Overcoming gender stereotypes

January 29, 2012 — by Nick Chow

1. Guys are extremely disorganized.

1. Guys are extremely disorganized.

I remember, during numerous occasions in elementary school, my friends would ask to read one of my handwritten assignments. When they handed back my work, each of them said something along the lines of: “Wow, your handwriting is so girly. It’s so neat.” Even my elementary school teachers would take a minute to be impressed with my handwriting. I remember thinking about it and asking myself why neatness, especially for handwriting, is associated only with girls.

Granted, I do know some guys who write illegibly, but they do not represent the entire male population. There are girls whose handwriting is just as bad, or worse, than that of most boys. Assuming that something neat and orderly automatically belongs to a girl is one of those small, unfair prejudices that really irritates me.

2. Guys are bad in the arts.

Another prejudice that I feel is unfair is that guys are expected to be good at all aspects of science and math, and also supposed to be lacking in the arts. Although I pretty much fit the description of the former, I do have a lot of friends who don’t specialize in math or science. But if you give them a pencil, they can effortlessly sketch an extremely complicated illustration while carrying on a conversation with me. I really don’t know how such artistic ability is possible, but it just goes to say that a lot of guys are extremely talented in the arts.

3. Guys are athletic and obsessed with sports.

I don’t think that this prejudice is applicable so much at Saratoga High, but many times when I’m watching a movie or television, the high-school-aged male characters seem to always be athletes with low academic standards—a “jock,” in essence. These examples further reinforce people’s belief that all men must be athletic.

The “jock with low grades” stereotype notwithstanding, beliefs that manliness is based in dominance on the field or a cult-like following of all things athletic incorrectly characterize a large portion of the male population.

When people hear about a guy, they think “masculine,” which immediately equates to dominance in sports. Not all men enjoy watching sports either. While it is true that many men enjoy playing, watching or discussing sports, myself included, it is unfair to assume that all guys are sports fanatics and athletic

4. Guys are impulsive risk-takers.

It is quite common to say that guys are generally more daring than than their female counterparts, which I would mostly agree with, but there are certain exceptions to this belief. It is right to say that many guys are quite impulsive, which does have its advantages and disadvantages.

But it is not right to put all guys in this category, as many guys do think ahead, and some even plan a little too far ahead. I know guys that will completely over-analyze situations and make life into a gigantic math problem. Guys represent all ends of the spectrum and don’t fall into one definitive category.

5. Guys are addicted to video games.

If you’ve ever been in any high school across America, you’ve probably never gone a day without hearing about someone on an Xbox or PS3 playing “Call of Duty” or or “Skyrim” some other video game. And you’d notice that the vast majority of these people are male; thus, the assumption that guys are addicted to video games.

Like many of the other prejudices, this belief only holds true for a select few people. While there are many people who enjoy video gaming, it’s wrong to assume that the vast majority of guys are constantly plugged into their video game consoles.

I think that it is quite unfair to label the entire male population as gaming-obsessed. When people think of a hardcore gamer, the image of a social outcast spending endless hours glued to their consoles inevitably appears in their heads. It is wrong for a few gaming obsessed guys to portray the entire male population in a negative light.

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