way to combat it. There is a need to listen to those who dislike and criticize the stereotypes rather than disliking and shaming them. The focus should be on combating the side effects and embracing the changes advocated. Second, the burden of proof should be lifted from disadvantaged people. This step will enable people to recognize the unequal behaviors propagated by gender role stereotypes. It will promote the urge to complain when facing a biased situation, resulting in missing an equal opportunity. Lastly, parents and guardian should educate their children on the descriptive and prescriptive nature of stereotypes. The knowledge will release them from early childhood ideologies on gender roles. Through sharing, children always create an experience and develop strategies to counter gender expectations (Ellemers, 2018). Therefore, gender role stereotyping can be addressed by applying the discussed aspects.
The identity versus role confusion stage of development is easier in explaining stereotypes as it represents the genesis of all stereotypes. It is a stage associated with defining one’s role-playing depending on their sexual orientation as males and females start regrouping to represent a change. This description is what happens in the adolescent stage, a period when children start identifying themselves sexually and occupationally (McLeod, 2013). At this time, society plays a vital role in defining their roles which represents the beginning of gender role stereotyping.
One notes that gender role stereotyping exists and starts at a young age, especially in adolescence. At this time, children always try to define their sexual and occupational orientation. The article has discussed the scientific justification, the effects, development, and prevention, and the steps one can take to address the problem. However, despite the few pieces of research on the topic, intelligence and role stereotypes still exist in societies. Much of the blame is permanently attached to the rigid and outdated stereotypical gender roles people grew up listening to. To eliminate this, people need to educate the younger ones on their dangers, lift the burden of proof from the disadvantaged, and acknowledge the negative stereotypes brought into society.
Bates, E. A., Klement, K. R., Kaye, L. K., & Pennington, C. R. (2019). The Impact of gendered stereotypes on perceptions of violence: A commentary. Sex Roles, 81(1–2), 34–43. Web.
Ellemers, N. (2018). Gender stereotypes. Annual Review of Psychology, 69(1), 275–298.
Endendijk, J. J., Derks, B., & Mesman, J. (2018). Does parenthood change implicit gender-role stereotypes and behaviors? Journal of Marriage and Family, 80(1), 61–79. Web.
Halimi, M., Davis, S. N., & Consuegra, E. (2021). The power of peers? Early adolescent gender typicality, peer relations, and gender role attitudes in Belgium. Gender Issues, 38(2), 210–237.
McLeod, S. (2013). Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, 11-12.
Rice, L., & Barth, J. M. (2017). A tale of two gender roles: The effects of implicit and explicit gender role traditionalism and occupational stereotype on hiring decisions. Gender Issues, 34(1), 86–102.
Samuel, O. M., & Mokoaleli, I. (2017). Analysis of gender and leadership role competencies, perceptions, and stereotypes in an organizational context. South African Journal of Business Management, 48(2), 55–66.