3 December 2011
The Negative Impact of Stereotypes
Stereotype- a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group (Dictionary). In simpler words, stereotypes are judgments based on actions of an individual or small group, thought to be true about the rest of that group. Stereotypes refer to individuals perceptions that typically do not correspond to reality. A stereotype is a picture in the head, not an accurate mirror of the real world. Gender stereotypes, as well as many other stereotypes, possess falseness and are not always correct. Not only do gender stereotypes contain false assumptions, but can have lasting impacts of those who are mistakenly accused. Although there may be truth of women falling under the generalizations made by society, many do not and this can affect those women negatively. Throughout history and our society today, women have often been seen as less dominate than men. Women are not as smart as men. They are not safe drivers. They are weaker. Women make better nurturers, men make better mechanics. All of these negative stereotypes degrade a woman’s identity and pride. Many societal views placed on women such as occupational roles and their display in the media all express false facts. One distinct component of negative stereotypes is women and their jobs. While careers like surgeon, doctor and mechanic are referred as masculine, other jobs such as school teacher, nurse and secretary pose a sense of feminism. Society has placed many prejudices towards the way we see careers as being feminine or masculine. Based on the research book, Gender Stereotypes of Occupations, by Annette M. Girondi, the University of Akron’s Department of Psychology conducted two studies in which assessments of occupational gender stereotyping were compared with assessments of occupational prestige. In study one, 20 male and 20 female adults were employed in various occupations. The participants rated the sex-type and prestige of 46 occupations. Approximately 26 percent of the occupations were viewed as feminine, 24 percent as neutral, and 50 percent as masculine. Prestige ratings of masculine occupations had a broader range, while ratings for feminine occupations had a very small range. In the second study, 20 men and women employed as human resource professionals rated 134 occupations using the same procedures used in the first study. Results revealed that 15.7 percent of the occupations were rated as feminine, 8.9 percent as neutral, and 75.4 percent as masculine. Prestige ratings for feminine occupations again had a very small range (Education Resources Info Center). The findings of these studies suggest a majority of occupations are perceived as being masculine, and those viewed as feminine are thought to be less prestigious. In response to the occupational stereotypes of genders, statistics show men actually receive larger payments than women in certain careers. Based on data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, female physicians and surgeons set the list as the top paying job. These women earned a median of $1,618 per week, or about $84,000 a year, more than any other profession tracked by the BLS. Though male doctors continue to earn more than female doctors, the pay gap has narrowed each year; it’s now at 29 percent versus 41 percent two years ago (BLS). As for elementary and middle school teachers, women earn 87.6 cents for a man's dollar and registered women nurses earn 87.4 cents for a man's dollar (Progressive Review). These statistics prove that even though men and women work the same field, women make less than men on average. Not only through occupational roles are women stereotyped, but also heavily and commonly in the media. Whatever the role, from supermom to sex kitten, television, film and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are typically white and...