Throughout time there have been different changes in our mindsets, we have begun to view things differently, and learned about how not everything is the way it used to. Gender norms are ways society expects us to behave depending on our gender since birth, and it has been present generation after generation trying to fit us into the “perfect” stereotype. Since the day we are born, we are pushed into all these different stereotypes. These are not true, since every person has their own personality, style, attitude, regardless of their gender.
Even though it’s true women and men are different physically, that does not mean mentally, or emotionally. Frequently, when people compare women to men, or boys to girls, they tend to do it by the average stereotype, which is usually wrong. When you meet someone, you can’t know anything about them depending on their sex. Actually, there are analyses that say there are more differences between two girls or two boys, than a girl from a boy.
We grow with the idea of how we should behave, and until a certain point in our lives it does not affect us. However, what happens when we grow up?
Have you ever been with a friend group and heard some say, “You scream like a girl” or “Behave like a man!”? But the real question is, what is it to behave as a man? Why is there the need to give men and women a way to act?
A few norms society decided correspond to each gender could be something such as, women are superior at subjects to do with letters, while men are much better at science or math. Evidently, this stereotype is incorrect, since the approximate number of women and men being equally good at math or science, is higher than the amount of men being better at it, and the same goes with letters. Another “norm” would be the way people dress. For example, some people presume men can’t wear dresses, skirts, or wear makeup. Men that do this can be called gay or queer, just for liking it. In fact, this also makes it an assumption that all gay men wear makeup, which clearly is not true.
All of these, and more gender norms have not only affected people while growing up, but also people trying to identify themselves. For instance, transgender people. A transgender person is someone who does not feel identified with the sex they are born with, so they transition into a different gender. For example, there are transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, etc. You are probably asking yourself, how do gender norms affect them? Actually, they do make their situation really difficult. They suffer from social stigma as well as society assuming their gender or pronouns, proof of the gender norms we have discussed.
I really recommend watching this video, it was made by the New York Magazine, and it shows what children think about these gender stereotypes.
In my opinion, gender should not determine how you behave as a person. Whatever you like to do, or however you like to dress, completely depends on you and what you like. It’s our society who has given all these norms, and now is our job to debunk them. It would be a much nicer world with a greater environment for us to live if we could just be whoever we want to be. Let’s now teach younger children about this topic, and allow our generation, as well as the ones to come, to not let these stereotypes take control over us.