Break with convention: Rethinking gender-based norms

Gender stereotyping is when males and females are expected to dress, walk, behave, act, among others, as per their gender. Such stereotyping further prevents them from moving ahead in life and becoming successful.

The role constrained behaviour in this way provides crucial information as most behaviour enacts roles. For instance; girls are expected to cook and become a housewife whereas boys are expected to be doing a job or a business.

People who are victims of gender stereotyping develop low self-esteem and acceptance. Children between the age of 14-18 are usually at the stage of finding themselves and in the process of accepting biological changes taking place in their bodies. They come up with various questions regarding such physical as well as emotional changes.

Since girls and boys are taught about society’s expectations from them at an early stage, they become more health-conscious which makes girls starve themselves to look thinner and boys start doing rigorous workouts and take steroids to look muscular as both of them no longer feel comfortable in their own body.

A girl is named a “tomboy” if she desires to join a boxing class rather than dance one. A boy on the other side is termed as “girlish” for being interested in cooking rather than sports.

The gender-based norms present in our society, therefore, subject adolescents to intense gender nonconformity. “A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves,” says, Gloria Steinem.

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