We all in a way or the other, think in stereotypes-generalizations to a greater or lesser degree. Division on any basis, whether it be "housewives" or "athletes", inevitably gives rise to a set of clichés. Of course, the propensity to stereotyping depends on all sorts of contexts, the country of residence, the level of education, or say, religiosity.
But there is a division that we meet everywhere-into "female" and "male", from character traits and mental abilities, to professions and manners of dressing.
These stereotypes do not arise from scratch, but taking root in everyday life. They are very hard to uproot from there, begin to determine our behavior and, most importantly, are not noticeable to everyone.
We decided to sort out the most common misconceptions about how heterosexual relationships are built and how “typically” women and men behave in them. Indeed, in order not to become a victim of stereotypes (or not to make your partner one), it is important to understand how they work and whether they begin to harm your relationship.
Appearance is key
At the beginning of a relationship, each one of us with a high probability has own baggage of rules “how (not) a woman should look” and “how (not) a man should look”. Women are checked for the degree and quality of makeup, for the body shape and grooming. If the test result does not meet the "gold standard", then the woman is recognized as unfeminine and unattractive.
Men are judged no less harshly through their grooming practices. If a man strives to look well-groomed according to a canon different from the “male” one (say, manicure, makeup, extravagant style of dress), then in certain patriarchal circles he may face a negative attitude-an accusation of unmasculinity or homosexuality, which is considered an insult in a conservative society and especially hits the patriarchal man.
As a result, the main victims of stereotypes about masculinity are men themselves, and about femininity-women. After all, it turns out that the opposite sex does not have such inhuman requirements for the appearance of a partner as we think, and in pursuit of a “beach body”, a deep bikini or pumped up triceps, we often go ourselves, mistakenly thinking that this is exactly what is expected of us.
All women want children
The “I want a baby” option is not built into either a woman or a man by default. You can, of course, argue and confirm with personal experience that the naturalness of the maternal principle is irrefutable, but this does not change the fact that not all people want children, and gender has almost no effect on this.
Despite the fact that men sometimes want to have children much more strongly than women, the stereotype imposes its own limitation on them: some do not even dare to admit their craving for fatherhood, taking it for a sign of weakness.
Men want sex and women want love
This statement has many forms of expression in folklore. All of them, as a rule, naturalize the polygamy of men, note the difference in approaches to infidelity among representatives of different sexes, note the "physiological" love desires of men and the "romantic" love desires of women.
Simply put, porn is for guys, female novels are understandable for whom. All this creates fertile contexts for rhetoric in which men are attributed the need for sex without any special feelings, and women the opportunity to engage in it only for love.
The modern world, where women have become more free in the right to dispose of their bodies, not to marry after each copulation, and even, horror, to offer a man sex for one night, proves that this is not at all the case. The fact that this often takes men by surprise suggests that that they have not yet rebuilt and the new rules create discomfort for them. Not to mention that the desire for sex without continuation, expressed by a woman, may entail the label "prostitute".
Women speak in hints, their "no" often means "yes"
Entire lists can be found on the net listing "what a woman says" and "what she really means." The norm for men, on the contrary, is considered to speak directly, without bluntness, with the absence of any kind of double meaning. It turns out that everyone is held hostage by the way of speaking, which corresponds to their gender prescriptions.
If, for example, a woman says an extremely clear “no”, then this “no”, within the framework of following the stereotype, can be perceived as a “flirtatious yes”. As a result, partners hardly find a compromise. Men all the time try to “read between the lines” or come to the conclusion that it is pointless to try to understand a woman, and women, in turn, consider men to be one-dimensional beings not prone to reflection. In the worst case, the inability to hear a partner and understand that “no” in the mouth of a woman means “no”,
Women prefer rich men
In this stereotype, the old and fabulous “you have a product, we have a merchant” continues to live. It constructs a market order of building relationships. A man is considered as a consumer, a woman is an object of consumption. Accordingly, the richer the man, the more opportunities for consumption.
