Gender Stereotyping

After a meeting yesterday morning, a guy came over for a handshake and afterwards commented about the softness of my handshake and the need to make it firmer (not his exact words). I smiled politely and left the scene. Just remembered the incident and decided to write about it.

Researchers have found a connection between our sense of touch and our perceptions of others. For instance, holding a warm cup of coffee makes you likely to have a warm or positive feelings towards others. The knowledge of abstract concepts like masculinity and femininity is connected to the body and how it process such sensations. This connection also affect language and metaphors.

So a typical stereotype, “guys are strong gals are tender” can be implied from the feeling he got from our handshake. He would probably perceive a firm handshake as strong and hence masculine but he perceived softness (feminine) in mine and it implied weakness or projected submissiveness to him. Well that is just a gender stereotype!
By the way, my polite smile was actually a chuckle meaning, ‘if only you knew, this woman doesn’t fit that mould’.


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