Approaching the Double Standards Present in Our Daily Conversations

Encountering double standards between men and women in our daily lives can be a hindrance to achieving one’s desires. Some of these double standards are like fog as they continue to prevail throughout one’s professional and personal life. Some of these double standards act more like a bird as they disappear into wind faster than one can process. When having a conversation with someone else, responding to certain views expressed in his or her words can be especially difficult if he or she unintentionally makes a generalization regarding the genders. Stepping up and presenting one’s perspective on how “not all women should be expected to…” or how “not all men should be stereotyped as…” can arise a sense of apprehension in the speaker. He or she may fear coming off as “annoying”. However, it is necessary to point out these types of false assumptions when relevant to the conversation. This way, it is more effective to educate the other individual on how their generalization is not necessarily accurate. Here are some ways one can respond to double standards and gender stereotypes expressed in discussions and casual conversations.

An essential key to responding to comments exhibiting gender associations is to remain alert. The well-meaning intentions often masquerade the connotations one subconsciously creates. These well-meaning intentions including the man expected to pay for the meal or the woman expected to dress modestly promote a false set of norms. These norms end up confining individuals to specific categories. Being able to see through the way one presents his or her comment and being able to recognize the actual content of what he or she is conveying is a must. This helps determine when and how to respond. When having a conversation, be observant. Distinguish between what one is saying and the tone he or she uses. Determine the person’s intentions by examining his or her tone while forming a respectful argument against the content projected. This categorization takes practice. However, the more efficiently one can employ this way of thinking, the more effectively he or she can display his or her thoughts. Recognizing the fault in someone’s words can help describe the flaw right away.

Demonstrating the opposing viewpoint is another effective tool when battling gender stereotypes. When someone says something regarding the way a man or a woman should do something, presenting the other side of the situation often stumbles the other person, causing him or her to think deeper into the words he or she chose. Asking why it is acceptable for a man to do something while it is unacceptable for a woman to do the same and vice versa, can often stump the other person involved in the conversation. The key to pointing out this obvious happening is to ask these questions directly after one makes a false comment. The other individual will be more inclined to think about the conventions of gender roles and how he or she will choose to tackle these associations.

Calling out the flaws in one’s argumentative technique is another useful method for getting a message across. When an individual brings up a valid point, others will often respond with weak arguments. Recognizing these weak arguments can help one better prove the other party false. For example, people may form stances where they commit red herrings or when they don’t necessarily respond to the original issue at hand. Revealing this very flaw may be necessary for the greater good of the population.

Altogether, it is important to remain objective and informative when confronting others about their wrongdoings of stereotyping. By remaining alert, taking multiple perspectives into consideration, and understanding the fundamentals of a strong argument, one can more easily address gender specific associations that may arise in daily experiences.

-Anjali Patel