Gender Stereotyping | Are We Moving Forward? 1


Written by Carl Turner | Dadtastic Voyage

With the recent announcement of the first female Dr Who, and tough new rules on gender stereotyping being introduced to end outdated expectations of women cleaning and washing while men struggle to do basic domestic duties. It has quickly become clear that as a society are still firmly holding on to the outdated gender stereotypes of;
“Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails, That’s what little boys are made of. Sugar and spice and all things nice, That’s what little girls are made of.”

So who’s to blame? Film and Television? The parents? Marketing and branding Companies?

Film and Television

Those pre-nursery children who are just beginning to identify as boys or girls. The characters they see on TV and in films often have masculine or feminine appearances, such as a superhero’s big muscles or a princess’ long hair. Fast-forward to the tween and teen years, when characters begin to deal with relationships and job prospects. That “masculine” superhero becomes aggressive and hostile. That “feminine” princess become submissive and weak.

For young audiences who absorb ideas from the media on how to behave and what to become, this can lead to false assumptions and harmful conclusions. But let’s be honest; Exaggerating the differences between boys and girls is also just a ploy to keep audiences entertained. It’s not what we really want our kids to emulate.

While there are movies and TV shows that defy gender stereotypes like the recently realised Wonder Woman and Dr Who, Hollywood is starting to make some progress so credit where credit is due. For those parents out there who are worrying, you’re not going to able to stop your little ones from seeing everything that sends them the wrong message.  Fortunately, the most powerful messages kids absorb are from you. When you role-model gender equality, speak out against stereotypes and challenge outdated ideas, kids will hear that loud and clear.

The Parents

We as parents, whether consciously and subconsciously cloud our children’s world with subtle and not so subtle messages. Many parents who think they are gender unbiased, actually aren’t. When we look at gender swapping in girls and boys there is a strong bias. Most parents have no problem with their girl being a ‘tomboy’, wearing shirts and jeans, playing with trucks and cars.

However, when it comes to boys being a ‘sissy’, wearing dresses and skirts and playing with dolls, there is a little hesitation. This is mainly due to society dictating what normal behaviour of young boys and girls should be. Our society has strong opinions about appearance and behaviour and children pick them up very quickly.

There are many ways parents and others are trying to combat this.There is a campaign asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys. I think these initiatives are necessary, they raise awareness of the issues.

 

Only when the primary care for children is shared equally between Mum and Dad will we really start to influence the change. But every little helps. We are making progress, and our children will not be making the same conclusions as ourselves or our parents.

 

Written by Carl Turner | Dadtastic Voyage

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