How and from where these stereotypes initiate and develop from?

12 Aug
Shruti Gupta Delhi

Hi everyone,

About a month ago, at a place where I had been working as an intern, we had been asked to gather the latest trends with regard to various things like tech, fashion, places to eat, etc. Now, I am the kind of person who is least interested in fashion and its trends. I have tried liking shopping but turns out it doesn't bust my stress, rather it increases it. So, precisely, I don't like fashion and clothing and whatever comes under this topic.

The incident:
A male co-intern and I had been asked to specifically brainstorm about fashion-related things. The male co-intern, let's call him X claimed that he couldn't do anything on fashion because it didn't fit his area of interest, and that he would find things on any other topic, whatsoever. However, when I said the same, I had been asked to 'develop' interest in fashion because I was a girl. I found the argument futile, and therefore, left the internship.

It was not a big deal, per se. But when I realised how much difference these little things make, I was taken aback. Blue is for boys, pink is for girls, are the kinds of stereotypes that further categorise 'males' and 'females' so much that the term 'humans' gets lost somewhere. 

How and from where these stereotypes initiate and develop from?

Responses 6

  • Shubhanshi Singh
    Shubhanshi Singh   Aug 14, 2017 08:09 AM

    Hi there! 


    The fact that girls have been expected to be indulged into fashion related realms because during the early days, women were more inclined in ornaments while men went out to hunt. As and when time progressed, people didnt, they still continued with these expectations. Times have changed. The situation isn't the same anymore. Gone are those days when women and men were distinguished based on their roles. Anything a man can do, a woman can do too. 

    When you tell an infant that liking blue and not crying and having muscles and having to earn money is his job while liking pink and knowing how to cook is a woman's job, the child starts to incorporate this mentality. Only if we change the household perception, we can change these prejudices and stereotypes  

    I am really proud of your decision of quiting. Your organisation people must have realised how important it is to maintain equality and not be prejudiced. 

  • Minaish Dhabhar
    Minaish Dhabhar   Aug 13, 2017 11:12 PM

    Hi there, 

    I'm sorry you had to go through that. It may not be the typical sexism people talk about, but that doesn't make it any less of it. 

    These stereotypes exist because they've been cultivated through generations and generations of seemingly "harmless" gender-based classification. Boys don't play with dolls, girls don't play football, boys don't cry, girls don't fight, "be a man", "be a lady". And the truth is, at some point all of us have not only experienced but also encouraged these stereotypes, possibly without realising it. 

    However, the truth is that these aren't really harmless. Just as one common day gender-based classification affected your professional life, the others have their own effects too. For example, I'll give you a personal experience. When I was a child in school, I once saw a boy with a pink school bag. And my instant reaction was to make fun of him and tell my mum about it who told me "Don't laugh, his parents may not have been able to afford another". This got me thinking at that time and I felt horrible.  To this day, it is still something that makes my heart ache with some regret. But more importantly, while my mother was trying to help e, the other answer should have really been "Maybe he likes pink. It's okay" but in our world, these things are not the first conclusions we jump too which is why boys and girls, men and women get affected, with their insecurities heightened and their self-esteem torn down. 

    What we can do is slowly by slowly, stop others from incorrect biases. This begins, however, with finding them within ourselves first and stopping it there. It may not be easy bit it's a start. 

  • Ayushi Jolly
    Ayushi Jolly   Aug 13, 2017 06:56 PM

    Hey there! Hope you are doing well.

    It is really sad to see the amount of stigma that is prevaling in the society which does not have any base at all. There are so many illogical things that differ a girl from a boy.We have been brought up in a culture where girls have to be suppressed,obedient and should never ever voice there opinions.Very frankly,little can be done about it individually.The only solution is to have a collective approach towards such mentality and bring about a revolution against it but,better said than done,things will work on their own pace.

