Women and Men on Gender Stereotype
By Jesús Aguado
In Mexico, according to numbers from the INEGI, there is a population of 112 million people. Of those, 57 million are women. Regardless of that, and despite the fact that now more and more women are heads of family, there are still cases of gender violence, mistreatment, and discrimination against women. This does not include abuse and use of gender stereotypes that frequently fill prime time television, accessible to those who often are uneducated and do not have access to other mass media or social networks.
Previous to the celebration of International Woman’s Day, Atención conducted interviews with a small sampling of men and woman of all ages and nationalities to talk about gender stereotyping.
What makes a woman different from a man?
Abigail García is a 10-year-old student studying calligraphy, Spanish, and math. She comments that a woman does not need a man in her life even if the stereotype indicates the opposite. “Men think that women are weak and delicate, that we cannot do anything, but they are wrong. We can do as many things as they do, even extreme sports like football.
On the other hand, I do not believe that a man needs a woman in his life. They know how to take care of themselves,” she says. With regard to the stereotype indicating that a man should not cry, Abigail comments, “Of course they can cry; they also have feelings. They also feel pain. They can cry as a woman does; they need privacy.” However, she states clearly, “A man never will have the right to hit a woman or vice versa,” and adds, “well, a woman can hit a man by accident, but she has to offer an apology.” Spontaneously, Abigail answered all the questions, and she commented that she has learned all of this from her dad, Francisco García, and her mom, Liz Montes, who was next to her all the time, but did not participate in the interview.
At the kiosk of the Jardín Principal there was a group of teenagers playing after school. Among them was Erick Llamas, who is 16 years old. He made it clear that men and women are equal “not physically, but legally.” He also commented that he is not in favor of machismo. He says, “Neither of them should exist if men and women respect each others’ rights.” Before gender stereotyping, Llamas remarks that he is not macho or a misogynist, but some of the stereotypes that he has heard are that women are irrational, submissive, and kind. “Men and women need to be together to preserve the family,” he said in addition.
“The marriages in the cities are different from those in the campo. In the city, women can and need to work because life is more expensive, but in the campo, no. In the outskirts women need to take care of children, wash the clothing, cook, and just take care of their family and their men to preserve the family union,” says Roberto Flores, from Guerrero. He expresses that women are pretty smart, actually smarter than men. “Women have six senses and men, just five,” he highlights. “Men can have the power at home because they make the money, but there is a balance at home because women have the power of the mind. God said that a man needs a woman in his life. They are complements and cannot be alone, and if that is not enough, men need the female gender in their lives because they are a disaster if they are alone.” This man from the campo in Guerrero is almost 50 years old, and he knows that legally, “because the government said it,” men and women are the same; “That is good and bad at the same time, he says, smiling, “because women do not think before doing something; they just do it. And men are more careful.”
Christian Lucas, a 30-year-old Australian diplomat, says that in his country the stereotype of a woman is that she is delicate, pretty, and doesn’t complain about motherhood and care of the home. A woman would stereotype a man as the worker who provides for the family and is strong and powerful. Lucas comments that machismo is not a Mexican thing; they also live it in Australia. Australian males have a very sporting background and nature which is passed down through generations: to be macho and not to be weak. On the other hand, he states that feminism is strong in Australia and has a long history. Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote, behind New Zealand. There is a great support for women in the workplace, but it is evident that so much more needs to be done.
The stereotypes given by Mattew Martin, a New York accountant, are not that different from those given by the other interviewed people. “A woman,” he says, “is weak, emotional, loving, difficult, and emotionally bipolar.” In comparison, men are strong, emotionless, discreet, stoic, and hard working. He also says that men are discreet and, for that reason, they cry, but always in private, compared to women, who are more dramatic. In the United States, comments Martin, women have a strong voice. Although they are fighting for more rights and more equality, there are many men with ideas from the past, and they “do not open the doors as they should.”
“You need to watch more boxing”
One of the most recent examples of gender stereotyping is the campaign launched this year by Tecate (a beer company) to promote boxing. The advertisements are targeted to male audiences that love boxing and beer. The commercial could be innocent and comic in the beginning, but if it is carefully analyzed, it can be offensive to women.
The advertisements star actor Sylvester Stallone, who suddenly appears before several men who are performing seemingly non-masculine activities, such as as taking selfies or renting romantic comedies. The actor tells them they need to “watch more boxing.” This is the link to the selfie spot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOhbl2TZRTc.
International Woman’s Day is celebrated on March 8 in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, be they national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, or political.
International Woman’s Day first emerged from activities of labor movements at the turn of the 20th century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Woman’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international woman’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.