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Gender Stereotypes

Gender Stereotypes

For centuries, people have developed stereotypical ideas of the image of a man and a woman and applied them to all members of a particular gender, regardless of their individual characteristics and age. These stereotypes can be divided into two groups, namely, differences between men and women by nature and differences formed under the influence of society. In modern social sciences, the concept of gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of differences in behavior, mentality, and emotional reactions between men and women. The named term reflects not individual identification and personal characteristics but sociocultural stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, the sexual division of labor in social institutions and organizations. The stereotype is a standardized, schematized, simplified, flattened, usually brightly emotionally colored image of some social object (phenomenon, process), possessing considerable stability but fixing in itself only some its features. Sometimes, it is defined as an inaccurate, irrational, overly general representation. In a broad sense, this is a traditional canon of thought and perception, a patterned manner of behavior.

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Stereotyped Male Image

Sexual stereotypes reflect the concept of masculinity and femininity and relate primarily to the anthropometric characteristics. In mass consciousness, a woman, compared to man, is shorter, has less body weight, narrower shoulders, a wider pelvis, and less muscle strength. It is also widely believed that women are weaker than men, etc.

The physiological characteristics that differentiate men from women in mass consciousness include aggression, dominance, self-confidence, independence, courage, rudeness, activity, and logical thinking. A typical masculine image is a set of traits associated with a socially non-limiting behavior style, competence, and rational abilities, activity, and efficiency. In general, psychologists attributed more positive qualities to men than to women. At the same time, many authors believe that excessive accentuation of both typically masculine and typically feminine traits acquires a negative estimated undertone. The rudeness, authoritarianism, and excessive rationalism are admitted to the negative qualities of men. It has also been found that men show much greater consistency with respect to typically masculine qualities.

The Problem of Stereotypical Thinking

If we analyze the ideas of the personal qualities of men and women in terms of their attractiveness, then a clear advantage will remain for women. A man, despite a number of advantages, is a sort of monster (aggressive, ambitious, rude, impudent, arrogant, cruel, uncouth, intolerable, self-centered, lazy, boastful, self-confident, unkind). Compared to him, a woman is just an angel, she is kind, humane, democratic, acutely experiencing injustice, more responsive to other people's experiences, and is against violence. In addition, she is softhearted, calm, attractive, and submissive. Compared with these virtues, forgetfulness, incontinence, hysteria, depression, short temper, envy, talkativeness are just small female weaknesses.

Meanwhile, many modern researchers believe that the concepts of "male" and "female" do not reflect the essence of the phenomenon that they should disclose. They only mislead people because the qualities that are considered to be inherent in men are sometimes more often found in women, and vice versa. We need to realize that each person is individual and get rid of stereotypical thinking.

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