Opinionated Editorials
The shackles of stereotyped gender idealism

The shackles of stereotyped gender idealism

Expectations. To dress a certain way, look a certain way.
Stereotypes. To think a certain way, behave a certain way. 
Disappointment. Our way of living. 

Our generation is faced with the pressure of being perfect. The pressure to be what we are not, and cannot be. We’re forced to put on a facade for a society that consists of us. A man is not manly enough if he doesn’t listen to hip hop or heavy metal. A woman is not feminine enough if she doesn’t prefer clothes over sports. A man is not manly enough if he wears nail polish. A woman is not feminine enough if she doesn’t. A man is not manly enough if he prefers romantic series over anime. A woman is not feminine enough if she hasn’t watched half the romcoms from the ’90s. A man is not manly enough if he listens to Taylor Swift and a woman is not feminine enough if she doesn’t listen to Harry Styles. A woman is a try-hard if she listens to Drake, and is ‘cringy’ if she listens to Olivia Rodrigo. A man is gay if he watches Korean romcoms and typical if he watches Naruto. 

The worst of all these stereotypes is that if an individual comes out to society as non-binary, it’s just a phase or she/he/they are doing it for clout. I’ve harbored the same conventions until recently, and it remains something that I will regret for a very long time. The recent trend on social media to state one’s pronouns in their descriptions has taken the world by storm. The entire concept of this trend is that one shouldn’t assume another individual’s pronouns by their physical appearance. Addressing people with the right pronouns is vital to their identity, and lets them know that you as a member of today’s society accept them for who they are. 

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”— Gloria Steinem
A person’s gender influences their identity, yes, but their identity shouldn’t be influenced by their gender especially if it’s based on a set of archaic regulations created eons ago. A woman’s role is not restricted to her family and the kitchen anymore. Her role in society holds immense importance, and there are a select few occupations that don’t see a female role nowadays. Men inculcate interests in stereotyped effeminate fields such as modeling and aren’t ashamed to wear dresses or skirts if they choose to do so. Non-binary individuals are emerging as a very strong and well-knit community and the awareness of their existence and their acceptance is becoming a rapid process with the shift of generations.

It is about time that we develop a world where one is not judged by their gender, but by their personality. A world where people can choose to be whoever they wish to be, not bound by the shackles of gender conventions. A world where a girl can wear what she wants without having her integrity questioned. A world where boys can act a certain way without having their masculinity questioned. A world where non-binary individuals have a proper say in society, not legally but socially. The alarming double standards placed on all the people of this world need to come to an end and this can only be ensured if we start accepting the fact that the world is evolving, and with it so must we. 

-Siya Girisaballa

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