How Do Stereotypes Play a Role in the Modern-Day Woman’s’ Society?

Have you ever been to a gender reveal or baby shower? If so, then you have probably noticed that the color scheme was pink if it was a girl, or blue if it was a boy; this is a perfect example of a stereotype. However, this stereotype is not very extreme when it comes to the emotional effects it has, unlike the stereotypes faced by woman, such as the common belief that beauty is only skinny. Today’s society holds women to a high standard through their stereotypical view of what a woman should be. This stereotypical view has a negative impact on women and leads to decreases in women’s mental health, body shaming, or even suicide. 

Stereotypes are something that effects just about everything, such as stereotypes against certain dogs, but the stereotypes that women face have gotten worse and are still increasing. Women are usually stereotyped high on communion, which according to our text is traits which reflect connectedness or concern for others. Some of the most common stereotypes that women face is the idea that women belong in the home and should cook/clean, or even the idea that women should have a “tight” body or be super tall and super skinny. The problem with stereotypes such as the ones mentioned, is that people see these as society rules that must be abided by. This can lead to two major consequences, (1) people feel pressure to conform to this stereotype, and if they fail, then they should face punishment and (2) if the stereotype is negative, then people could be faced with interpersonal behaviors or personal anxieties which increase the reinforcement of that stereotype. 

Now, before jumping into the effects of these stereotypes, let’s identify where they came from. According to the text, there are three possible origins of gender stereotypes, (1) the suggestion by evolutionary psychology that they are derived/ reflect from genetically inherited differences of men and women that they exhibit in their behaviors and traits, (2) the social role theory which views them as coming from the large-scale sex differences between the social roles typically occupied of men and women, and (3) the biosocial constructionist theory, which is a copy of the social role theory with an addition of both evolutionary and social approaches. But, these stereotypes are not carried on through history from the theories which they derived from, they are carried on by the believers of them. 

An article from the Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol, showed a statistic in one of their tests, that when asking a group of 20- to 32-year-old respondents in 2007 who did the chores, 70% of men and women reported that the woman did more chores and 18% of men while 14% of women reported that they were equally shared. This provides great evidence towards the stereotype that women belong in the home. The major consequences behind stereotypes similar to these is that they cause a negative effect on a woman’s career/ life, which then can lead to unhealthy mental capacity or even suicide. The majority of CEO’s in today’s society are men, because women are supposed to be seen as the nurturing care-takers or stay-at-home mothers. Even in today’s integrated society, you don’t see an equal number of women hired as to men, because society sees women as dead weight because they could possibly lose her for 6 weeks if she decided to have a child. 

The stereotypes that have the most detrimental effect are the ones that refer to a woman’s body and how she looks at herself. With the rise in today’s technology, plastic surgeons can enhance so many people’s bodies to the point where it is incapable to obtain a body like that unless you have plastic surgery. This is where body shaming comes into play, women see the commercials, magazines, or on social media these women whose bodies appear to be perfect and are receiving all this positive feedback, then the women go back home and look at themselves in the mirror and become unhappy with themselves. The majority of the women on television have either had plastic surgery, computer modified bodies (photo shopped), or even both done to their bodies. So, everyday women are getting the negative effects from them, and starting to hate the bodies that were given to them. 

One of the most common negative effects of body shaming is the development of eating disorders. In an article from Body Image 14,they conducted a study to determine whether your level of self-compassion could indicate the levels of your body shaming, depression, or negative eating attitudes. In this study, they had 306 female participants, of those, 106 were in the high self-compassion range and 104 were in the low self-compassion range. The participants completed a self-compassion scale, eating attitudes test, patient health questionnaire, and calculated their BMI (body mass index), from these, they concluded that, “cultivating an attitude of self-compassion has the potential to inoculate women against the negative effects of living in such a harmful environment and of engaging in self-objectification”. 

In conclusion, stereotypes are the cause of determental effects to women’s health both mentally and physically. Whether the effected women are physically coping with methods of body shaming or even committing suicide due to the depression, or emotionally coping through depression or causing themselves to lose self-value, they still are victims. But, stereotypes are not going away, and today’s society holds women to a high standard as an effect of this. So, as a community one can partake in acts of self-love and learning to become happy with their bodies. Through awareness, interventions, and teamwork one can overcome the judgmental hardships society puts on others. 

 

References

Sweeting, H., Bhaskar,, A., Benzeval, M., Popham, F., Hunt, K. (2014) Changing gender roles   and attitudes and their implications for well-being around the new millennium. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol, 791-810.

Liss, M., Erchull, M., (2015) Not hating what you see: Self-compassion may protect against negative mental health variables connected to self-objectification in college women. Body Image 14, 5-12.

Bosson, J., Vandello, J., Buckner, C., (2018) “The Psychology of Sex”. Sage Publications, chapter 9.