Gender Identity: Gender Roles and Stereotypes
Do you ever feel like you are expected to act a certain way because you are a girl or a boy? There have traditionally been clear and sometimes unfair roles for boys/men and girls/women. For example, if you were a boy, maybe you were told not to cry and expected to be strong and athletic. If you were a girl, you may have been told you should be nice or be good at things like cooking and cleaning. These rules about how boys/men and girls/women should act are gender role stereotypes. While some girls might like to care for people or some boys might like sports, gender role stereotypes can prevent people from doing those things they enjoy. What if you’re a girl who loves sports or a boy who feels emotional and cries sometimes?
People have occasionally felt pressure to act or look a certain way based on their gender. This pressure can make people unhappy, if they are being asked to be or act in a way that does not match who they really are. Today people have more freedom than ever to express themselves in ways that feel true to who they are, regardless of their gender.