Stereotypes: Are they a problem?


Why do women and men communicate so differently? Could it be that genetics play a factor? I believe so. In general, males are much stronger and more aggressive than females are. This directly effects how the two genders communicate. For example, women tend to offer suggestions and give reasons, whereas men tend to give demands without reason. We live with these differences everyday, and although we do not always understand these differences, we have come to accept them. We stereotype women as the weaker more emotional gender. They are the homemakers. Men are seen as the caretakers of their families, the financial providers. They are stronger and more dominant gender. What importance does this have in society? How does it effect society? Many women feel that they do not have the same privileges as men. On the other hand, some men say it is unfair that so much more is expected from them compared to what is expected from women. To me these sound like simple complaints. Stereotypes should not be seen as wrong, because in most cases they simply highlight the differences between men and women, unfortunately there are always exceptions, and sometimes stereotyping can result in conflict.


Primarily stereotypes are not wrong, they exist because of the very distinct differences between men and women. Almost all stereotypes hold at least some truth. For instance, men say women want to talk too much and are too emotional. Deborah Tannen explains in her article “Put Down That Paper and Talk to Me” that women feel the need to talk with those they are close to in order to compromise and build relationships (Tannen, 229, 9). So the men are right, women do feel the need to talk a lot in relationships. What is so bad about a stereotype that is true? Yes, there are those men and woman who do not reflect the set image. For instance, some men stay home and take care of their children, which is traditionally known as a woman’s job, and some women are the financial providers for their families. Just because the stereotype claims women stay home and men go to work, does not mean this is the case in every situation. Our society has come far over the past decade. Stereotypes today have very different meaning than they did many years ago. Stereotypes mean most do, not all do. It is perfectly acceptable in today’s day and age for a woman to work and leave her husband home with the kids. In fact may people respect it.


Unfortunately, there are instances in which stereotyping does create problems. Some people over emphasize the existence and legitimacy of stereotypes as a whole. For example, the men or women who openly express their disapproval for those who do not follow traditional male and female roles have caused severe conflict with feminists and male advocates. According to them, men and women should never pursue a life outside of the traditional setting. These beliefs are completely outdated. Very few people continue to live such old fashioned lifestyles. On the other hand, the feminists and male advocates who say that stereotypes are unfair and believe men and women should be considered equal, are just as guilty of stereotyping society. In the article “Real Men Don’t, Or Anti-Male Bias in English,” Eugene August argues that it is unfair that our society excludes males as parents (August, 217, 7). Those such as August are accusing everyone of being completely biased against the opposite sex. It seems hypocritical that they would fight for equality and then label our entire society as being sexist. Our society has changed so much over the years. Most do not feel that male and female roles are set in concrete.


Except for the few situations which result in conflict, stereotypes should not be seen as unjust. Men and women are very different, and stereotypes simply highlight the most common differences. Feminist and male advocates fight to say we are all equally alike, but this is untrue. Science can prove we are both physically and mentally different. Why would we want to be equal? What fun would it be if we were exactly alike, if we spoke the same “language.” The little games men and women