While the media continues to promote gender stereotypes, its effects can be seen throughout our society. Children are taught at a young age how they should behave, what activities they should participate in, etc. Those that don’t abide by these societal rules and norms are treated as outcasts by their peers and are often shunned and bullied because of their differences.
It is completely unfair for the media to not only group people into the two distinct categories of MEN and WOMEN but to also assign attributes that make up each gender. Where does the LBQT community fit into these two categories? Recently, there have been an increased rate of teen suicides as a result of bullying among adolescents. Children that are homosexual, or identify themselves in a way that goes against their gender stereotypes, face extreme harassment from others. A recent example of the effects of gender bullying occurred in September when 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide after being harassed and bullied at school and online for his sexuality.
Jamey’s mother spoke out following his death:
“So he hung around with the girls a lot, so then the teasing started happening like ‘Oh you’re such a girl or you’re gay or whatever and that bothered him for many years.”
Children like Jamey are constantly faced with gender-based harassment either because of their sexuality or their nonconformity towards gender stereotypes. And where do these children learn these stereotypes? From advertising campaigns like Dr. Pepper 10, which quite obviously portrays how a “manly-man” should act and those who don’t meet this criteria are therefore “less manly” and are shamed by others.
It is up to us to stand up and take a stand and pressure the media to STOP enforcing gender stereotypes, which only leads to discrimination among our society. It all starts with one small step, which is why I urge everyone to sign the petition to stop the sexist Dr. Pepper 10 campaign and send a message to the media by showing that we do NOT want them to continue promoting gender stereotypes and sexism in our society.