Gender stereotypes we are tired of hearing

Aurat hee aurat ki sab se bari dushman hoti hai? NOPE

By Maha Ali

KARACHI: Let’s face it, we’re all sick of being victim to patriarchy and all the presumptions that come along with it.

Cutacut has come up with a list of stereotypes that need to be forgotten.

1. Women always take forever to get ready

While some women would say you can’t rush art!” in their defence to taking ages to get ready, other women simply can’t relate and would argue that they don’t feel the need to delegate much time to it. It really boils down to the type of a person you are – that can exist in men too.

2. Women are bad drivers

This stereotype is not only completely inaccurate but also dangerous. According to a recent report by Refinery29, labeling women as bad drivers can seriously cause anxiety either consciously or subconsciously to female drivers and lead to an unnecessary paranoia that can be damaging as a whole.

3. Aurat hee aurat ki sab se bari dushman hoti hai

In the grand scheme of things, this statement makes little to zero relevance to what the real enemy of women is i.e. the patriarchal system, which is essentially from what unnecessary judgement, bitchy comments or competitiveness from other women usually stems from (that is the maximum extent that other women can go to in being a ‘dushman’). In terms of lack of equal opportunities, equal pay, rights within marriage, property, forms of sexual harassment, the list goes on.. the ideology of downplaying a woman is an obvious culprit.

4. Women love weddings and babies

This stereotype can be linked to the priorities that a woman has been taught to have (dating from the middle ages) to be groomed to the end goal of marriage and children. In this case, every woman must love to attend weddings and love babies right? Wrong! Not all women enjoy the incessant screaming and crying that emanates from babies not to mention some women can simply feel awkward in socialising with them – the same can apply to weddings, not every woman enjoys attending weddings and can find them monotonous and tiresome.

5. Women use makeup to feel confident

The entire ‘power of makeup’trend on YouTube was the most regressive thing for women who were being told through these videos that they are somehow better after being lathered with layers of makeup. While some argued that it gave them confidence and made them feel beautiful, others argue that it is a mask that women use to be confident while dodging the aspect of feeling good about yourself as you are.
The same can be said for people who automatically assume that a woman is insecure if she wears makeup because she is ugly without it; that’s not true nor is it okay to assume because it can be seen as yet again another way to judge the decisions of a woman and add a negative narrative to it. While it does make some women feel more confident, other women could just wear makeup because they enjoy wearing it and has nothing to do with their confidence.

Men are victim to stereotyping as well, which can hinder their mental health greatly and has proven to do so. Such gender stereotypes placed on them shape self-perception, attitudes to relationships and influence their participation in terms of school and later on in their work-life. These are some of the most common stereotypes that men get to hear:

1.Men are bad at multitasking

This stereotype has made a reoccurring appearance in films and TV shows whereby the character who plays the mother is seen running around the house doing multiple house chores while going out to run errands and somehow looking after the kids as well (what most Pakistani aunties expect women to be like), whereas the character of the father is seen going to work. People claim that men are usually not as good at doing multiple things at the same time as women are. A  research study done by Harvard Business Review has proven that men and women-are equally bad at multitasking! It’s safe to say that gender generalisations can’t beat science.


2. Men don’t cry

A weeping man is a sight we don’t often see. It’s almost as though the male species is devoid of human emotions … is what this gender stereotype wants you to believe. Men have since decades been told throughout their childhood that crying is a feminine trait that does not suit them and this has caused them to internalise their emotions, which is  dangerous and can lead to outbursts that trigger mental health concerns. Overtime there have been campaigns that aim to normalise the notion of men crying but there is still work to be done to be rid of ‘tough-guy’ culture and the shaming of men being in tune with their sensitive side.

3. Men are the ‘backbone’ of families

Families that teach their sons to work hard to be the future “backbone” of the family who supports the household financially and looks after everything is problematic for both the male and female gender. While it enables a superiority complex in men who believe they are the ‘chosen ones’ it also enables a culture where women are considered not as important and other harmful stereotypes spark from this. There should be an equal share of responsibility for both genders!

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