“In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” - Terry Pratchett
Laying naked in bed all day today. Some may call it lazy, I call it self-preservation.
It is so infuriating that society has come so far in technology and science but still cannot seem to see an issue that faces us all and penetrates every aspect of our lives: gender roles. Gender roles and expectations confine all of us, not just those of us who are gender “deviant”. Even human rights activists, especially those fighting for equal rights among women and homosexuals, do not realize that gender is the issue. Homosexuality is such a “threat” to society because it blurs the gender lines. Who is the “man” in the relationship? Who is the “woman”? And transsexual and transgendered people are pushed into a corner because the homosexual community is often focused on the argument “we are just like you except we sleep with the same sex”. It is the transpeople that are brave enough to push the boundaries. Gender roles also hinders women because we are expected to conform to our feminine roles which include being submissive, gentile, sensitive, etc. And anything that does not go along with these binary expectations is labeled bad, unnatural or queer. Many times, in order to mollify these concerns and shed positive light on these queer behaviors, we spend our time adding more labels that will somehow shift this queerness of gender back into the “correct” gender role. For example, a masculine girl who likes sports and doesn’t wear heels 24/7 is labeled a tomboy. This still may have some sort of negative connotation, but it is now a more “feminine” label. Female police officers instead of being strong, powerful and masculine are viewed as being sexy, another feminine term. I have had experiences such as this in high school. I could never walk in heels nor did I want to, I hate thongs, I felt naked in mini skirts and low shirts, and frankly I am too lazy for makeup. Yet I was always pushed by everyone to conform to these behaviors or else I wouldn’t be “desirable” or worth any boy, or girl’s, time. I am also very outspoken, assertive and opinionated. Instead of being viewed as strong, intelligent and someone that has something important to say (all things that would be expected if I were a male), I was called a bitch and a dyke, both negative and feminine words. Language are extremely important in the oppression that EVERYONE faces. Because of the Enlightenment, Western society is completely fixated on categorizing and naming everything. To name something is to make it real and to categorize it is to make it understandable; relate-able to other things. These names, or labels, now define us and hinder us in so many ways, yet it is inescapable. I cannot just go up to someone and say “I am who I am” and be taken seriously. One of my “identities” is that of a woman. And I am not saying that I am not proud to be one. I respect women so incredibly much and feel so lucky that I feel at home in my body. However, I find it difficult to be an intellectual and have an opinion without facing any sanctions. And I am sure that every man has had a similar experience. I can’t imagine how it feels to want, no, need to cry and not being allowed to without severe repercussions. In some aspects I believe that the oppression of gender roles are harder on men than they are women. But who enforces and creates these ideas? Recently in my Sociology of the Family class, after a brief discussion, our professor announced with absolute assurance that it is the opposite gender than enforces gender roles. It is the girls who want the “manly” boys and the boys who want the “girly” girls. But who is teaching our children that this is what they should want? Is it parents, peer groups, siblings? I know that my dad and friends made fun of me for dating a more sensitive guy. I guess it is the chicken and the egg question all over again.