Where does gender bias come from?
January 1, 2007 10:09pm CST
Throughout history there have been biases between the sexes. Man are lazy and women are b*tchy. Women are sl*ts, but men can sleep around all they want, and they are all the more cool for doing so. Men must be the bread winners and women homemakers. Even today with so called equality between the sex’s men who are stay at home dads are often looked down upon. I believe that perhaps gender bias comes from a misunderstanding that happened at some point in history. As an attempt to not be afraid of that which we do not understand we assign a quick and easy classification to it. This allows us to go on feeling safe. Then you also pick a classification which you can use to write off the value of that person. Since the person is not worth so much you can feel more important, and thus safer and more confident. That is what I think what are your views. In relationships such biases cause serious problems. These biases can even end a relationship (I know this from experience.). Where does gender bias come from, what causes it, and why does it continue? Are some gender biases of value, and if so what's an example?
2 people like this
• United States
17 Mar 07
Well..lets see.. History-wise, toward the farthest we all can see women were not biased against. In fact in some cultures THEY were considered the sronger gender..but even then they didn't go "No, you can't do so and so because you're a man." Admittedly there were a few girls only temples, but it was likewise for men. But then, somewhere down the line someone used religion the wrong way and taught that women were stupid, useless, shouldn't be educated, wear only a certain thing, etc..but then with that men were taught they HAD to be such and such..warriors and whatnot, and bards and entertainers who were previously prized and wise members of society were looked upon as lazy and less than other folks. Alot of crap happened and things got worse..in America the founding fathers were mostly trying to escape everything from their previous societies and lands crappy stuff..that includes religion, genders, and whatnot..though having been educated by their previous society some of the stuff lingered, though not ALL of it did. Things got a little better in other coutnries as time went on, but some got worse. Mainly due to religion it seems..people taking it and twisting it to their personal bias..people following the trends of their people, accepting and inforcing it. But people have always hated things which were different from them, as a rule. Society even now is singing the same tune it was decades before. But good people, educated people won't listen to society's 'song'..so hopefully gender bias won't continue or get worse..and it'll become less and less.
• United States
3 Apr 07
Yes you are right here women had not always been biased against, and indeed in some cultures they were revered. It is also interesting that you bring up how men were changed by the beginning of bias against women. I think this is true as well. In a sense it is like men became bias against other men and perhaps even against themselves. It is often true that when we do something to hurt someone else we have done or will do something to hurt ourself, because it is not that external thing that caused the problem it is something inside ourselves. This makes me think that the goals of feminism would be better achieved by a mens movement aimed at us men changing ourselves. Of course women are not perfect either, but for now we live in a man's world in many (but not all)ways. Then you bring up conformity people conforming to the views of others. You mention religion and how it has been used to support this....propaganda of sorts. I think we should include how science is often used this way as well. Of course science fortunately has safety precautions in place to help prevent this type of thing from happening and spreading. First you here one group of people did a "scientific" study and found out such and such, but then rest of the science community will usually-eventually stand up and contest it. I'm not so sure about the generalization of educated people being the ones who wont listen. This may be true in many cases but often I have found educated people to be the most bias of all and they are usually better at disguising their bias. But, for the sake of optimism I do believe that we are heading in the direction of a bias free world. I could be wrong. :) What kind of education do you think is needed to end this and other types of bias?
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
18 Jan 07
The question of where gender bias come from has already been answered to my satisfaction here. So I'll jump right to why does it continue? It's hard to make such a radical change within society. I mean, for every little boy that's told it's okay to play with dolls, there will be at least 3 or 4 that are told "No you have to play with this toy truck instead." Or vice versa. While individuals within the group might start to understand that it doesn't have to be this way in the modern world, as a whole children aren't raised that differently. And it's the children who will affect things, becoming the working women and stay-at-home daddies of tomorrow... or vice versa. I think another issue here is that sometimes the voice of change is too loud. If we all flinch everytime a man is masculine, we're still not getting anywhere. We're enforcing the opposite stereotype rather than reinforcing an end to stereotypes, aren't we? As for biases of value, I've been racking my brain to find one. And I'm coming up empty. I'll be interested to see if someone comes up with one.
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
20 Jan 07
That's very unfortunate to hear about your boss. I've been in the situation of not being able to move up because the manager personally disliked something about me. It's so hard to put an end to this type of thing. Even when laws are passed protecting people who might be discriminating against for specific reasons, we can't list every single reason someone might discriminate against you. And it's so hard to prove: especially when it's not an issue of you being fired from your job but rather one of being passed over for promotions. I wish you the best of luck! I've had some similar experiences as a woman who is not as feminine as some would like. There are specific things about me that are feminine, but there are also things that are masculine. I think the same is true of everyone, if we can investigate closely enough, but it's hard to get that deeply into someone else's mind. Need a good shovel for that maybe.
• United States
2 Jan 07
Good question. There is a long history about this subject. It started way back when man was first created. At that time man was physically stronger, therefore more capable of hunting and providing food for the woman and also protecting her. Woman was more domesticated and able to take the food provided and serve the man. As they grew and children were born it became a fact that men do better at hunting and protecting and women do better at cleaning, cooking and keeping everyone organized. This is not to say men can't or women can't do the same things. It is merely an observation that these roles suited them at that time. Now with me being a woman and a strong woman who can do most anything and who believes in total equality, I think men took this situation and used it their advantage and made it like an unwritten law. Women did not stand up for themselves and just accepted the unwritten law so they could survive. But things are changing every day to make this unwritten law not exist in our society! Remember this has always been a man's world, because women allowed it. The next few generations things may turn around and become a humans world, not just for men.
20 Feb 10
Actually, there is a mixture of gender bias and gender roles in your examples. I believe that God created man and woman differently because they want us to complement one another, not to compete with one another. This explains why man and woman are more suitable for different roles. However, for opinions for the different characteristics of gender, those are really just a generalization that shouldn't really be taken into account. We usually need to add a quantifier "generally are more" to these statement as they are not supposed to be absolute statement. There are always exceptions.
• United States
1 Jan 08
I know this discussion has been served 'the best response' award but I would just like to mention that gender bias originates in stereotypical thinking. It is fueled by ignorance, leniency, aggression, hostility and verbal abuse, the shame that some countries still see equality as woman behind man . . .
18 Mar 07
There are 2 main realities that cause and continue to cause gender bias : 1. The 2 genders have many obvious differences , ranging from body function differences , body shape differences ,to the differences in suitable activities and preferred appearance etc dictated by the more basic biological differences . 2. People tend to do what is easier even when thinking ,it is always easier to make sweeping generalizations even though we know they cannot be true . That is the cause behind all typs of prejudice and bias .
• United States
11 Feb 07
gender bias comes from waaay back in time. men were born and raised to work and take care of things because by nature they are "stronger", they have testosterone. woman are by nature more fragile. they're just labels and expectations of humans. i don't think it's ever going to change, atleast not in my lifetime. men are always going to be expected to be the stronger gender and women are always going to be expected to be the weaker gender, it's just how it goes. me and my boyfriend were actually talking about his last night. i don't think it's bias, i think it's actually truth. it's how we're put together.