Gender stereotypes are an everyday discussion on social media: celebrities, social media stars and social media users advocate their opinions almost daily. Some are conservative and wish to maintain standards of gender roles, whilst others celebrate bent gender stereotypes. Let’s discuss some examples regarding this subject.
The first example is that of CoverGirl, a magazine aimed at teens mainly about beauty, fashion and lifestyle. A week ago, the magazine announced via social media that their new CoverGirl would – shock – be a boy: James Charles. The 17-year old James is a makeup artist who started his Instagram a year ago, where the majority of photos consists of his makeup looks. This announcement received both positive and negative comments by Instagram users. Some found it shocking that a boy could be on the front of a magazine called CoverGirl, but others applauded the equality CoverGirl promotes with this.
Men and makeup
In line with CoverGirl having a male promoter for their magazine, is the topic of men wearing makeup. On Instagram, it takes just one search to encounter countless accounts with pictures of men wearing makeup. People like Manny Gutierrez, better known online as mannymua, have an incredible amount of followers and are well respected across the beauty community on social media. Yet, there are still many haters across platforms that see freedom of speech as their right to tell people that makeup ‘is not for men’.
Princesses instead of princes
Gender stereotypes are also being bent by children dressed in clothing that is not traditionally assigned to their gender. For example: The SacconeJolys currently have two adorable children, a boy and a girl, named Eduardo and Emilia. Both love to dress up as princesses and Eduardo is therefore often seen sporting a Disney princess dress. According to them, no one is forcing this upon him, as he just enjoys wearing the dress. Perhaps because of his big sister, who also loves to wear dresses, or perhaps because he enjoys watching the Disney films which inspire his fashion choices.
Either way, the comments section under their videos is usually filled with negativity and hate towards the issue. A common concern is that the parents of Eduardo, Anna and Jonathan, are raising Eduardo to be gay, transgender or a crossdresser. They state that this is a horrible thing and that it could confuse him about his identity.
On the other hand, though, there are many people once again applauding the change regarding gender stereotypes. They believe it is good to let children decide what they want to wear.
Apple and Android are promoting gender equality through emoji. Google states they wish to highlight the diversity in careers and therefore added emoji of both men and women for all professions that are shown in emoji. Apple as well wishes to reflect the diversity of people around the globe by changing their emoji to include both female and male representations of professions, activities and sports.
In conclusion, social media offers different perspectives on gender stereotypes. While it seems that there is progression regarding the change in gender roles, there are also many conservative and hateful people. Changes have been made in our views regarding whom makeup is for, outfit choices for children and emoticons. Realistically, there will never be a complete consensus on any subject, as with this one. But hopefully, these changes will continue to be made and people – online as well as offline – become more accepting of other people’s personal choices. Because, in the end, how deeply are we actually negatively affected by makeup on men or boys in princess dresses?
Cover: Tamar Hellinga