“Wear a pretty dress.”
“Grow your hair long.”
“Put some makeup on.”
Or, you know, I could do whatever the hell I want.
Gender stereotypes are more outdated than rotary egg beaters. They’re dumber than Valentine’s chocolates on sale on Boxing Day. They’re worse than wearing pants on a Sunday.
The idea that someone born with female genitalia should be fragile, aesthetically pleasing (what does that even mean?) and sexually reserved is, apart from being astoundingly ridiculous and frankly, offensive, a notion that (shockingly) society doesn’t need to ensure the longevity of the human race.
The expectation for someone born with XY chromosomes to be emotionally colour-blind, physically strong and fearless to the point of recklessness is not only damaging to the psyche of every young boy who doesn’t fit this description, but is also making a princely contribution to the gender hierarchy that’s wreaking havoc on the bras of a few select feminists, and at the very least enraging a few billion less select human beings who believe in equality.
In simpler terms, gender stereotypes are stupid and we don’t need them.
My gender doesn’t affect my ability to smile at people when I’m walking down the street. It doesn’t change how many friends I have and love. It doesn’t impact how I word a sentence or blow bubbles, both of which I like to think I’m good at.
I play bass guitar. I play soccer with the guys. I’m pretty good at the parallel bars, a solely male sport. I’m fond of button-down shirts. I like feeling dapper. I am currently sporting a mad undercut with accompanying man-bun, but I’m not a man.
I spend too much money on tea dresses. I have a soft spot for Elmo. I feel most confident when I’m wearing fierce eye makeup. I love to sing. I like wearing earrings. I’m short and slight. I played with Barbies as a kid. I still take my teddy bear on every school camp. I adore John Green books.
It looks like I’ve separated these traits into ‘boy-traits’ and ‘girl traits’ – but the truth is, these are all just parts of my identity. None of these attributes make me more or less myself.
Stop using the words ‘girly’ and ‘manly.’ Stop telling people, especially kids and adolescents, to toughen up or act more ladylike. Everyone on the planet is made up of a billion different traits, all of which are intrinsically their own whether we choose to assign a gender to them or not. The only difference is a bit more self-esteem, a bit more confidence. A bit less bullying, a bit less unhappiness.
A bit more equality.