Questioning Gender

When I get dressed in the morning I put on the clothes that I do because they are fun for me. I go shopping and buy frilly lacy poofy things because these things make me feel happy. I paint my nails with layers of colored glitter because it makes me smile. In short, I look the way I do because I like it… and that’s how it ought to be.

I was born into a society who’s gender norms mesh pretty well with my personal desires. This gives me privilege, because the world generally accepts the way I choose to present myself. True I may curse a bit “too much” for society, and I may be just a bit “too outgoing” but, all in all, no one hassles me for the way I am.

Why can’t it be this way for everyone, regardless of what it is that makes them happy?

We allow for so much variation within gender roles – different styles, passions, personalities… and yet, we categorize them all the same. We say women can wear skirts and lace and frills, but men cannot. We say men can be construction workers, or law enforcement officers but women cannot. We say women can cry and express deep emotions wherever and whenever they desire, but men must be selective. Men can be powerful and assertive, but women should stick to understanding and compassionate leadership. Women must put their children before their profession, and for men it’s just the opposite (although, when men break this mold they tend to be lauded… women who do, not so much.) Girls can like pink or purple, boys get red and blue and green…

I could go on all day, but I’ll stop here and just pose one simple question:

Why?

In my opinion this is all a device meant for keeping the people who have power, with all of that power. By cutting in half the range of experiences that society deems acceptable for us, it ensures that none of us – not men nor women – will be nurtured into wholly satisfied and content people… there will always be something to suppress, lest we be isolated. This keeps us focused on petty things, keeps us policing each-other’s gender expression when we could be out changing the world, shaking things up, making a difference…. but that’s just my opinion.

What do you think?

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