Period 7 – Gender Stereotypes in the United States

Gender Stereotypes:  generalizations and assumptions about gender attributes, differences, and roles in society.

  • Gender Stereotypes influenced by family: Families purchase items for their children based on the gender of the child. For example, a newborn baby receives clothes and other items specifically designed based on their sex. Baby boys receive items that are blue while baby girls receive items that are pink. Also, in society, the man of the house is expected to be strong, hard working individuals while the woman is perceived as the one who cares for the children, the one who cleans, and cooks. 
  • Gender Stereotypes influenced by messages from peers: The tone of the way you speak differs among different groups of people. People talk differently to their friends than they would to their teachers. The same is true if you’re talking to people of the same gender or the opposite gender of you. An example of this is how guys generally interact with their peer that are guys as well in a non emotional, and vague way. Guys partake in the usual head nod, or “whats up” while girls are more prone to hugging their girl friends asking them all about their life, how they are feeling and sharing information with them that may even be very personal.
  • Gender Stereotypes influenced by the media: From movies and television, to music and video games, the media is one of the biggest influences on people, especially teens and younger children. These influences go hand in hand with the common gender stereotypes. On television shows and movies, the main male actor is usually big, strong, authoritative, attractive, and makes money for his family. The main female actress on the other hand is usually depicted as the stay at home mom who cooks and cleans and for her family. Video games are also very stereotypical. The majority of video games involve death and murder among characters in the game. The characters you can choose to play as in the games are mostly males as well. Video games are definitely geared towards the male population because of the gender stereotypes. However if a video games was geared towards women, a colorful decor would be on the cover, as well as female characters that are in the video games and some sort of activity that is female based. (female sports, cooking, yoga, shopping, playing with dolls, makeovers, girly music etc.)

Advertising plays a very large role in society. You see advertisements everywhere you go. From ads you see on billboards, to ads present within schools, the advertisements are playing a huge role in society. Ads influence people of every age to purchase a certain product. The influence that the ads have on people are immense. Some people will purchase things based solely on the fact that the ad for it looked intriguing. The same people will decide to not purchase a specific product because they did not like the ad that was created. 

Commercials that agree with gender stereotypes:

There are many points that go along with gender stereotypes in this video. First, it was a little girl who was playing with the Barbie doll. Also, if you listen to all of the things that you can get for the Barbie you will see that none of them really involve hard labor, or leaving the house in general. Lastly, towards the end of the commercial you here the narrator say that it is a good thing the house folds up so “mom won’t have to clean it up”.

In this video from 1994, there are still things that agree with the gender stereotypes. It shows a man outside working and sweating a lot. Then it shows the man’s wife who is going to do all of his sweaty laundry for him so he doesn’t smell anymore. That goes right along with the man doing the work and the woman having to clean up after him.

This is the most recent commercial and you still see gender stereotypes. The entire commercial is just advertising the new Swiffer product but the person trying out the Swiffer is a woman. This agrees with the stereotype that women are the ones who do the cleaning in the house.

Commercials that go against gender stereotypes:

This commercial breaks gender stereotypes because it is a commercial that involves babies and fathers. Generally, society relates baby care to mothers only. In commercials that deal with babies, mothers are usually the ones to be washing the baby, dressing the baby, feeding the baby, and changing the baby etc. while the father is expected to be at work working hard. This commercial breaks the gender norms by having a room full of men that are watching the babies and changing the diapers, it shows that women are not the only ones who are responsible for child care.

This commercial breaks gender stereotypes in two different ways. The first way is that the husband in this clip is washing dishes. Usually our society associates women doing all the cleaning, cooking and other types of housework and when a man is shown doing these types of things its a shock. Also the women stated that she’s right because she’s washed a few cupcake tins in her day, referring to she cleans a lot more then he does. Finally, the man won the argument! The commercial shows the couple arguing and in our society a gender norm is that the woman always wins and it was a shock to see the man technically win the argument in the commercial.

This commercial breaks gender stereotypes because it involves women doing yard work an other physical labor. Usually, it is men who mow the lawn and fix cars. In this video though we decided to make the women be the ones to do all the physical labor which is something that goes against the stereotypical norms.

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