Pink and Blue is NOT Very Patriotic.

Pink and Blue is NOT Very Patriotic.

Terms such as “Like a girl”, are used to degrade teens, promote gender roles, and undermine the differences children wish to have in opposition to the norm.

Society has segregated the world between two worlds. Pink and blue sort the world by how it should think and behave. There are certain expectations set by society that dictate how each individual should live based upon their physical gender. Girls dream of getting married and are expected to do so by their late twenties, or early thirties. Boys are not chastised either way by their decision and are assumed to be “driven”, and “busy with work” if personal relationships do not interest them. If these gender roles were not so heavily taught in the lives of small children and teenagers, we could decrease the ever growing problem of hypermasculinity in the male community.

In 1848, the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, several women wrote a list of grievances, most famously known for the desire for the right to vote. One of these grievances was also that women no longer wanted to be limited to the home. Female representation is much lower in math and science fields, as well as the political field, and other elected offices. This discouragement does not just take place upon the application for jobs, or college graduation with degrees, but begins in primary and secondary school levels. Society discourages women to pursue jobs that will make family building inconvenient. However, the opposite occurs for men. Males are not expected to consider this factor as heavily as women are. Men are traditionally the “bread winner”, the one who provides for the family financially, and are expected to be able to do so.

In the wise words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in reference to the political representation of women in the Judicial Branch, “People ask me sometimes, when do you think it will be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine”. People think this notion is overbearing and “feminazi-esque”, but Ruth Bader Ginsberg explains, “No one questioned anything when there were nine men”. Society makes being a woman harder than it is being a man.

Girls are held to a standard of what they’re “supposed” to be in life as far as appearance, occupation, and personal life. But, guys are not exempt from certain standards, either. In fact, on the opposite side of the spectrum, society will find the same symptoms to an equally pressing problem. This problem is called hyper-masculinity. Characteristics that are normally associated with masculinity are coldness, hostility, and complacency in personal feelings. Things that are encouraged to achieve “manhood”, usually marked by puberty and development in age, is what begins the process of perhaps brainwashing boys into thinking they need to fit a certain mold to justify their gender or sexuality.

Terms such as “Like a girl”, are used to degrade teens, promote gender roles, and undermine the differences children wish to have in opposition to the norm. The overuse of these terms, and the gender roles heavily influencing the young male demographic leads to a problem called hypermasculinity, which is when a community or family values men over women, which can lead to domestic violence disputes caused by the aggression men are expected to have. Domestic violence is the second leading cause of female homicide deaths in America. Gender roles are the cause for hypermasculinity, and hypermasculinity is the cause of most domestic violence disputes.

Gender roles are a highly debated topic in American society. Limiting our current society to these standardized molds of how humans should interact with each other is limiting the possibilities to do the unthinkable; to spark innovation and go places the human being has never gone before; for that is what American society is “supposed” to look like. These amazing steps for mankind are all being limited because men value dominance and women value presentation. By breaking down these walls, America is breaking down the obstacles that are preventing us from having a better, more productive and innovative America.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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I'd Rather Be Too Much For You Than Too Little For Myself

Why should I have to limit myself just because you want me to?

I see your eye-rolls when I bring in my project for class and went “over-the-top.” I hear the passive mockery in your voice when I talk about my love of musical theatre. I know you’re wondering why I am so passionate, so vocal, and so involved.

But I’m wondering: Why aren’t you?

I remember as a middle-schooler bringing up questions in my church youth group. Nothing slamming the church just attempts to clarify what I read and spark discussion with my peers. I was pulled aside by my youth pastor one day. According to him, I should avoid using words like “metaphorical” because “the other kids don’t understand” and this “isn’t the place for my questions.” I soon learned that I was described as a “know-it-all” and “hyperactive” by the other kids and even some of the adults.

I was shy in high school and constantly worried what others might think of me. I found my nest in the theatre, where my overwhelming emotion and passion were considered appropriate. Even then, I struggled to step out of my comfort zone, and never became comfortable being “myself.” I was called “weird” or “crazy” for my dyed hair and black lipstick.

When I spoke about politics and my other passions, kids laughed at me and teachers punished me. Nobody knew what to do with me. I begun skating by on A’s and B’s on tests and never turned in my homework, never went above-and-beyond on my projects and slept all day in class. I was depressed. I was not myself. But nobody knew.

But when I got to college, I felt liberated. Here was a campus of other people with dyed hair, other people with crazy makeup, other people who listened to Hamilton and weren’t ashamed of it. (Not to mention the diversity and inclusion on my campus: I never felt freer as a Hispanic bisexual girl.) I started blooming in so many different aspects: I joined a gender-inclusive national honors fraternity.

I became part of a theatre troupe that spreads social justice awareness through their scenes. I acted in a student-led film. I started raising my hand in class again, and my professors have told me that people are “blown away when I speak in class.”

And yet, one day, I felt that judgment again. I was sitting in my interpersonal communication class, discussing something dealing with my workplace. I overheard someone mocking me and criticizing my enthusiasm in the class. Keep in mind, this is the same person who turned in a half-done shoebox for a project, while I bought a fully hand-painted birdhouse.

I heard others laugh with them. In just that small action, I felt so small and so weird again. It bothered me so much that I didn’t talk again for the rest of class. To others, that may seem as an overreaction, but I came from an environment where my entire being was stifled. This wasn’t supposed to happen in my magical, fantasy college campus. But it did.

Within the next week, I went to an event for my fraternity where I was given the honor of “most creative.” A girl in one of my classes told me they loved my shirt because it’s “so unconventional and makes a statement.” Someone I had met in one of my organizations asked me for musical recommendations because my constant chatter about it inspired them to watch a few, and they discovered they liked musical theatre. I had to remind myself that just because others may see me as “too much” – others see me as creative, passionate, and inspiring.

In this society, apathy is the new black. I’ve been told by many people that I “care too much” about people and politics, that I’m “obnoxious” and “overbearing.” And yet, my passions have rewarded me with identities I’m proud of: I’m a hard-working, intelligent, creative student and empathetic and trustworthy friend.

Why should I have to limit myself just because you do? Why does it bother you if I’m loud or outspoken? I can’t figure out why you’re wasting your energy trying to take mine away. I’ve inspired other people to take a stand, to learn about new things, and accept that they’re “too much.” I’ve learned that your “too much” is my “just enough.”

Cover Image Credit: Levi Saunders on Unsplash

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Introverts Can Be Leaders, Too

Sometimes the quietest person in the room can have the loudest voice.

When we think of someone as a 'leader,' we often envision a loud, charismatic and outgoing person.

We view leaders as those who are not afraid to speak their mind — and we assume they are extroverts who are able to talk to anybody in any situation. Conversely, we also tend to believe that people who are 'shy' or more introverted are not able to make an impact.

This is simply not the case, however.

Introverts are able to be leaders, too. In fact, sometimes the quietest person in the room can have the loudest voice.

Introverts are able to be outstanding leaders because their quiet strength speaks volumes.

They have a strong ability to create lasting change because they use their listening skills and sense of empathy before taking action. Rather than quickly making decisions, introverts weigh every option carefully prior to reaching any conclusions. They feel emotions deeply and because they are often very empathetic. Introverts tend to consider what is best for the entire group rather than for themselves.

Though sometimes they may need a little push to get motivated, introverts are great role models and solid examples of what leadership skills should look like.

Many introverted people have huge potential to make change in their communities because their leadership qualities differ vastly from extroverts as well.

Ultimately, it would be foolish to assume that the loudest and most outgoing person is always the best leader. This is not always true.

Introverts deserve more recognition — because after all, they are leaders, too.

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