Gender Stereotypes In Literature

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Gender stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, differences, roles of individuals and/or groups. They can play an important role in shaping the way we think about others in society. Typically in literatures, women are characterised as being ‘weak’. For example, they are mainly depicted as being physically weaker, smaller, more fragile and in need of help from someone. Men, on the other hand, are characterised as being strong, competitive and courageous. They are also expected to hide their emotions. Because of all these gender stereotypes depicted in literatures, many readers, especially children, will be heavily influenced by the messages conveyed by the novel: how men and women are “supposed” to behave. The problem that could arise from this is that children may grow up thinking that men and women have to act in a specific way and develop an idea of gender that is black and white. This can lead to them developing negative opinions about people who do not fit the stereotypical gender roles. This is not the only problem. As children grow up and become teenagers, girls will believe they must be dependent on the opposite sex while boys will believe that they are somehow are superior to women. Even in today’s society we still have literature that is reinforcing gender stereotypes. So we need books that crush gender stereotypes and literature showing different roles of gender. This is especially true in South Africa, where gender stereotypes
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