Gender stereotyping-is it really that straightforward?

I think gender stereotyping happens a lot, stereotyping which likes to tell us what ‘a typical man or woman’ should be like. There are certainly plenty of heated discussions around this very topic, not least the current gender toy debate.

I’m coming at this whole gender stereotyping from a purely personal perspective here. I’m not a fan of stereotyping for obvious reasons. Neither for children or adults. i don’t find labelling of any description helpful or constructive. But somewhere and somehow I would argue that there are certain character traits and likes/dislikes that many women would seem to share and society and culture implicitly accepts.ย However, I don’t appear to share all of them, so does that mean I’m not like’most women’, or I’m only a partial woman (some sort of bionic woman maybe?!)

I have never worn makeup. Actually now I remember, I have worn it once at my wedding when I conceded to my family and allowed my sister to put some on my face. It was OK, but I’ve never wanted to wear it and have never felt comfortable having it on my face.

I don’t have a hairstyle. It’s cut so that I can blow dry it in no more than 5 minutes in the morning. I have no idea what the latest trends might be. Although I did like the Rachel from Friends bob for those of you who remember that. I never got my hair cut like that though-too much hassle! And as a teenager I did dye my hair plum in honour of the New Romantics, so I wasn’t a total fashion wasteland.

I’ve read Cosmopolitan magazine a couple of times and only because someone else had a copy and I was intrigued. Probably at the hairdressers or something. I’ve definitely never bought a copy. My magazine purchases used to be photography or film based. I say used to, because I never have time to read magazine’s anymore so buying them is a waste of money.

I do enjoy shopping but I’m probably happier in a bookshop than a clothes shop if I’m honest. And if I am looking for clothes or shoes, they’re casual wear. I don’t have any dressing up clothes-I hate dresses and skirts. Just don’t feel comfortable in them. And as for heels. I tried doxycycline shop online them once after being persuaded into it and how on earth do people walk in those things?

However, as with everything in life. I do share other aspects of the gender stereotype:

I do love chocolate. Every kind of chocolate pretty much. But especially Hotel Chocolat. That is just heaven.

I also enjoy a bath with plenty of bubbles and candles, not that I get much opportunity these days!

I love chats. I love catching up with friends and nattering about everything for hours.

There are parts of my body that I’m less keen on shall we say, but I would never consider doing anything about it. It’s just a part of me.

The reason I’ve been thinking about gender stereotyping is because I have a daughter and I’m thinking about the role model I portray to her. ย I was a tom boy (probably still am) and so is she. I see much of me in her.

The other day she was teased at school for looking like a boy. It upset her a lot. But she doesn’t want to change who she is. She just wanted the girls doing the teasing to leave her alone. I remember a fair bit of that kind of thing too. Should I encourage her to adapt a little more so she doesn’t get teased or should I encourage her to stand her ground no matter what. It’s a tricky one that I’ve yet to work out. I hope she and I will work it out between us so that she reaches a place where she is happy to negotiate it herself.

The interesting point here is that the teasing came from other girls. I realise this is like opening a can of worms here but how much of our gender stereotyping comes from ourselves and society in general?ย Are there common traits for females that make you ‘more or less of a woman’? I’m not sure where I fit because I certainly don’t meet the criteria for a gender stereotyped female and neither does my daughter. Where will she fit? Perhaps it’s not just the large retail companies that need to be looking at their gender stereotyping. Maybe we should be looking a little closer at ourselves too and what we consider to be ‘typically male’ or ‘typically female’?