Gender roles are something of this world that put people of all sexualities, religions, and even races because of their gender and how society believes that gender should behave. Many people have had one-on-one experience with doing something that was considered a “boy” or “girl” thing to do. One student said that “[He] feels gender roles are stupid and everyone can do whatever they want whether, it’s a boy wearing makeup or a girl wanting to cut her hair short. It’s just stupid that people care so much.” Another student, Sophomore Mandi Sander, says “Honestly I think the world could do without gender roles, I only really see them as another thing that sets people apart, not by individuality and expression, but by the way society treats us. I am all for people displaying themselves in whatever fashion they please , and I don’t think there should be social pressure to look a certain way just because you’re a boy or a girl, because people are so much more than their genitals” Having to act a certain way because of a person’s gender s a way of society controlling people, which can cause harm to a person’s identity and even self-worth.
Having experienced someone judging you based on what you “are allowed to do” because of your gender is saddening, but there are always the rebellious ones who break these social “norms”. Nowadays, guys wearing makeup and dressing more flaunty is much more accepted, but there are still people who do not like it and find it offensive, as Brock says, “I do my makeup a lot and practiced and now I do it on my friends and wear it out sometimes. For that, people just stare at me in awe, wondering why this male is wearing makeup.” He also talks about his fashion choices, saying, “My famous heeled boots I wear almost everyday, people like to talk to their friends about it instead of like making fun of me directly. I’m mostly called the weird kid with the heels and the coats, and lastly the obvious my long hair which isn’t really breaking gender norms nowadays since a lot of guys have long hair but i’m constantly called a female pretty much on the daily.” Although he is a lot more accepted, there is still some people who are close-minded. Two more examples of this is Freshman Savanna, who says that “last year for [the] promotion dance [she] wanted to wear a button up and pants because [she] thought [she’d] be more comfortable that way but neither of my parents would let [her] and was forced to wear a dress,” which must have felt bad, knowing that your parents are trying to keep you safe from the world, but at the same time, you couldn’t express yourself how you want. Mandi says“I recently chopped all my hair off in a fit of just being uncomfortable with long hair, It was pretty don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t feel like a hairstyle that fit me. I tend to surround myself with people who appreciate my self expression, so I haven’t had anyone react badly yet, but then again I haven’t seen my extended family since the big chop so maybe that will change,” which could affect the way her family views her and their relationships, causing the possible division in a family. Gender roles are something that can hurt not only those who you love, but yourself as well, if you don’t know how to protect yourself.
Solving the problem that is gender roles will not be easy, but it is a battle that must keep fighting. Some
people are starting to believe that it will never be solved, as Savanna says, “this hurts to say but I don’t think gender roles will ever go away, there will always be that one close minded person who believes that boys should play sports and wear blue and girls should like dresses and pretty things. I do hope that one day we will strive to make gender roles not as normalized,” showing hope but close to giving up. One method to begin changing these rules is teaching others and explaining how people can be themselves. Brock gives an explanation and says, “Though it’s unrealistic to think that everyone will stop judging/going against others gender roles, the only way we could “lighten it”, for lack of better words, is to just educate people that it’s okay to do whatever you want wether your a boy or a girl. To educate the younger generation, because that’s the generation that will be able to make a difference in the community,” showing his passion for the fight, and tells how he believes this can slightly lessen as a problem, using his logic. Others, however, believe that it’s a waiting game, and that it will get better in the future. Mandi tells us what she thinks, “I think it’s just a matter of time, with more gender-nonconforming celebrities popping up, like Miley Cyrus and Ruby Rose. I really think the lines are starting to get a little less harsh. The only thing we can really do as individuals is be ourselves, whether it be traditionally feminine, traditionally masculine or anything but traditional. Just express yourself however you want and disregard people who think you’re unfit to act that way. As long as you’re true to your own sense of style and the things you like to do with no consideration for what your sex is supposed to act like, you’re always technically rebelling against gender norms, and that’s pretty cool.” There is many ways in which we can go about making this better, but truly, it will never go away, as everyone has a very different mindset and beliefs.
“A gender role is a set of societal norms dictating the types of behaviors which are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality.” -Wikipedia
The stereotyping starts as soon as we are born, if the nurse says “It’s a boy!” the room is filled with all things blue, and if he/she says “It’s a girl!” there is pink all around. But where did this begin? The roles stem from women being the ones having children. This causes them to seem more gentle and kind, whereas the father, who is supposed to protect the child, is seen as strong. The stereotypes don’t stop then, they continue through to adulthood and many step out of the gender norms. People find others’ way of expressing themselves different and not normal, making them think that the person is an outcast, “allowing them to be made fun of. The way Gender roles is formed around societal norms, it matters too much to society when it shouldn’t matter at all because after all, you have to worry about yourself and your problems before judging others by how they want to dress, act, or feel.