When you were a kid what toys did you play with? What did you wear? Let me take a total shot in the dark here and guess that if you wore frilly pink dresses you played with barbies and if you wore ‘boy clothes’ -because apparently clothes have a gender- you played with monster trucks. When they asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you say? Was it an astronaut or a princess? Fireman or a model?
There is nothing wrong with playing with any of these toys, wearing any of these clothes or dreaming about having any of these jobs. The problem is that after centuries of persistent, normalized indoctrination we have been persuaded that some things are boy-oriented while other things are girl-oriented. And that’s not because men are any more capable than women, it’s simply because that’s the way it is. Women are said to be natural care-givers, more nurturing than men while men have been taught to be robotically unemotional. Those are just stereotypes introduced many years ago but are still, for some reason, enforced today.
These stereotypes are the reason why an assertive and confident man is appreciated and respected, while a woman with the same qualities is immediately said to be aggressive and tyrannical. It is also the reason why when a man is crying he is considered weak. Lately, crying has been slightly more normalized than it was before, however, telling women they are ‘over emotional’ just to have them bottle up their feelings the same way men do is not tackling these gender stereotypes but simply making them worse.
I’m writing this article because I think it's a good time to unchain ourselves from these false beliefs. Maybe girls don’t always want to be ‘mommy’s little princess’ and boys don’t always want to be ‘daddy’s little hunk’. However, freeing ourselves from the roles which are expected of us is going to take time, but with a bit of awareness and persistent teaching, especially amongst the more impressionable kids in primary schools, we can explain to the people around us how our gender shouldn’t diminish us in the eyes of others or confine us into society’s norms. We each are our own person and it pains me that we still have to fight so many different battles to be who we are. Some women will be nurturing and some men will be too. It shouldn’t be such a big deal. Men who look after their children aren’t babysitting them and women who seek jobs aren’t just bored housewives. We can be angry, we can be sad and we shouldn’t be judged for being human. It’s as simple as that.
About the author:
My name is Louisa Vichou and I’m a 14 year old aspiring writer who loves painting, pretty much all sports, singing and piano. However, (like all the greats) I have an arch-enemy... maths!