Gender Stereotypes: Shege Knows No Gender
I have finally decided to answer a question that has bugged me for over four years. For a while, I have stayed away from gender-related talk and gender stereotypes but, here we all are. This is because regardless of whatever you do, people will attach your successes and failures as a function of your gender. Even as individuals, we also do this to ourselves.
This doesn’t reduce the factor of gender in our daily lives still. At least, every day, there is something to remind you of your gender and how it affects your life. Your gender affects one area of your life, if not more. Marriage, education, career, finances, and emotions are all affected by your gender. Gender affects even something as simple as Japa.
So our question for the day is, who has it better in life, men or women? How much of our life gets affected by gender-related shege?
Life is hard for men and harder for women.
First of all, I didn’t say this. There was a study on Gender Roles in Central America and they titled their work this way. This is one of the many stereotypes we have. Then, there are metaphors. Women as weaker vessels, women are like waffles, and men are like spaghetti. Then each of us, men and women, hop on the struggle to claim who has it more difficult. But our gender has made us what we are, and the issues we confront due to our biology or gender assigned at birth.
How Do Gender Stereotypes Affect Young People?
As Gen Zs, we are trying to find meaning in life. What it is? What does it mean? I’ll be sharing some common areas and how gender stereotypes affect men and women.
One day, I was minding my business when one of the prospective could-have-been love of my life, reached out to me and said I was too ambitious. Out of the blues. No previous conversation. Meanwhile, here I am thinking about how I should take my life more seriously. It seems that every successful woman soon gets tagged as “Miss Independent”. You’ll think this is something good. That at least, you can stand on your two feet. But no, it’s life-threatening for insecure men.
Gender stereotypes can have a powerful influence on Gen Z’s ambition. It limits what we think we can achieve or should achieve based on our gender. For men, the reverse is the case. You must not relax. For men, the reverse is the case. You must not relax. I am sure if we check the societal standards for success and ambition, we will find the root cause of the Yahoo boy scourge we have in Nigeria.
Then we will create a sense of self-doubt or imposter syndrome with all this. It further holds us back from pursuing our genuine passions and potential.
If you have never faced Gender-related shege wait until you get into workplace politics. One of the greatest challenges in this area is pay gap. You realize that as a woman you are doing more work than a male colleague, but he is being paid more. That is only the beginning of your challenges.
You are the second choice when it comes to raises or promotions. But, we will blame this on women not being assertive or competent, which is even another bigger myth.
The case for men is even weirder. Men face restrictions to entering certain professions. Pursuing a traditionally “feminine” career, like teaching or social work, introduces stigma or ridicule. Then, we believe it is easier for women to get jobs based on looks. Is that not even a problem? After all, at the end of the day, the jobs are stifling. The best way to survive this in Nigeria is to run your own business. Even if it is a side hustle.
As soon as I finished my university and NYSC, the first question I got asked was when I was going to get married. I had not even breathed my first air of freedom and rest. When it comes to marriage, gender stereotypes create pressure and expectations around traditional gender roles and expectations.
For example, a young woman might feel like she needs to focus on getting married and starting a family over pursuing her career goals. While a young man might feel like he needs to be the sole breadwinner and provide for his family.
Strange how people rush into marriage only to discover they got in too early and can’t cope with it. Check gender stereotyping, you will cut divorce down by half. Not all of us will get married at 22. For some, LOML will come at 40. It’s not every time that village people have a hand in this.
Finances are another area where gender stereotypes can have a big impact. For example, we see women as less capable or interested in managing money or making investment decisions. Creating financial insecurity or dependence on others. By societal standards, the primary earners and financial decision-makers should be the man. So, if you get considered too wealthy as a woman, your problems are just beginning.
There are rules laid downs for how life for men should be. A man cannot cry or show emotion. A man is simply to be a man. Men tend to get bred as stoic and avoid displaying vulnerability or asking for help. This can create barriers to seeking and receiving support when it’s needed. Check gender stereotypes, you check the level of suicide attempts in young people.
Finally, religion can be another area where gender stereotypes are present. Some religions might have strict expectations that limit individual expression and identity. Additionally, women can get excluded from leadership roles or opportunities for spiritual growth. While men might feel pressure to conform to traditional norms and expectations within religious communities.
Shege knows no gender
It’s not an equal amount of shege that we face. It is important you know that, whether man or woman, shege knows no gender. We all experience shege in varying degrees. Some women face more challenges than men and women of their peers. The same applies to men. Still, this doesn’t mean that life doesn’t offer specific challenges targeted at women and then measure out a dynamic set of experiences for men. The issue will be trying to place them on a balance scale and expect them to be equal. Not possible.
So, with all this, do you think Shege is gender specific and that men have it more than women or women have it harder than men? Or does your biological makeup don’t account for whether life is easier for you?
Or do I carve out my gender? Even if that happens, gender stereotyping will still restrict me. But what do you think? Please share in the comment section and don’t forget, a drop of honey for your day…