Stop Judging!

You are a female; therefore you can never be as good as a male in sports! And you are a male; therefore you cannot cook as well as a female. Do these situations ring a bell to you? How true are these statements, in your own opinion? In this time and age, when everyone is given an equal opportunity to educate and enrich themselves, this issue on stereotyping becomes more and more complex.

Stereotype talks a lot about prejudice and discrimination; it often imposes assumptions of people based on many different situations. Take for instance; the recent article reported on The Strait Times (18th September 2011) about females having to choose either getting  their PHD or family. “Does it really matter?” was my first response after reading the article.

This issue was actually raised by our Former Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew at one of the recent university dialogues. He commented on the decisions of females who have delayed their marriage and “dating time” for their studies and how it has increased their chances of being single for the rest of their lives.

To be honest, I was quite disappointed; it felt as though the perception of females have not changed over the years. This article have shown an good example of the inequality treatments of the two genders. They focused only the female gender which shocked me because of the different era we are living in now. Everybody should be treated the same and given the same rights. It does not always have to be the men being more superior.

Nevertheless, just like how the 6 female doctorates have responded, I feel that it is all achievable with good planning.It does not matter if you are a male or a female; everybody has the right to choose what they want in their life. For instance in this case, a PHD.


21 thoughts on “Stop Judging!

  1. zwaniee says:

    Totally agree. No matter how advanced and modern our society claims to be, gender roles are still fixed wherever we go. I acknowledge that we have to accept our own roles in the society but it is another thing to limit one from achieving what they can just because their gender says so. What is wrong with pursuing our studies or even be a gold medalist in sports? I guess our society will still have a subtle hint of patriarchy.

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Sadly it is true, the perception of our gender roles is still one of the topics people tend to talk about even in this modern time and age. I guess, we just have to continue to work hard to prove that point wrong! 🙂

  2. belovedcandice says:

    It’s a sad truth that’s still prevalent even in today’s Singapore. While we’ve made significant progress in the areas of our economy, construction and to a certain extent – service, our society still holds strong prejudice against working women. One such examples would be MM Lee’s statement at the university dialogue which was mentioned in your post.

    I beg to differ. Our pursuit for qualifications is not any less important than starting a family. In today’s world, your papers are what lands you a job or a position. It also does not help that the global situation is making it more and more difficult to survive in Singapore – inflation, COE, etc. If all women were to now stop working and studying for better prospects, our race to the top of the globalisation ladder would be in vain. Research have also proven that women are significant contributors to global movement.

    Everyone has a right to choose their paths in life and it is certainly nobody’s place to be judging another man’s/woman’s life by his/her choices.

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, I agree with you that everyone has their individual rights to choose their paths in life and that was why I was quite upset when I read the article myself. Like you have commented, our papers are what lands us in our position in the society so why still bring up this gender issue. I guess, as woman, we just have to continue to work harder to prove our point. 🙂

  3. philyra91 says:

    Honestly, I feel that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, a man of such power and influence in Singapore, shouldn’t have said such things. One can call him gender-biased, what with him being male and raised in a patriarchal Asian society but then again, we can’t forget that he was the one who encouraged parents to allow young girls to go to school way back in the day either. Without him, young girls in Singapore might never have had the chance to study or pursue higher education.

    I do think that in Singapore, efforts are being made to work towards gender inequality. For example, events and groups such as Dads for Life were created so as to encourage fathers to play a bigger role in child-rearing. Government officials are frequently quoted in the press as saying that fathers need to be involved in raising their children. But at the same time, mothers are given almost 4 months of maternity leave, with fathers getting absolutely none. This only further enforces the idea that the women are meant to stay at home and raise the child while fathers go out to work and provide for the family. Do women, in general, really need 4 months off? Why can’t both the mother and father take 2 months off each and not only this can help in the bonding process as a family, it helps to equalize the gender roles in the family.

    I think it will take a long time for gender inequality to be eradicated from society, especially from Singapore, since the government doesn’t seem to be able to reconcile their intentions and their actions.

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Just so you know, I admire Mr Lee Kuan Yew quite a bit. Like what you have mentioned, he is not only an influential man in Singapore, he was the one who have encouraged us, girls into education. However, what made me upset was the fact that brought out the same issue that was already surfaced many years back; gender inequality., If our “leader” still stand by the stand that there should be specific gender roles in the society, what more the “followers”? They will think the same way too. Hence, i agree you. It will definitely take a long time for this issue to be dissolved.

  4. xepthrichros says:

    I think Mr Lee was concerned about the decreasing birth rate in Singapore that’s why he mentioned it. Nevertheless yes, we should not stereotype. Especially the gender discrimination issue. Yup, we’re different but it should’ve been established by now that both genders are capable.

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Probably he was really just concerned about the decreasing birth rates. But whatever it is, I wish no one will agree to gender inequality. After all, this is a democratic society and everyone has his/her own right to do what they are capable of, isn’t it?

  5. Aqila says:

    I think both male and female are gifted with strengths and abilities unique to gender and also to their individual self. Instead of comparing which group does what best, we should take the time to suss out what each of us are good at, hone our strengths, diminish our weaknesses, and be the best versions of ourselves that we are capable of. We should all just be gender-myopic and brutally honest with ourselves and what we’re naturally skillful in. And we should develop further from there and put generalizations and stereotypes away for good.

