Gender Stereotypes not entirely bad

By Nastia Ilyina Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/7 17:18:40

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT


Forced stereotypes are not healthy. But, this does not mean that we should eradicate stereotypical images from the media, literature and even religion, rather we should respect their origins and remain educated about them.

People are purposeful creatures that unlike pets or wild animals cannot just laze away all day only taking breaks from napping to eat. Humans have gone over and above that with a whole list of psychological needs lined up straight after if not alongside the physical ones.

Many of us struggle to find happiness in everyday life and are seeking a better job, a better living situation, a better body shape and so on, and reaching towards those goals gives a purpose to what we do. However, finding that purpose can be the most challenging task of all.

So, how do stereotypes fit into it all? Stereotypes are the direction that we could take.

Denying all stereotypes and wanting to achieve is like expecting to reach a destination without any directions. Perhaps having a road to follow first would speed up the journey, and if this road is not the one that works, you take another until you are happy with where you are going.

At the end of the day, we must not be scared to allow stereotypes into our relationships. Coming from Russia, a fairly traditional society where family values are passed on from generation to generation, embedded in our minds is the instructions of our parents, and in the family models we see all around us, traditional values are just as important as accepting that they will adapt to the times.

My grandmother would scold me for being messy, arguing that nobody will marry me, and so did my mother when I presented her with another failed attempt at cooking. Perhaps this should not be such a big deal, but now I look back and think that finding a life partner is not all about the culinary skill, but it can definitely be a delightful bond.

The turbulent times of my youth have passed, the times when I was ready to march down the street with a banner protesting "kitchen slavery" and denying that children are the sole purpose of a woman.

Now, a clear realization has come to me, and I am not forced or expected to fulfill "womanly" duties. It brings pleasure to take care of others in the house and a simple thank you in return makes it all worthwhile.

So, why shouldn't we accept that there are roles? Should all women drop their mops and cooking pans and start solely doing handiwork to prove a point?

All I am suggesting here is a middle ground. There is nothing wrong with having stereotypes; it's a matter of how to interpret them that makes all the difference.

We will never be protected from stereotypes. There's no point denying them, and like at many points in life, common sense always goes a long way.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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