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OPINION: We should eradicate gender roles

October 27, 2016

Jessica Wierzbicki

Boys are capable; girls are inept. Boys are independent; girls are objectified. Boys are emotionless; girls are hysterical. Boys make money; girls look after
children. These stereotypes may sound exaggerated, but they are deeply imbedded into our society, creating inequalities between the male and female sexes known as gender roles.

According to The Oxford Dictionary, the definition of gender roles is the “behaviour determined by cultural norms,” meaning that by creating distinctions in men and women’s actions, society brought discrimination upon itself. Almost everything in our lives have been assigned a gender, from colors to physical appearance, from occupations to personality traits. Girls can wear makeup, paint their nails, and wear put-together outfits with no social disdain, whether to boost confidence, as another form of expression and individuality, or just because they want to. Why can’t boys do the same? Boys are bullied for acting too “feminine” or even for showing weakness and emotion. Men are made out to be strong, powerful figures, and are frowned upon for not fitting the image.

On the other hand, boys can be assertive and vocalize their opinions, they are able to take charge in situations and assume leadership positions without being judged by society. Why are girls seen as over dramatic and annoying for doing the same thing? Why do girls have to surpass a certain standard of beauty in order to be considered worthwhile? Girls are made out to be flirty, submissive and emotional objects, and are scorned for showing strength both physically and mentally. For both sexes, gender roles have limited opportunities and created definitive segregation, by dividing masculinity and femininity into false stereotypes.

Gender roles have taken a toll on both the male and female sex, stripping both of individuality, freedom of expression, and social equality. In order to end the cycle of gender prejudices, we need to challenge the stereotypes assigned to sexes, until eventually, masculinity and femininity aren’t categorized at all.

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