Stereotypes and gender scripts

There is a lot of pressure on youth to buy into stereotypes and gender scripts. People are often discriminated against when they do not fit into narrow stereotypes. There may be different stereotypes based on sex,  race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, ability, gender identity, or education. For example, queer youth can be discriminated against because they don’t fit the script of being heterosexual.

Think about how youth are treated when they challenge stereotypes. Think about how it feels when someone uses gender as an insult. “You are such a girl,” or “she-man.”

Our peer groups, as well as media, can put a lot of pressure on us to conform to gender scripts and stereotypes.


Write your own part. Be yourself. Act with Respect.

When we refuse to act out gender scripts, we have the power to say what we really want for ourselves. We can communicate our sexual limits and boundaries.

When we follow gender scripts, we are acting out a character. It keeps us from communicating our sexual limits and desires.

  • There can be an expectation for girls to “be nice” and “not hurt feelings” and this may prevent someone from saying what they want sexually.
  • Some guys are expected to want sex all the time and this could lead to feeling like they can’t say no.

Learning how to communicate can help us have better relationships. It can help prevent sexualized violence.

It isn’t always easy to change the way things are, but we all have the power to make a difference.

Important Note! Regardless of how well a person communicates, they may still be assaulted. It is important to remember that no matter what, it is not your fault.


Resist stereotypes. Be true to yourself.

Respect. Write your own Part…

In reality, people defy stereotypes all the time and can express their true selves in many different ways. We are all capable of being caring, emotional, athletic, artistic, quiet, loud, and kind. Instead of relying on outdated gender scripts and stereotypes, we can write our own parts.