It’s fascinating that Girl’s Day, or “Hinamatsuri” in Japanese, was created as a protective tradition to have dolls absorb misfortune and bad luck for the girls of the household, like all other traditions that were either for protection or the promise of a better life.
I’ve come to understand that whether you identify as a male or female, the importance of balancing your feminine and masculine energies is essential in being whole and well. The defined stereotypes for a young girl or boy have been challenged in the past 10 years with the LGBTQIA movement and all the evolving forms of identity. My focus is more on each individual being able to balance out the energies of male and female, and recognizing the essence of Girl Power. First let’s define the traditional male and female stereotypes, and then you can recognize the traits you resonate with most and own those qualities.
What does it mean to be a girl?
Recognize that the typical gender stereotypes are generalizations and are neither positive nor negative. Each of you possess your own unique set of desires, thoughts, and feelings regardless of being a girl or boy. Assumptions based on gender have been conditioned in all of us by society, so here are the most identified gender stereotypes.
Female stereotypes: girly, frilly decorations, soft accents, pastel colors such as pink or lavender. These stereotypes were set up in hopes of having little girls grow into “perfect ladies.” With this conditioned mindset it is no surprise that girls are expected to want to wear dresses, serve food, take care of babies, and stay home. Little girls play house and play with dolls, which subliminally conditions them to stay home and take care of the “house duties” and children, while their husbands go to work. Prior to women being allowed to seek higher levels of education, the general stereotypes for women according to healthguidance.org is as follows:
- Women are supposed to have “clean jobs” such as secretaries, teachers, and librarians
- Women are nurses, not doctors
- Women are not as strong as men
- Women are supposed to make less money than men
- The best women are stay at home moms
- Women don’t need to go to college
- Women don’t play sports
- Women are not politicians
- Women are quieter than men and not meant to speak out
- Women are supposed to be submissive and do as they are told
- Women are supposed to cook and do housework
- Women are responsible for raising children
- Women do not have technical skills and are not good at “hands on” projects such as car repairs
- Women are meant to be the damsel in distress; never the hero
- Women are supposed to look pretty and be looked at
- Women love to sing and dance
- Women do not play video games
- Women are flirts
- Women are never in charge
Male stereotypes: boyish, tough themes, dinosaurs, blue, trucks, action figures, video games. Boys are conditioned to be tough, to be a defender, not show emotions or weaknesses, go to work while mommy stays at home. Most parents in the past didn’t teach little boys to wash dishes or fold laundry, but instead to take the trash out and mow the lawn. Boys that become men are to do the “dirty” work and chores that required strength, to go to work and to be the providers for the family. The general stereotypes for men according to healthguidance.org are as follows:
- All men enjoy working on cars
- Men are not nurses, they are doctors
- Men do “dirty jobs” such as construction and mechanics; they are not secretaries, teachers, or cosmetologists
- Men do not do housework and they are not responsible for taking care of children
- Men play video games
- Men play sports
- Men enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking
- Men are in charge; they are always at the top
- As husbands, men tell their wives what to do
- Men are lazy and/or messy
- Men are good at math
- It is always men who work in science, engineering, and other technical fields
- Men do not cook, sew, or do crafts
It’s fascinating how much has changed over the last 20-30 years, but on some deep, unconscious level, this thinking is still present. What was seen as normal is no longer the same, and now some of the female and male roles have even reversed.
Yin and Yang
By looking at both lists, you may be more predominantly one versus the other, or you might be a blend of the two. I have learned over the years that the more you can develop the elements of yourself that you perceive is lacking, the more it allows you to be whole.
Through the last 23 years of my practice, I’ve come across different variations, but have seen that if you desire to be balanced, it’s vital to develop both your male and female energies. Since Girl’s Day will be here very soon, I felt it appropriate to address what I like to call Girl Power.
This power is one that allows a girl to multi-task, have compassion and empathy, and be in an empowered state in her life. Your gender is only a small fraction of who you are. You have the power to choose how you want to be, and how you want to experience your life. The one gift that many young girls have at this time, versus even 30 years ago, is to break out of certain long held stereotypes and to pursue what inspires them. Although there are still some limitations in the workforce and other areas of life, a greater balance is coming.
Embracing the feminine and masculine energies, and finding a way to incorporate and accept those traits will allow you to experience life to the fullest. So, just like the doll that was used to take away misfortune, embracing Girl Power allows you to create the reality you want, instead of settling on past conditioned stereotypes. Be courageous and tune in to your intuition to help guide you through new experiences.