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Viral videos smash gender stereotypes in Ukraine

A video campaign to fight gender stereotypes went viral in Ukraine, reaching almost 6 million young people on the popular video-sharing service TikTok, among other platforms.

The No More Gringe campaign, which combined the word “cringe” with the G from “gender” to describe the embarrassment felt when people buy into gender stereotypes, launched in April 2021. 

The campaign leveraged the popularity of 15 of the most popular TikTok influencers in Ukraine. Each chose the theme of their video from a collection of common stereotypes, like "Women should do the cooking," "Men don't cry," "He didn't fight - not a man," or "Men don't take good care of children, it's a mother's job."

The young influencers used role play, interviewing, and other techniques to question and overturn stereotypes. Their one-minute videos were published on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, with the hashtags of #GRINGE and #NOMOREGRINGE.

The project surveyed 175 teenagers aged between 13-19 years old in 25 cities in Ukraine and the idea for the video campaign followed.

The campaign makes “outdated gender bias issues visible,” said 15-year-old Alyona Sheshenya in Ukraine. ”Teenagers not only raise their own awareness in the field but also learn to ignore stereotypes.”

According to the survey, 66.3% of the teenagers said they had experienced gender bias, 47.3% said they faced discrimination in various forms, while 53% said they would like to learn more about gender equality issues.

The #NOMOREGRINGE hashtag speaks to the embarrassment felt when someone applies gender stereotypes or voices them.

“People feel ashamed, have to comply with social expectations, and fail to be their true selves,” said Iryna Rubis, founder of Biasless and the creator/producer of #NOMOREGRINGE. “Society, in turn, loses so many talents that could be manifested in various fields and areas.”

“Breaking gender stereotypes is a very long process. No matter if it takes years, we should not give up!” said 16-year-old Anna Madzigan. "Who knows, maybe one boy from the first grade will try to dance ballet and he will like it? Or a girl who is fascinated by the idea of becoming a boxer? Everything is in our hands!”

The NoMoreGringe video campaign was produced as part of the "EU 4 Gender Equality: Together against gender stereotypes and gender-based violence" project, funded by the European Union and implemented jointly by UN Women and UNFPA. The videos’ contents are the sole responsibility of the producers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.