UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 18, 2024

Stereotypes and society shape how men and women act

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 The way men and women think is slightly different, but, overall, there isn’t much of a difference.

I-Shan Yang, an assistant psychology professor, said updated research has shown men and women are a lot more similar than many believe.

“According to the most updated neurobiology research, it shows that our brain actually possesses both (female and male) traits,” Yang said. “We rarely ever have people who just have what we call the ‘male brain’ or ‘female brain.’”

Yang said men and women not only act the way they do because of biological components, but also because of how society has shaped the different roles of men and women.

“There is a biological base, but I think more in how we are acting out and (how we) behave. That’s more about how you were taught,” she said.

Yang said people can’t base how they act or think on just genetics.

“Genetics are not everything,” she said. “There are people who are genetically built a certain way, and their life has nothing to do with it.”

Environmental factors also play a role in how men and women act and think, Yang said. She said, depending on where someone grew up, women gravitate toward career fields such as education, nursing and counseling because they are considered more feminine. Whereas men gravitated toward career fields such as engineering, mathematics and physics because of their learned masculinity.

Katrice Schimbeck, an adjunct communication instructor, said stereotypes play a big role in how men and women act.

“When we watch movies and partake of media, we are taught how to act,” Schimbeck said. “Sometimes stereotypes are perpetuated by media, and they’re cultivated in society.”

The prevalence of media, social media and the Internet is changing culture, Schimbeck said.

Yang said these stereotypes also cause men and women to act a certain way because of how society wants them to act. In society, women are taught to be more caring and observant, while men are taught that it’s not OK to show their emotions, she said. 

“A lot of men are emotional,” Yang said. “They’re just not comfortable sharing that in front of other people. They do have feelings, but in their male group, it’s not allowed to act that way, so they kind of hide it.”

Schimbeck said studies show men and women communicate in the same ways.

“As for communicating, it depends on the situation,” Schimbeck said. “We have different styles of communicating in different situations, and when we communicate in mixed gender situations, studies show that we pretty much communicate the same.”

The amount of expectations for men and women in society can be either a good or bad thing, Yang said.

“The more rigid the societal expectation is, the higher the chance of people suffering,” Yang said.