The Negative Effects of Gender Roles

The Negative Effects of Gender Roles

They may appear innocent but they can be disastrous.
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Since a young age, people are told what they should like, act like, and become based on the gender of their body. These preset ideas start off by expecting young females to like pink or pastel colors and young males to like blue or darker colors. It teaches young children that females are nurses and males are doctors, that the mom stays home to clean the house, cook, and take care of the children while the dad goes off to work to make money and provide for the family. Society has come to call these ideals gender roles since they are basic roles and ideas that a certain gender should conform to and accept. While these stereotypes and ideal roles may seem innocent and harmless, they have a dramatic affect on the everyday lives of people. From personality development to careers and education, gender roles have set boundaries that cause a negative effect on both genders.

One of the basic foundations of gender roles is the believe that certain personality traits are linked to biological gender. For example, women are believed to be “submissive” while men are “aggressive and assertive”. Women are expected to be emotional while men “should manage and suppress their emotions”. These can lead to many problems. These expectations force people to change who they are and shames them if they do not. Trying to change or not accepting one’s personality can lead to internal conflict and unhappiness with the situation that the person is in. Depression, anxiety, and low self esteem can be caused by oppression emotions or putting oneself in situations that one is not comfortable in. The belief that all men are aggressive leads to a acceptance and normality in relationship abuse. The phrase “He’s only mean because he likes you” is often said after a elementary boy pulls a girl’s hair or pushes her down. By telling elementary students this phrase, it teaches them to “connect pain with love”and should be expect abuse when a male is in a relationship.

In addition to personality, gender roles influence the careers that people select. Since some jobs require “caring, comforting, and serving behaviors” they are labeled as a woman’s job and stereo-typically do not have a high male employment. Jobs such as nursing and flight attendant often have a majority of females for they require “tenderness and patience”, while jobs like construction and police officers have a majority of male workers for they require “physical strength and toughness”. Males are encouraged to enter jobs that require physical, scientific, or mathematical skills for they are believe to be better at those fields, unlike women who are believed to be better at emotional skills, language, and humanities. Females are encouraged to attend college before forming a career, while men are expected to go straight into the workforce. Due to this gender stereotype, over 57% of college students are female. Therefore, males are receiving less education. Yet, the effect does not stop at career choice. Due to gender roles, women experience “pay gap, occupational segregation, denial of promotions to leadership, glass ceiling in different professions, increased casualization of women workers” and “lower levels of equation and work opportunities”.

Furthermore, gender roles are a major factor in the roles that men and women have in a family setting. Most families are set up where the father works and is the head of the house and the mother stays at home to take care of the house and children. This can be linked to the idea the women are more nurturing and gentle. Society places a pressure on women to have and raise children, even when most are happy without them . Due to the stereotype that males such have authority, it is looked down on when a man is a stay-at-home husband and his wife works. He is seen as weak and “unmanly” for not seeking a demanding job and letting wife provide for the family. Some people do not believe that stereotypes and gender roles play a major role in people’s lives today. Some believe that “the gap between different genders has already melted down, creating an all equal society and more equalized families” and that families should have a set system for “Kids need to be trained to cop up with the family roles. This will help them to be more understanding and affectionate to parents”. While they say that gender roles were once an issue, they do not believe that they are a current problem. Yet, in 2015 female full time workers 20% less than a male with the same credentials and job. Even though the writers say that there is no gender roles in society and that the genders are equal, they also believe that children need to have a gender role for a stay-at-home parent in order for children to be affectionate. Yet, that believe is disproven by a multiple studies. According to these studies, the only difference between a nontraditional family and a gender role conforming, traditional family, is that the children of the nontraditional families tend to stray from the typical gender roles and stereotypes.

While gender roles and stereotypes may seem innocent and almost nonexistent in today’s culture, they are still present and cause a major effect on the current and future generations. They set limits on personality and mental health awareness. They try to force males and females into certain job categories and discriminate against those who do not conform. Gender roles even affect the way family life is built and maintained. The gender roles that were made many years prior have damaged the culture of today. They affect education by telling males that schooling, especially college, is not necessary unless one is female. They affect economy by creating a wage gap between males and females, even when the job and credentials are the same. They affect they way a person is raised and how they preserve themselves by labeling traits and behaviors as female or male. Gender roles and stereotypes may not seem like much, but the impact that they have will last for many generations to come.

Cover Image Credit: Think Link

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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