Ladies, when you were young, did your parents buy you dolls to play with? And for gents, has anyone told you that boys should not cry? Stereotypical gender roles have been ingrained into us from a young age. Females are often expected to take care of domestic affairs while men are expected to protect women and work to support their families. People tend to oppress, criticise or isolate those who do not fit into gender norms.
As society becomes more open-minded, attitudes towards gender roles are changing. Gender equality is gaining more attention and awareness. More support is being given to the feminism and women’s rights movement. But we do wonder, whether the pressure for gender conformity still exists.
Society now tells women that yes, they can be strong and independent but should know where to draw the lines so as not to intimidate men. Whilst men are told that they can be sensitive, however women will not be attracted to them if they are not tough enough.
A study conducted by Bumble in 2022, showed that the majority of Singaporeans still firmly believe that men should take the lead in relationships, like planning dates and proposing. And some men still feel that it is not attractive for women to be assertive and to make the first move. There seems to be a disconnect between the evolving attitudes on gender norms and the way people act.
These traditional gender roles may impact relationships negatively. In order to conform to gender stereotypes, people tend to hide their authentic selves and pretend to be someone they are not. This often leads to failed relationships, mental stress and unhappiness.
Why should we conform when both masculine and feminine traits exist in all of us? As society continues to progress, shouldn’t we overcome the fear of expressing our authentic selves? If you meet the right person, they will accept and love you for who you are. Don’t be afraid to behave in ways that don’t conform to gender stereotypes, be who you want to be, and love authentically. We hope that you will find someone who will love you unconditionally.