Gender-based stereotypes and our conventional wisdom
Society holds gender stereotypes sacred to its very core. A friend of mine broke up with her boy friend lately. Below is the brief excerpt of our conversation:
She: You know what? I broke up!
Me: Why? What happened?
She: Man! He was not a man enough?
Me: What you mean? How can a man be a “man enough”?
She: Duh! He was not into cars, football, and you know all manly stuff.
Me: So what bothers you in his state of affairs?
She: How can I see a future with a person who is aspiring to be a fashion designer, whose wish is to visit a Monarch Butterfly reserve park and who cries like a baby??? He is too sensitive to be a man
Me: Just leave it!
All three billion men are identical, men are from Mars and the women belong to Venus, the belief that humans are naturally deviant is just a myth, men have to be easy-going, sporty, car fanatic, emotionless and fashion designing is a BIG NO! I learnt after years of delusion.
Why it is important for a boy to play with Sci-Fi robot warriors and a girl has to find pleasure in naïve and fancy dolls? How about if a boy partakes in activities that according to our “Common Wisdom” should be labeled as feminine? It is not just limited to toys or video games, it has been tried to set norms for every aspect of a person’s lifestyle. No matter it is about the food we should eat, clothing we should carry, colors we should adore, the books we should read or write or even the subjects we should study in schools, there are norms in place to follow whether you like it or not. Has it to be gender identity that determines a person’s inclinations or does it vary from one personality type to the other, regardless of their sexual gender?
While history teaches us that “Common Wisdom” happened to be incorrect half of the time but any deviance of a kid is responded with outlandish suspicions that again is based upon our “Common Wisdom” and stereotyping. Furthermore, a kid is forcefully dictated a choice which kids belonging to the same gender were compelled to make since the beginning of time. Imagine a personal choice of a person for his personal pleasure is to be made by the people who through no mean could fully comprehend the person’s pleasure requirements for which they claim to have the right to decide. Did that make any sense??? Unfortunately, it is not the case with the family X, Y or Z but in fact is our social tendency and our collective apartheid behavior as a society. In the context of democratic principles and morals of a free society, individual liberties hold a prime place and any propensity in the society toward subjugating personal right to choose or to express could totally distort the democratic fabric of the whole society. This propensity provides fuel to serious social ailments such as sexual harassment, bullying, honor killings, etc. The efforts to coalesce and unify the human tendencies and lifestyles do not only minimize civil liberties but also diminish the cultural diversity among humankind.
Since we all consider killing of a human life as a criminal act but what about killing of human personality traits? Isn’t it tyranny to subjugate a person’s desire to lead his/her life according to his/her personal lifestyle choices? Human categorization on the basis of gender is merely a biological classification and it has a very little to do with the mind and soul of an individual. An individual falling under a specific gender group does not necessarily to be similar in his conduct and expressions to other individuals belonging to the same sex group. Every individual deserves to be happy and it is everyone’s legal right to act in any lawful manner that may please them. Corporations and marketing firms try to capitalize on gender-based population distribution by categorizing their products generally into two main types and try to impose the same through “Pink & Sky-Blue” selling approach. On the other hand, fashion gurus try to influence masses by setting gender-based lifestyle norms instead of simply providing their consumers with value through variety and innovation in clothing options.
As a society we need to open up and be liberal toward harmless digressions of expression by our people and should wholeheartedly accept presence of varied individuals with unique personality traits. It is imperative that we limit the gender-based distribution of population within biological and physical attributes of sexes and do not need to dive into their souls. Imposing norms based on our so-called “Common Wisdom” is like killing the human diversity by killing individual personalities, resultantly causing monotony in human character.