I don't think we're hardwired for gender roles, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Cultural gender norms certainly exist, with exceptions.
Something I'm curious about: Is a negative gender stereotype offensive because it's negative, or offensive because it's a stereotype? Or, this is my guess, both?
But that means it's still at least partly offensive solely because it's a stereotype, right?
I mean, if you said "You play weak poker," that's offensive because it's negative. If you say "you play girl poker," and the person surmises that you think the poker they play is weak, it's presumably still offensive for this reason... but also offensive because it's a stereotype, right? Because if Stone Wolf said "you play non-serious poker," and then someone was offended, and then he said "No, no, I don't think there's anything wrong with non-serious poker, it's cool." I suspect people would understand and accept his intent and not be insulted. "Non-serious" isn't inherently negative.
So let's unpack the phrase "girl poker" a bit. Just taking the word at completely face value, it's also not inherently negative. But within our cultural context it certainly is. Because our culture places less value on "girly" things most of the time. Okay, so is it the "girly" acts themselves that are less valuable, or is it a cultural perception that anything girls like must be less valuable? Or a little bit of each?
Well, let's look at another flavor of gender stereotypes. Intuitive. Sensible. Empathetic. Socially adept. Mature. Some of these are worn quite proudly by a lot of women. But aren't they still offensive? I mean, aren't stereotypes inherently somewhat offensive? So why embrace any of them, even the positive ones? From a broad standpoint, it doesn't help the case of people arguing against negative female stereotypes to turn around and embrace the positive ones... unless the reason they are fighting a specific negative stereotype is not because it's a stereotype, but because it's a false stereotype.
By false stereotype, I just mean: A stereotype which doesn't apply to a significant portion of the group being stereotyped. Some negative stereotypes are false by this metric, but lots more aren't. And many of the ones that are false, are false now, but weren't back when they first became popularized. Again, I'm not saying that any of the stereotypes have ever been indicative of all of a given group. But everyone grows up in a cultural context, and that effects who they are, and often people end up conforming to social/gender/racial roles without realizing they are doing so.
So... what are people fighting, here? Or, what do you think (general you, anyone can answer) we should be fighting? Stereotypes? Negative stereotypes? False negative stereotypes?