“Go Make Me A Sandwich”

Gender roles in society refer to roles that are acceptable, appropriate, or desirable based on our assigned sex at birth. It is how we are expected to act, speak, dress and behave around other people. Although there are exceptions and variances, gender roles are often predicated on ideas of masculinity and femininity in our society. Gender role expectations exist in every nation, ethnic group, and culture, although they differ drastically. They can also change over time in the same society. But do these “gender norms” that we are expected to follow affect our Lives? If yes how so?

 

A gender stereotype is a generalized idea or assumption about features or characteristics that women and men have or should have. As a result of this since our childhood, we are always told what to do. Or parents code their children to like or dislike something from the first day that they are born. It starts as something very innocent like they buy pink clothes and toys for their daughters and paint their newborn son’s room blue. Or refuse any type of blue object for their daughters, as blue is very boyish.

 

And again from the start of our maturity, our elderlies have always taught us that women are frequently supposed to be accommodating, emotional, graceful, and caring, whereas men are typically expected to be tough, self-assured, muscular, forceful, and less emotional. Even our daily expressions include this kind of statement like, “do not cry like a girl” or “tough as a man”. As we are raised with this kind of mindset it is hard not to be affected by this.

 

So if it is such a big issue does it affects our daily lives? Yes, it is definitely a yes. Even though some people still refuse to believe in gender inequality we face its consequences every day. I believe that most women have experienced misogyny before the age of 18. As an example in some schools, it is forbidden for girls to wear shorts or thin-strapped t-shirt but when it comes to boys no one tells them to cover their legs because it is “so distracting”. This is one of the double standards for women in our society. We always teach our daughters to dress appropriately or never go out late but when it comes to our sons we rarely try to teach them their manners around women. Like when a woman is in a bad situation while wearing revealing clothes nearly no one finds the man guilty, because he has “urges” he cannot fight. What is he, an animal?

 

On the subject of these stereotypes, another field women face these kinds of struggles in is in their business life. One of the most important things for a human being is being educated but because throughout history women always have been 3 steps back from men women in some countries still do not have access to proper education compared to men. ¼ of a young woman between 15-24 will not finish primary school. Or even a woman, who is educated and is at the same level as a man, can’t get the job she wants because of work segregation. Other than that when it comes to woman’s rights at work only six countries in the world grant women the same legal rights as men in the workplace. This is a result of our society’s standards. It is expected for women to do only housework or take care of their children and husband. And making money is the man’s responsibility. This is what we are taught growing up. So we end up judging working mothers and they have to struggle to prove their worth to their male colleagues.

 

Overall these innocent stereotypes that we hear every day aren’t that innocent, are they? These images that the society made up for genders are messed up. Thinking that a woman only belongs to a kitchen or joking like “make me a sandwich” is more harmful than we think. Because as we go on like this, having a prejudice against a certain gender can make their life a lot harder and increase the inequality between men and women. My opinion is that we should raise awareness about the man and woman inequality in our society and its reasons. The first step for this would be starting with our children and raising them as open-minded people for a better future for both genders. Everyone involved must collaborate, including the government, universities, civic society, and the Muslim and Christian faiths, because the most difficult thing is to change mentalities.

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