Stop Gender Stereotypes #GenderNeutrality #AAH
Stereotypes and prejudices against any gender- men, women or LGBTQ are harmful and take us farther from Gender Neutrality. We all have heard of stereotypes like “Men do not wear pink. Men are stronger than women. Women are soft. Women can not be fighters. Gay men are effeminate and will hit on every man in sight.”
Stereotypes are widely known beliefs or prejudices about a certain social group of people. We all have heard of stereotypes associated with not just specific genders but also race, age and sexual orientation. It is high time that we realise that one box can not fit all.
Why are stereotypes against any gender harmful?
Gender stereotypes limit a person’s capability & ability. It can also have an impact on their talent, ambitions, and their lives. When you tell a man that his dream of being a makeup artist or of being a chef is girly, you might end up breaking their confidence. Additionally, we might also burden men to be more strong which might stop them from expressing themselves completely. We need to create a safe space, both online and offline, wherein we do not suppress anybody’s personality and ambitions.
By constantly suppressing their personality, we might create severe emotional trauma for them. Feelings of denial, anger, fear, shame, anxiety, and the inability to fit anywhere can lead to mental health issues like acute depression and anxiety.
The Role of Indian Media in imparting these Gender Stereotypes
Representation of men and women in mainstream movies, advertisements and TV serials has led to this normalised behaviour. Most women in these ads and shows are in a traditional role and are doing household duties – of a mother, wife or supporter. Even when a movie tries to break this gender stereotype, it tends to do so in a way that is unnatural and unfeminine, for example, the movie: Mardani. Mardani means ‘like a man’ and shows a courageous woman. Likewise, some ads also stereotype men. For example, life insurance ads where only a man is responsible for taking care of the finances, and he will always be, even after he has passed on.
These stereotypes and biases have been so ingrained that they reflect not just in social situations but also political, economic and educational aspects.
Does social media help people get away easily?
Be it your favourite fashion influencer on Instagram or a man trying on makeup on the internet – often we have seen trolls and stereotypical name-calling on social media. Under the garb of anonymity, some people feel like it is okay to write a hurtful comment. However, before writing any negative comments online, one must remember that:
- Your negative comments and stereotypes can be traumatic for someone.
- Privacy and anonymity on the internet is a myth. Tracing an online account is easy for the authorities
How to stop Gender Stereotyping?
- Learn – There needs to be more awareness on topics like sexism, gender role flexibility, etc.
- Speak Up – We need to react and speak up against bullying or gender stereotyping of any kind. All of this starts at home, school, offices and online. By not speaking up, we normalise this discrimination.
- Be mindful of reacting to other people’s choices. Make sure you do not hamper anyone’s free will.
- Remember that chores, clothes or colours have no gender.
‘Akancha Against Harassment’ supports safe cyberspace for people of all genders. Everyone, irrespective of their sex, gender, race, or sexual orientation should be allowed a safe space to talk – both online and offline. If you are facing harassment online, feel free to chat with us at our gender-friendly AI-based helpline at www.akanchaagainstharassment.com