A lot of people have “standard” ideas about how men or women look like, or should look like. These are called stereotypes because they are kind of oversimplified and overgeneralized. The word comes from the Greek words “stereos” (solid) and “typos” (impression). So it literally means a solid impression, but this does not always mean that impression is based on facts, just that it is solid or even rigid.
Having stereotypes is a natural thing. If you have to rethink everything we see every moment of the day, we would not have time to live and our brain would go mad. For example, it is very useful to have the stereotypical idea that a red traffic light means “stop”. In most cases it does actually mean stop. Or that a chair is meant to sit on, even though some chairs can be used as a small table or as a step to get something out of high cupboard.
However, stereotypes can have a negative effect when you consider someone as a standard model, while they are in reality much more nuanced or different than you notice with your first impression. Sometimes stereotypes are even organized in a negative way is supported by stories: women should do the household, men are warriors, gay men are seducing children, lesbians are rough, immigrants steal our jobs, black people are lazy, Jews are greedy, Roma and other travelling people will steal from you.
It is useful to be aware of such stereotypes, because they may push us misunderstand the world.
Please listen to the Ted Talk of Paul Bloom on why we have stereotypes: https://www.npr.org/transcripts/362373052?t=1598974453346.
If you prefer, you can also read the text instead of listening to the 9 minute radio interview.
After listening or reading, do the quiz here.
Introduction to the activity
In this activity, we will discuss 10 occupations. For each occupation will ask five questions that we will try to answer as a group. In this way will map if the occupations are more done by men or women and what role these occupations play in society.
Download the sheet, and fill in in Occupations – short list
Afterwards, we will discuss it in the group.