    However,in case of boys,they literally have the freedom to do anything under the sun.Also,coming to trends and fashion,a girl who does not show interest in it,fails to become a part of a social culture and is not able to communicate regarding the same. In your case,I feel the co-workers might have thought that you were engaging in such behaviour because you wanted to escape work or the like because fashion is so synonymous with feminism that people do not understand the difference. It is not your fault or the boy's but the society. The stereotype stems from us only and is uprooted by us also. We have to change it for a better future.

  • Priya Parwani
    Priya Parwani   Aug 13, 2017 08:30 AM


    Hope you are having a good day. Your concern is completely relevant because we all live in so called Mens' World, where all the rights are given to  men and women are considered as weak and inferior gender. It's not the problem of our nation but a global problem, where women of so many countries are facing gender bias issues and are dominated by men. That's the reason why feminism is exploding on a vast arena and in a fast pace. It's from the starting of the civilization where men used to go for hunting and women used to stay at home and do household chores and it still continues in this century also. It's completely frustrating that the world still has this problem of gender, though being scientifically and technologically advance. Still we are unable to remove our  prejudices towards gender and we have created so many notions for girls and boys. Brave, strong,intelligent goes for boys and weak,soft and tender goes for girls. All these things are completely irrelevant and still prevalent in our society, which is somehow very disheartning.

    But slowly things are changing and women are getting beteer and better and flourishing in each domain of this of world and hopefully we will have a world where there will be equality.

    Hope this will help.

  • Anjali Deshmukh
    Anjali Deshmukh   Aug 12, 2017 09:15 PM

    Hey Shruti !

                    So here we are with gender inequality issue being wrapped up in corporate format. You are right about the fact that when guys are exempted from a particular thing but the girls are not just beacuse they are "GIRLS" it definitely flares up the feminist within us. These kind of stereotypes that, girls can do only these particular things and they should just stick to it is age old. 

                           I would just say that ours is the country which contradicts its own statements. One hand they say that we women are goddess, powerful and they worship us. On the other hand they make us powerless and weak by burdening us with the rules of so- called society. These kind of ill treatment of girls based on gender inequality has long been there since ramayan and mahabharat. Infact much before that. It was Draupadi who was used as an object in the game of Chausar. And it was Sita who had to prove her purity not Sri Ram. Our literature is the proof of inequality against women.You are a girl and you have as much right as a guy to choose your area of interest. This incident which happened with you is another example of our developing stereotyped country. No words can actually describe that moment when girls are made to feel unequal and unimportant. Still we are fighting for our rights in this male dominated modern world. But you know what is special about females? FE = IRON & MALE which says that we are the IRON MALES.

               Whatever may happen Shruti, dont ever let yourself down. Be proud to be a girl and keep fighting. I am sure one day we girls will get our way. 

  • Sanjna Verma
    Sanjna Verma   Aug 12, 2017 09:13 PM


    These stereotypes according to me are the wrong generalisations one makes. Like you shared your experience of your lack of interest in fashion inspite of being a girl, girls also face stereotypes in terms of playing and keeping interest in sports. I saw a short video on this by FilterCopy wherein the girl was asking about the score of the match and the boy said "You keep interest in sports despite being a girl?" I have not faced this stereotype though but seriously why can a girl not? And in terms of girls not playing sports it may be that people encounter certain girls who are not at all interested for playing cricket or any other sport so they form a generalisation that girl's do not like to play sports.

    Such stereotyping is also a product of the patriarchal notions prevalent in our country wherein girls are asked to be weak and obedient and boys need to be brave and strong to show off their masculinity. So when people see a girl keeping interest in sports they begin to raise questions like "How can a girl be interested in such things?" As if something which requires immense amount of physical activity and expressing oneself, is only meant for a boy. Even when some guy is not playing properly "Don't play like a girl." A boy is given a car to play whereas a girl is given a doll or a kitchen set to play with. This shows how patriarchal norms have an impact towards classifying what is meant for a boy and a girl.

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