Lois is currently a PhD research student at the Institute of Education, University College London. Their research is aimed at exploring the awareness of the existence of a gender identity and gender stereotypes in autistic adolescents. They have experience as an Educational Psychologist, a Special Education Needs Teacher and Special Education Needs and Disabilities Coordinator.
Top tips from expert Lois Mosquera
In various settings, particularly at school and home, children are often put under pressure to think and behave in certain ways that define them as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. This can lead to bullying in that people with strict ways of thinking and behaving may not have the tolerance and acceptance to welcome people who do not behave in ‘typical’ ways.
Top tips to help combat bullying due to stereotypes:
Ask why someone who is bullying holds stereotypes
Every moment is an educational opportunity. By encouraging open, non-judgemental conversations about this issue, you can have a massive positive impact and help to eradicate this issue.
Be a role model and educator
By modelling behaviours and ways of thinking that are accepting of all regardless of stereotypes, you are contributing towards eradicating bullying because of it. This is especially important to teachers and parents as they are often the most influential people in the lives of children and adolescents.
If a free gender-role is modelled by teachers and parents, then students will view gender as not being something that influences decisions, views, roles, and expectations.
Talk regularly and specifically with people about issues with stereotypes.
This is especially important for teachers and parents. Let them know that they can come to you for an open conversation about this issue and that they will not be judged if they do hold stereotypical views.
Don’t underreact to bullying just because it is due to stereotypes.
As gender stereotypes are so common, comments like ‘You throw like a girl’, ‘Crying is for girls’ and ‘Why are you acting gay?’ are often just brushed under the carpet and dismissed as being playful. It is important to never underestimate the adverse impacts that such comments can have on an individual’s social, emotional, and academic welfare.
All bullying is serious no matter how playful insults may be perceived to be. This is especially important if people are bullying you based on stereotypes. Even if the stereotypes are not offensive to yourself, and you do not class them as bullying, it is still important to react appropriately and challenge such views.
If you need support on any bullying issues, join our community here.
Read about gender stereotypes here.
Read about the long-term effects of bullying here.