Is She a bitch or a leader?

Is she a bitch or a leader? Is he a wuss or a sensitive man?

Both these questions help us become more aware of underlying biases and stereotypes.

Healthy functioning allows for flexibility in men’s and women’s roles and behaviors.  Both genders should be able to choose what best suits them. Our socialization about what is appropriate for each gender can consciously or unconsciously affect confidence and mobility in careers. When women and men are put down for what would be considered normal feelings and behaviors if it were the opposite sex, we send not so subtle messages about how people should behave.

Examples:

  • He is tenacious.   She doesn’t know when to quit.
  • She is a bitch.  He is expressing his anger and being firm.
  • He is careful about details. She is picky.
  • She is sensitive and caring.  He is a pansy.
  • She cannot control her emotions. He loses his temper because he’s stressed.
  • He must be homosexual when he hugs men. She is not afraid to express affection when she hugs women.
  • He is an aggressive businessman. She is a pushy businesswoman.
  • She is too assertive. He is a good leader.
  • He is wish-washy. She is able to compromise and negotiate.

Well adjusted men and women are able to express who they are without feeling they need to hide parts of themselves to fit into a perceived “norm”.  Ridiculing for behavior that is considered appropriate for others is discriminatory.

This is not so different from stereotyping people of another race instead of seeing them as individuals. Whenever we judge anyone based on race or gender, we aren’t relating to them as people, but as objects in a category.

Notice stereotypes you and others have and how they color your perceptions and interactions.Be aware of whether you respond differently to behavior based on the person’s gender.

A healthy society values the contributions that women and men make without confining them to preconceived notions of how they should be.

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