A response to "Dolls, Trucks and Identity" by Sehba Zhumkhawala.
I feel like this article supports an excellent idea to increase gender equity. Children should be allowed to find their own likes and interests without being influenced to fall into what is seen as normal for their gender. I believe that a girl shouldn’t be confined to only play with dolls and boys to only play with trucks. If we stuck to what our society saw as normal for our gender we wouldn’t have Danica Patrick, Emril Lagassi, Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin or Marc Jacobs.
Besides the obvious physical characteristics there are also many differences between the psychologies of the two genders. For example, men and women differ in the way they respond to stress. Men respond by activating the flight-or-fight response while woman have a more emotional response (Science Daily, 2008). Some studies also show that men are more independent thinkers and think globally while women tend to cooperate and focus more on details. Women are able to handle financial problems, hardships and pain better than men. However, men are more willing to take risks when they are creating or building and also have a higher self-appraisal (Simon, 2009). Although there are physiological and psychological differences between men and women they should not dictate our activities and interests.
Due to our physiological and psychological differences it is reasonable to say that men and women respond to situations differently. However, it does not indicate that they can’t participate in the same situations. It’s clear that gender stereotypes exist. These stereotypes have the potential to change the way we not only view others, but how we view ourselves as well. Each of us unknowingly continues to stereotype and until we realize how we treat the genders differently we won’t be able to change it.
Gender stereotyping was something that I never even thought about. It didn’t occur to me that such ideas could enter our minds without us being consciously aware of them. In some circumstances I’ve even shorted myself because of it. Often when something breaks around the house I just think, “Well, my husband’s a man, he knows how to fix it.” In most cases, he does. However, by just giving up because I don’t think I can do it since it isn’t a “woman’s” job; I never try to fix things. Therefore, I’m falling into the stereotype before ever giving myself the chance to prove it otherwise. It has now become my goal to bring my subconscious stereotypes to light and revise my thinking of the genders. Maybe tonight I’ll tackle the, “men can’t cook,” stereotype and have my husband make dinner tonight!
Zhumkhawala, S. (1997). Dolls, trucks, and identity: Educators help young children grow beyond gender. Children’s Advocate. Retrieved from http://www.4children.org/issues/1997/november_december/dolls_trucks_and_identity/
n/a. (2008). Men are from Mars: Neuroscientists find that men and women respond differently to stress. Science Daily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2008/0403-men_are_from_mars.htm
Simon, G. (2009). Men and women: The real psychological differences. Counseling Resource. Retrieved from http://counsellingresource.com/ask-the- psychologist/2009/07/08/men-and-women-the-real-psychological-differences/