"You cannot do that, you are not your brother. Call him; he willdo it for you." These are the words almost all of the female population must have heard in her life at least ones; if not multiple times.
Society, as a whole has limited the girls to what they can and cannot do. Regardless of the girl’s capability, society has decided for her and she is complied to obey. It is however ironic to note that the people who have created these stereotypes comprises more of the female population than that of the male.
But what exactly are stereotypes?
Stereotype are the belief or expectations that people hold for every person in a group. When a person is stereotyped they are seen as a whole group rather than an individual.
Some of the most common stereotype a girl faces in her life are as follows:
Girls should be timid:
When one thinks of a girl, the instant image one creates is that of a soft spoken ,well mannered and a shy girl. Girls with confidence and the ability to speak their mind are deemed ill- mannered and a stain to the society. They are often criticised for every little thing they do.
It is a waste for girls to get education:
Education and girl does not go well with the society. They think the place of a girl is inside the house and therefore it is unnecessary for a girl to get education. Fathers are advised to save the money for their marriage or to use the amount on their sons who are the ‘BREAD WINNER’ of the house.
Girls can only be homemaker:
This is another stereotype that cages the girls’ ability to do something. Since early in the childhood they are made to do the house chores when their brothers are busy playing with their friends. When questioned about it, they are informed that this is a training for their future. The words may vary in different household but the meaning remains the same. Girls are seen as someone who can’t handle a job or business. According to the society the best suited role for a girl is ‘HOMEMAKER’.
When a girl is abused, it is she who is at fault:
A girl being raped or abused is not an uncommon sight in today’s world. A girl aged from 2 months to 80 years are harassed sexually. Yet, it is she who is at fault. “what else did she expect?” , “look at her clothes.” , “shouldn’t have wore a mini skirt.” Are a few remarks made by the society. The victim is harassed mentally after being abused physically. As a result of these, many rape victim hesitate to come out and the rapist roam freely in the society raping girls of all age as if it were nothing.
A girl’s life is not her own:
A Girl’s life is not her own but that of her family. Girls are not ‘allowed’ to spend their time for their own. They are obliged to carter to the needs of their mothers, fathers, brothers, children, husbands and their in laws just because they are girls. When they are seen spending time doing things they like they are given a title of ‘UNGRATEFUL DAUGHTER’. Whenever someone needs them, it is their duty to drop everything at hand and help others. ‘NO’ should never be in their dictionary.
Girls should be slim:
The hour glass figure is the ideal figure for a girl. Any other shape or size is just not right. Protruding belly, double chin, thick thigh or hands, small breast or too big breast are all ugly according to the society's norm. The girls with uneven figure are body shamed excessively.
Again it is ironic to note that 90% of the people body shaming women and girls are the women themselves.
Girls are a burden
This is the most degrading stereotype the society has formed. They view a girl as a burden rather than a blessing. Girls all over the world are often killed in their mothers’ womb just because they are a burden to their parents. They are discriminated against their brothers or any other male. Girls, in some places are not even provided with proper meals a day which further leads to malnutrition and even death in some cases.
These are some of the many stereotypes faced by girls and women regardless of where in the world they reside. However, it is satisfying to know that the world is changing and so are the stereotypes. Girls and women all around the world are continuously proving their strength and ability, in turn breaking these stereotypes. They are no longer confined. They are able to explore various aspects of life freely to some extent. Women are walking head to head with the men.
Although the notions of people about women have not completely changed; yet the world is taking baby steps towards the goal. Every coin has two sides. The stereotypes formed are only motivating the women to go further and further.
Stereotype is usually defined as a wrong idea or a credence people in general have about a person or certain set of group or flock. Stereotype has always been in existence whether it is for a boy or a girl.
The moment a girl child is born in any family the first thought of most parent is to start saving money for her marriage or dowry rather than thinking about her future education and current upbringing. A small girl is always gifted dolls and toys related to cooking stuffs where as a small boy is gifted with either toy cars or trucks. A girl will definitely receive gifts which will be pink in color because it is a popularly believed theory that a girl likes pink color and a boy is subjected to like blue color. Girls are subjected to watch Barbie or feminine cartoons whereas boys take pride in watching action games and cartoons.
