The understanding of gender and sex distinction make it clear that assigned sex is not necessarily always same as gender of a person. Gender, being a social construct, is mostly stereotyped in most cultures on the basis of gender roles.
Feminine and masculine traits are commonly interchanged as being female or male.You are expected to behave feminine if you are female and masculine if you are male. This categorization of gender into male and female binaries is the basis of gender stereotypes. Intersex individuals are also forced by the pressure of society to either undergo physical transformation , or choose to live as one of the binaries ( male or female ).
Gender stereotype is generalization of attributes and associate certain characteristics or roles to a group of people based on their preconceived gender. When such beliefs are held by society at large, it becomes difficult for individuals to discover their own identity , pursue a career of their own choosing and make life choices. Example of a stereotype is the commonly used argument that women should dress modestly to avoid rape, or attributing masculine traits as being a man.
Stereotyping of gender in society causes problems for both men and women , in most societies men are considered to be dominant and entire social systems are built around these beliefs.
In an ideal society there would be no concept of gender and everyone would get equal opportunity regardless of their biological sex.
Kinds of Gender Stereotypes
- Personality - Women are expected to be feminine , soft hearted and emotional whereas men are expected to be strong , not easily get emotional and be aggressive in nature.
- Domestic - Women take care of the home , cleaning , children etc while men take care of the finances. The belief that man is the head of home is also a gender stereotype.
- Appearance - Women are supposed to be thin and graceful whereas men are expected to be strong and muscular. Another example is the pink color associated with women and blue with men.
- Occupation - When it comes to career choices , gender stereotypes limit individuals into choosing certain kind of work that's deemed appropriate by society for them based on their gender, for example any work that requires physical labor isn't considered appropriate for females , in most cultures everything other than household work is not allowed to women.