Gender Roles & Stereotypes
Gender stereotypes are generalisations made about how males and females should behave and what they should like and do. The claim applies to all people of that gender. These roles are inacccurate as each human being has individual desires, thoughts and feelings, which are not dependent on being male and female. Therefore, gender stereotypes are simplistic, but many people believe them.
For example, all males:
- wear blue
- like to play with cars and trucks when they are boys. They don't play with dolls, only action figures.
- like to work on cars
- like rough sports
- do dirty jobs, not secretarial work
- enjoy outdoor activities such as camping and fishing
- do not do housework and they are not responsible for taking care of children
- do not sew or do crafts
For example, all females:
- wear pink
- like to play with dolls
- are not as strong as males
- like caring roles
- love to sing and dance
- like to wear makeup and look pretty
- do not do dirty jobs
- like to wear high heels, frilly clothes and dresses
These stereotypes may be true for some males and females, but they are not true for all. And it is this fact that is brought to light in Brockwell the Brave.
Brockwell Ness is described as a quiet, gentle boy who likes to spend time at the healing hut. He is a carer by nature. Brockwell also likes to go to the markets and buy the food for his mother. These are not what boys do in the Viking village, and Mr Ness, Brockwell's father does not cope well with this. He doesn't like that his son is different and likes to do 'women's work'. In the story, Brockwell's best friend, Ingrid Gulbrand, is a strong female. She still does tasks considered to be 'women's work', so is more accepted. There were some female warriors in the Viking era, so she was not totally out of place, like Brockwell was.
The story brings to light that boys and girls are individuals, and their gender is only a part of who they are. Their genders do not define Brockwell and Ingrid as people.
If you find yourself avoiding situations, places or activities, anxiety and worry may be the cause.
In the story, Brockwell has two fears, One is his bully, Colden, who picks on him constantly. And the second is the juvenile and adult dragons that Brockwell is expected to feed.
Brockwell found it very hard to face his fears. He would experience worry, panic attacks and avoid the situations which triggered them.
The solution to fear, is facing what makes you anxious. Brockwell faced Colden and the dragons, and found that he was able to deal with them both.
Brockwell felt he could only deal with them because of the dragon's tooth he was given by Mrs Gulbrand. Did this tooth really have power or did it give Brockwell the inner belief that he could stand up to his adversities?
Here are five tips for facing fears:
1. When you are trying something new, or something that you have been worried about, it is normal to feel panicky - don't let this stop you.
2. Taking deep breaths can help calm you when you are feeling anxious.
3. Try not to leave a situation because you are anxious, instead leave when your anxiety has begun to fade away.
4. Set yourself some goals, and reward yourself every time you reach your goal.
5. Have family and friends support you.
Can you be like Brockwell and face your fears?