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6 Gender Stereotypes Around the World

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1. Belgium: Boys Wear Pink

When it’s time to paint a baby’s bedroom or pick out an outfit, many of us in the western world immediately choose pink for girls and blue for boys. But it wasn’t always that way, and, in some places, it still isn’t. Up until the early 20th century, the opposite was true — blue was considered feminine, and pink was considered masculine. Pink was thought to be stronger, and blue was thought to be dainty, hence the gender distinction. In contemporary Belgium, this is still considered normal.

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and womens issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

145 comments

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4:55AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Really interesting!

11:05AM PDT on May 3, 2013

all VERY interesting :)

9:48AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

interesting

4:01PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

12:09PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

I knew number 5 and the pink thing, the Japan one is a bit sexist I think..since here I know both genders give gifts.

11:12AM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Sad that touch is so sexualized in the US that two men holding hands is considered laughable.

Sure, in my neighborhood, they likely are partners, but in general, connection with people should be encouraged.

Now, I raised a son. His father was stereotypically manly. His stepfather was not (and I proposed!). Kiddo had television at dad's house but not mine.
He had a pair of dolls, both from pochohantas, one male, one female. He liked, and at 21 still likes, long hair.
What it telling is HOW he played with the dolls.
They would be siblings one day, partners the next, adversaries on yet another day.
He had some pretty cool negotiations going on with these two. They had interesting adventures, fought but had diplomacy, loved but had differences.

He's taken a lot of that forward in his life. Playing with "miniature people" gave him a lot of experience using tools to work with real people.

2:03AM PST on Jan 29, 2013

Interesting.
Men here wear pink the same as women.
Asian women hold hands here as close friends. Thats not even blinked at
I knew obese women in some countries are considered wealthy. I was told that back in 73 in Bali, Indonesia.
Boys these days play with dolls as do girls with trucks and also boys i have seen which delights me, wear fairy costumes while the girls will dress as bat man or some other male cartoon or character.
I think its healthy and I credit their mothers for allowing them their freedom to dress as they like.
Arabic men holding hands? Hmm I havent seen that before here.

Interesting

1:32AM PST on Jan 29, 2013

A shame holding hands is not as common here - it must surely be positive for your psychological well-being!
I knew about chubby women being generally considered more beautiful in several countries of Africa.
But I didn´t know boys wearing pink in Belgium was normal, even though I live right next to it ! Personally, I think pink looks very good on most men and is even a sign of manhood, because you must be sufficiently daring and proud to wear that here. It seems it´s getting slowly more and more fashionable, though.

9:58AM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Interesting

4:10PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

I found these interesting, though some I already knew, such as the Japanese Valentine's Day gifting tradition and 'White Day'. See anime is educational!

I like these because it shows how many of the stereotypes that in the US and UK are taken for granted - and lead to nauseating sexism in the form of functional items and toys being turned pink so girls will like/buy them: BLEH!!! - aren't as universal as the manufacturers would have us believe.

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