Gender, a term for both female and male, and also a term which some revoke in their exploration or life choices regarding their body and lifestyle. The term of gender, has been politically and culturally divided into roles which a particular society sees as suitable for male and female citizens. These gender divisions adapt over time when societies and the roles of male and female change, perhaps explaining why it is now ever becoming void by some. A major change in the gender stance and fight for gender equality was the feminist movement which started in the 60s! However, over the years, feminists have been seen and criticised to be something they’re not. Likewise to its ‘blind’ context, it seems the term for ‘feminist’ is currently taking on a different meaning. However, as this term is taking on a different definition and is changing to include all bodies of any gender, it is starting to argue for gender equality on both accounts. This may have started by popularity of Emma Watson’s recent speech for the UN. I don’t argue against her speech, as it’s definitely a step in the right direction, and I don’t argue against this change for it is also a positive reform… I, however, do notice that there is still some clear divide in the gender spectrum. So, I just want to tackle this really, and state a few obvious facts that I feel needs to be said, for myself, my son, and whoever else is out there feeling or thinking the same.
Okay, one thing I have an issue with, is this whole thing floating around at the moment, where you should tell your daughters that ‘they are not bossy, they have good leadership skills!’ Well, unless we’re as a culture currently changing the terms of these two words then, bossy actually means to be fond of giving people orders in a domineering way. And leadership means the action or ability to lead a group or organisation – of course there are going to be different types of leadership skills – so if you think leading a group in a domineering manner is good leadership, then by all means, keep saying this, if not, perhaps it would be a good time to evaluate what qualities your children have without criticising or condoning in regards to a cultures popular thought and how they can progress as people with your guidance – your good leadership skills. I’d like to note here, that the reason I referred to them as children in the last sentence, instead of ‘daughters, girls, females’, is because I constantly hear ‘boys are never called that’, well, I’m here to tell you that my son has been called ‘bossy’. Yes, my son! What do you think that means? Well, obviously, I think people have been so caught up in the fighting for women’s rights, and in this process of change to include all genders, people have forgotten or are completely oblivious to the actual issue they are fighting against. – I have to admit that, this was a personal example, and there are many other divisional exploits that could have been noted here!
In the political, societal division of gender roles, people are forgetting that there are stereotypical behaviours and attributes given to both female and male. This means that ‘feminists’ claims of ‘boys are never called that’, ‘men don’t have that problem’, ‘oh, typical man’, etc, may as well be completely void. Why? Because, not only is it not a constructive argument, it’s basically assuming that the gender stereotypes placed on men and boys is factual, but claims the female stereotype to be false. This argument then protrudes a sense of hypocrisy and falsehood. How can one assume that only one part of societies construction is false but not the other? I have just given you an example of how my son is attributed a behavioural trait, that the majority of our culture believes to be exclusively only placed on females. Should this not be changing now, in the positive reform that our culture seems to be undergoing?
In other major situations, when we fight against rape, domestic violence, depression, our idealised public image, oppression, and all of those other forms of personal or political abuse and construct – why is it mostly only for women? These horrific things happen to men too! Should we not stand up and fight against abuse for all? And encourage men to stand up, and in the process know that they don’t all fit into their stereotype, and encourage them to become stronger individuals also. We, as females, are not the only victims to these forms of abuse, can we not open our eyes and see this, help each other, build a union in defiance of our still standing gender divisions. If we are constantly divided and arguing for or against gender divided rights, then we are continuously keeping that separation and stereotypes alive. Wouldn’t it be easier if we dealt with the problems in regards to the abuse or construct, in its own context, rather than placing gender connotations on them and feeding the boundaries on individualism.
To evaluate, I’m sure I could have covered a lot more, but to keep it minimal, I’ll conclude that although we are changing the constructed boundaries in the gender division, we still have some way and eye-opening to go. I would love to give you more examples in regards to the problems and horrors that we as a people receive, whether it is because of their gender or not and the person feels unable to speak due to their gender. Or that my son is sensitive, plays mostly with girls, but loves history and learning about the world wars! – I do not put any of this down to his gender, only his individuality as a person. And I hope other mothers and fathers too, realise this, and might perhaps stop placing gender idealisms on their children. ‘Girls wear skirts and look pretty’ ‘Stop crying like a girl’ which are offensive to both girls and boys…and so on. In any case, I’ll save some of these for another post, and I”ll end with, I hope our culture will soon enough further their current changes on gender and that in building stronger women, we are not in the process oppressing men, and that we’ll start working together instead of against each other.