Does Gender Stereotype Language Impact Our Mental Health?
For a long time we all have been facing differentiation on the basis of our gender. Both men and women haven’t had anything easy. We get to listen to things that are bizarre every day. Don’t we?
Language is powerful. When we use stereotypical language we are promoting those stereotypes. Our language reflects our beliefs and having stereotypical beliefs is not right. When we see people looking at us through a stereotypical lens the feeling isn’t good.
We are all strong people but when those stereotypical statements constantly are thrown at us, it will break us at one point. There has been an evident difference in the language that has been used for men and women.
The question here is that are these statements just upsetting or can impact our mental health? Let’s look at a few statements that might have an adverse effect on our mental wellbeing.
What is Gender Stereotype Language?
A gender stereotype is a preconceived notion about the abilities and characteristics of men and women. A gender stereotype language is when we use those preconceived notions in our speech. We use language to put our point across and our language becomes stereotyped when our beliefs are stereotyped.
- Boys don’t play with dolls
- Girls can’t wrestle
- Kitchen is not a man’s world
- You drive pretty well being a girl
- Men don’t wear makeup
- Women take hours to get ready
- Corporate is a man’s world, etc.
These are a few examples of gender stereotype language. The one who is a sexist is most likely to have a gender stereotype language.
How does Gender Stereotype Language Impact Our Mental Health?
Let’s understand this with help of examples:
1. “Boys don’t cry.”
How many times have you heard this? I have heard young people use such statements and it’s so disheartening. When such language is used it can really hamper someone’s understanding of feeling and expressing emotions.
When a child is told that boys aren’t supposed to cry they grow up believing that expressing pain is bad. Therefore, they start suppressing their pain and end up with disturbed emotional health.
2. “Should I take the wheel when we hit the highway? Women have slow reflexes!”
When a girl grows up listening to such statements, self-doubt comes in quite quickly. Thinking that women can’t drive well is pure rubbish. And all women know this but when people around them constantly tell her that she can’t it somewhere kills her confidence.
We are all humans and we can make mistakes. When a girl makes a driving mistake the stereotype language will shatter her confidence. Leaving her with self-doubt, shame and zero confidence.
3. “Pink is for girls, pick the blue shirt up”
Why can’t boys wear pink? If you want to associate pink to girls, that’s fine. But what’s wrong in wearing a color that’s associated with girls? Telling something not to wear a feminine color is demeaning to women.
You are making a person believe that being feminine is not right. This will force them to hide their true self. This is definitely going to have a negative impact on your mental health.
4. “Your company is going down as if a woman is running it!”
This makes my blood boil but it’s not about me right now. When you use such a statement you are doubting the capability of a woman. A company can go down irrespective of who is running it.
Such language can break someone’s confidence. Even when they work hard and when their efforts go unnoticed it’s not going to end well. She might end up losing her self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and motivation.
5. “Women can’t fight!”
The stereotype here is that women can’t fight well. Ask yourself can women really can’t fight well? Fighting well depends on your strengths and not your gender. When you use such stereotypes you are making someone believe that they are not good enough just because they belong to a certain gender.
After a lot of contemplation, I have come to a conclusion that gender stereotype language does have an impact on our mental health. No matter how strong we are, constant nagging can bring us down.
Stereotypes may not make you develop a pathological condition but have the capability of leading you to it. Most of our mental health revolves around what we think about ourselves. Gender stereotype language attacks that very thing.
The way you look at yourself is directly proportional to good mental health. Self-doubt, self-worth, self-image, self-confidence all are destroyed by stereotypes around us.
Now I think it’s clear that gender stereotype language impacts our mental health negatively. Let’s take a pledge to not use gender stereotype language for the betterment of our mental health.
I hope this blog has cleared doubts about gender stereotype language and mental health.
Thanks for reading!
Take care! Stay safe!