Girls are expected to be quite obeying and sincere by nature which is not the same for boys. Girls are expected to wear full covered dresses and have minimal verbal interaction with boys after they hit their puberty. Girls after attaining their periods in many under developed and developing countries are forced to drop out of school and are compelled to marry a guy or are either given training to do household chores.
It is still a wide belief that a women needs a protection, that to a male, when she steps out of the house in the public. A woman is blamed for staying out at night as it is believed that it will cause harm to honor of the family and family members. Many women have to give up their work and passion just because of the stereotypes that exists among the general public including her own family.
A married woman is forced to leave her job because it is thought that her job is only to raise kids and meet their needs on daily basis. She has to give up on her choices and wishes put her family first before taking any decision under any circumstances. She has to do all the household chores and be a humble and well behaved wife. Raising a voice against any kind of abuse or violence by a girl is seen as bad upbringing and she will be judged for doing the same.
The world is getting worse place to live day by day for a female, as the threats and danger are also increasing exponentially. Any unfortunate incident happens with a woman, in an untimely hour and because of the general stereotype, that exists in the brain of people the victim is blamed for her clothing and on top of that the public demands reason from the victim for staying out at night. There’s also a stereotype that a women wearing short dresses is bossy and controlling by nature, and it is considered unethical in many developing and under developed nations.
Women working at big MNC’s and IT sector are expected to wear heals and makeup, they are expected to have long hairs which are neatly combed, she has to wear a skirt, and they are also expected to be pleasing verbally and by nature also.
Many women are paid less in a male dominated sector such as technology, math and science sectors, because of the stereotype. Their ideas are not welcomed in group discussions as easily as it would have been for their male counterparts; this leads to lack of self confidence in the women and also affects her mentally.
Women are generally avoided from sharing their views on topics such as sports or politics because stereotype exists that they don’t have much of knowledge about these things.
These stereotypes are sole reason why there are fewer women representatives in politics, why their name isn’t heard as frequently in science and technological research and discoveries.
Many firms in different countries don’t even hire pregnant women just because they will have to grant them maternal leave.
Women are believed to be gossiping all day and are called gossip queens, cribbing about their situation and many more stereotypes revolve around the female gender which is completely absurd. They are not suppose to express about their pain publically and are believed to have high tolerance capacity, this the reason why many women don’t complaint about the emotional, physical, psychological or mental abuse that they go through, because they are forced by these stereotypes to save their family.
Images of girls are filled with stereotypes about who they are as a person and what their role should be in the society. These stereotypes have negative, limiting and degrading impact on how girls perceive themselves and how others see them as well.
It is a widely spread stereotype that girls enjoy talking a lot and gossiping during work hours, they have to be efficient in the role of mother, a mother is believed to be the primary caregiver, she should be a good housewife and should take care of the kids.
Girls often face the stereotype that they are emotionally weak and are blamed for making fuss out of small matters; also they are stereotyped to appear in certain way in order to get married or gain validity from others, girls who are pretty, thin and sexy are looked in different way where as those who don’t fit in this category are treated differently.
They are also stereotyped as being primarily and overly concerned with romantic relationship.
Under these conditions girls self esteem, ambition and expectations are the first one to get destroyed. The massive amount of work done by women is not appreciated or is taken for granted. The work done by women is not included in the economic count or counted as upliftment of country’s economy, her work is just to be behind the scenes and watch men get most of the credits, for which she also provides equal assistance. A women does not get paid for the household work she does, she does not get holiday even for one single day.
According to the stereotype kitchen is the place where women or girl should reside. Although different groups and culture believe in different types of stereotypes but they all result in taking women’s role in the society lightly on regular basis, which will ultimately hamper the growth of not only the female community but also the nation.
Well these stereotypes can only be changed when we educated each and every individual about it, create awareness about these stereotypes and learn about the consequences of this in the future.