Why gender roles hurt our youth

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A conservative mind set that many still cling to today is the non-belief of the importance of gender roles in today’s society.

A conservative mind set that many still cling to today is the non-belief of the importance of gender roles in today’s society.

It is the social stigma that girls have to do stereotypical feminine activities and boys must do masculine ones. For example, if a girl went up to their parents and told them she wants to take up boxing, some parents would say no and possibly shun her because boxing is not a girly thing to do. Vice versa, if a boy went up to their parents and told them he wants to be a beautician, some parents will also say no and possibly shun him for not acting manly enough.

But this mentality does nothing but harm our youth.

A study from the University of Warwick found girls and boys aged 14 would follow and act out stereotypical feminine and masculine roles not because they wanted to but because they assumed they had to, as if it was not a choice.

The two groups (girls and boys) were then gathered together to share how they felt about their gender roles. When everyone realized they were all on the same page, behavior significantly improved.

And it goes farther than just middle school.

Depression is wide spread between teens because of significant social pressures, stress, inability to fit in, and many other reasons. According to the CDC, suicide between the ages of 10-14 is the third leading cause of death and between the ages of 15-34 it is the second. Additionally, males take their own lives at almost four times the rate of females and are roughly 78 percent of suicides.

And it is no coincidence that gender observations found females were more likely to report depression—even in ways such as crying, appetite, and weight changes. Males on the other hand are less likely to report depression because of the mindset of not being man enough, that depression is not manly, and crying and getting help is a womanly thing to do.

We are at a point in time were studies like this will only increase until the notion of gender roles are finally laid to rest. Our youth is the most important thing we have to maintain a healthy future for society. It should not matter if boys want to wear dresses or if girl want to sag their jeans. Everyone is different regardless of gender. Let’s treat it as such.

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