Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stereotypes and such...

I think that one of the most interesting things that I found in chapter 5 was the section on sexism and gender stereotypes. First of all let's define these two things. Sexism is basically a prejudice based on gender, for example simply the dichonomous male vs. female. Stereotypes are beliefs that certain groups, not just race related, are defined and thought of through certain traits. 
I am currently taking a class called Feminist Positions, and have been exposed to many different "positions," meaning different nationalities and races, on these issues of sexism and stereotyping of gender. Perhaps the most interesting thing that I have come across in this class is the idea the gender is socially constructed. For example, boys are boys because we dress them in blue and give them trucks to play with and vice versa. I don't know if I necessarily believe in this theory but when I was reading the text this was the first thing that came to mind. In the text it states the various qualities deemed masculine or feminine and the first thing that came to mind was this idea that these qualities, as well as some of the other stereotypes that are associated with men or women, can possibly be taught during childhood. 
I think that these gender stereotyping ideas are best personified by some of my experiences growing up in a predominately hispanic society in McAllen, Texas which rides the border to Mexico near the southern most point in Texas. One of the biggest examples of gender stereotyping that I have witnessed happen during my freshman year of high school. My best friend is part of one of the most extreme Mexican families I have ever seen. With that in mind, the patriarchal layout of the family is what makes this story so important. Her dad didn't allow either of his two daughters to date until they were juniors, but my best friend started dating in her freshman year. When he found out he blew up and demanded that she break up with him. Although that in itself that was bad, the interesting thing was that her older brother had absolutely no curfew and more importantly no dating restrictions. I guess reading some of this material and material from some of my other classes really shed new light on some of those things that happened while I lived in McAllen. 

Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2008). In Social Psychology (7th ed., pp.154-160). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company


  1. I've taken some sociology classes as well as developmental psychology, and I definitely think that gender and gender roles are socially constructed. It starts when you are a baby and your parents dress you in a pink dress, so even though you don't have any hair, people will know that you're a girl and not a boy. Its really interesting stuff to think about

  2. It's interesting that you mention the different treatment of your friend from her brother. I, as my dad's only daughter, was not allowed to see R-rated movies (he didn't even like me to see them after I turned 17!) and I had to take Cotillion classes. Did my brother ever have to take these awful dancing/etiquette classes? Of course not! And he got to see R-rated movies from the time he was about 13.

  3. Though, some people have had the same experience with sexism, I know someone who didn't have that. My friend has an older sister who had no curfew and could do whatever she wanted. But when she was living at home with them she was not allowed to do anything. She even had a curfew for the times she was allowed out. When she did go out she never got into trouble or did anything wrong, but her older sister was constantly in trouble. She also moved out to live with a friend her senior year of high school. So tell me how any of that makes sense. They are only a year apart.