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Definitely, I don’t think gender has made us (women) less capable (than a man). Everyone has their own right and say to their lives, especially in such modern time and age. Hence, like you have mentioned, we should all put generalizations and stereotypes away for good and work together to achieve greater heights for our country. 🙂

  6. Nana says:

    I agree that many people are forced to choose something ‘right’ because of the judgements and perceptions placed by their surroundings, esp kins. Thus, many are deprived of the freedom to ‘grow’ and develop their talents/ interest just cause (“oh.. my dad thinks that a guy can’t cook well, people will look down on me..blah blah blah”)- perceptions and eventually taking the ‘path’ that are deemed acceptable. But definitely.. it’s also up to the individual to not let all these perceptions stop them from pursuing what they desire.

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. It is true how we tend to perceive things so similarly to our kin. I guess it is just the way we are nurtured. But nevertheless, one should also know of its capabilities and strive for the best. After all, in such a competitive society, that might be the only way of surviving. 🙂

  7. Zhong yi says:

    It is true, It’s wrong to stereotype. Mr Lee shouldn’t have said that, it just shows insensitivity. Everyone has the same rights to do what they are capable of. Like one of the examples you gave, it is such a stereotype to think that women can cook better than men.. Through my prior knowledge and inferences, the truth is, most well known chefs worldwide are men! Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver and Sam leong.. Just to name a few.. 🙂 So to sum it all, it is bad to stereotype! (even though it is an easier way of looking at the world) Like I said, guys can cook too and who knows we might be the better chefs! 😉

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, indeed, stereotyping is wrong and like you have mentioned, anyone of any gender be it guy or girl is capable of achieving the same. Hence, all these negative perceptions should be demolished for good. 🙂

  8. Chloe says:

    I agree, everyone has the right to choose what they want in life – they just have to bear the consequences. If females choose to delay marriage or having children for the pursuit of education, they should not be judged for doing so. It is, after all, their prerogative. Unfortunately, it is true that this is partly the cause for the declining birth rate in Singapore, which was the context in which MM Lee made those comments.

    It definitely is disappointing that such stereotypes of women are still prevalent in this modern age. The article from The Straits Times seemed to be perpetuating this negative stereotype. Why should women have to choose between furthering their education and starting a family? We are perfectly capable of doing both (:

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I sure do agree with your last statement; “we are perfectly capable of doing both”. & like you have mentioned, the consequences and decision are all on us, so why judge? In this modernized era, everyone should have their own rights and say to their lives. 🙂

  9. syiq says:

    The focus on only females is quite disappointing, and shows the myth that females and males are both equal. It’s hard to break free from the stereotype that asian women are supposed to only cook and breed kids when we come from a culture which well expects women to cook and make children. Nevertheless, in schools we can easily see that females>males, which might be a hint of a future depicting a new breed of women dominating their career paths.

  10. Yiqun says:

    Hi there, it is a very good choice of topic for discussion in your post.

    I think that the example illustrated by you clearly shows what are the gender discriminations currently prevalent in our society.

    I believe that the society’s perception on women to marry young, to be the caregiver of the family and taking care of the welfare of her husband and children could be traced back by the historical patriarchal society present from the earliest civilizations (even in the hunting and gathering societies). Thus, how sterotypes can be significantly affected by the society.

    This brings back to your point which I agree that, with a change in the role of women in today’s society, these descrimintation will no longer be relevant. It will take a long time for people to change their perceptions, but it will surely take place.

    With regards to the comment made by MM Lee, I feel that his comment is rather ethnocentric. We should not pass judgement about others solely based on our own yardstick. By sticking to our own beliefs (be it conservative or not), it would not be a fair assessment of the whole situation.

    Lastly, gender discrimination can be seen as detrimental to us in this case. However, stereotype can be positive to us. For instance, instead of your starting two lines used, if I change it to: you are a guy, I bet you are better in sports or manual-driving, or you are a girl, you must be great with socializing and making friends (more relational).These traits might inherently motivate both gender to strive to be good in these traits in order to meet society’s expectation of them (the stereotype made). So, sterotypes can be good too 🙂

    Just my 5 cents worth. Cheers!

  11. diannetan says:

    It is inevitable that stereotypes still happen all around and we ourselves are guilty of doing so. However, till the extent of stereotyping females as the less predominant ones shouldn’t be so prevalent as compared to the past. Nowadays, in the modern civilizations, more and more females are earning higher salary, holding higher post, having more credits – in terms of academic – to the males. Therefore it is a pity that people still hold such stereotypes of woman just because we are not any stronger than most males. If tables are turned around, I’m certain that even though females are stronger or better than the males, we as a female still have to encourage them in order to boost their egos.

  12. Ashley says:

    Sad to say, but i doubt there is a day when no one stereotypes another of different gender, race or religion in any society. Just because another person thinks and acts differently means they are inferior in the slightest way possible is really a shallow thought. It didnt occur to the ‘normal’ person that the ‘weird’ person has different beliefs, values and opinions as to him/her. Nevertheless, stereotyping should not hinder a person from achieving his/her goals and take it as a challenge to prove the majority wrong.

  13. zaffy says:

    no matter how advanced our society has become, people will still have this perception that the women still belongs to the kitchen and the men should become the breadwinners of the family. i don’t understand this notion, because WHO SETS OUT THESE RULES IN THE FIRST PLACE? i think women should not be confined to the kitchen and they should have the freedom to do whatever they want – to work or to cook – and likewise, the males/husbands should learn to help out with household chores instead of being a male chauvinist pig and insisting that, “hey, i earn the money in this family. i’m tired after a long day of work in the office. cleaning the house and cooking is YOUR job” says who, mister?

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