This stereotype has a flip side, to charge men with the need to support women. By maintaining the status of an object, a woman becomes a consumer of the man's financial resources on the basis that they are in a relationship.
Of course, not everyone is in a hurry to enter into such a relationship consciously, but even completely unthinking couples sometimes subconsciously act and think in terms of a model where a man must earn enough to meet his partner's needs, and she, in turn, deserves it by the very fact of her existence. And the amount of money in the man's account is just a detail.
All women dream of getting married.
In other words, this stereotype can be represented as follows; all women think about "how to ring him", and men; "how to drag her into bed and not marry."
Various institutions reinforce the idea of women's desire for marriage. Starting with popular sympathy, she “stayed too long in the girls”, ending with numerous media examples, in advertising, gloss, the wedding industry, which is largely focused specifically on brides, and not on grooms.
The stably strong position of this stereotype can be maintained by women themselves. So, there is an internal misogyny, the condemnation of women who do not strive for "nesting".
Speaking of men, it is traditionally assumed that the proposal is made by men, the same tradition imputes to them the need, but not the passionate desire for marriage. This stereotype is tenacious and does not intend to give up so easily, for example, lecture by the teacher of the Higher School of Economics on Coursera.
Men are not ready to take care of children
And although in a number of countries the practice of maternity leave for men has long existed, in most parts of the world, is still considered “not a man’s business.” This stereotype narrows the concept of fatherhood, takes men out of the practice of everyday troubles with a child.
The upbringing and care of children becomes the territory of the monopoly of women. Fathers who give their kids a little bit of attention, diaper changes, strollers on the weekend, are rewarded with a ton of encouraging feedback from the community.
But fathers who leave work to raise children may well be the target of censure. Alas, the stereotype dictates its own rules and prevents each individual couple from developing a schedule and option that will suit them in their particular circumstances. After all, sitting at home with children is not an easy job that both women and men are capable of.
Women are more important than family, and men are more important than career
This statement imputes to people who somehow existed offline before the relationship an unambiguous and gender-marked orientation in life aspirations. One is the earner, the other is the keeper of the hearth. At the same time, both should be content with their position, because it is in nature that women and men get satisfaction from different things. A lot is written about the presence of a specific "female" happiness in a psychological gloss for women or, say, in women's novels. The same mythical "feminine" happiness can be wished by a girlfriend on her birthday.
“Male happiness”, as a rule, is not desired by men, however, its understanding is also localized and determined by male solvency-financial, career, physical.
According to this stereotype, one should wish a woman comfort in the house, and a man-professional development, and not vice versa. Women who develop professionally and men who are passionate about home and children are at best perceived as exceptions, at worst as unworthy representatives of their sex and are awarded the labels of "careerist" and "henpecked".
Women are always trying to change men
Moreover, women, according to this statement, do it in a certain way, for which the name “eat out the brain” has stuck. This process is attributed to perseverance, and the lowest methods in achieving, whether it be hysteria, tears, endless calls to do something or, on the contrary, to stop doing something.
We rarely think about it, but in addition to other unpleasant consequences, this stereotype gives rise to morality that is ugly in its effects. If a man raised his hand to a woman, then she finished it. After all, they, women, know how to bring. And vice versa, the existence of this stereotype gives women an indulgence to use tears or other non-constructive methods of dialogue. Simply on the basis that this is characteristic of women and, therefore, is allowed.
Men are rational, women are emotional
The sacralization and exaggeration of differences in the psyche of women and men have occurred at different times and in different cultures, and in our time, allegedly innate different degrees of emotionality in different sexes are often illustrated by data from the field of psychology.
While this stereotype prevails, it is difficult for everyone. Men are charged with tabooing certain forms of manifestation of sensitivity since childhood, for example, the familiar “don’t whine like a girl”, women are attributed from birth to this illogicality of actions and reactions, as well as violent emotional behavior as the norm of a female character. All this complicates, and sometimes makes completely impossible mutual understanding between partners and their openness to each other.