Gender Roles
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"People share a common nature but are trained in gender roles" ~ Lillie Devereux Blake


Girly girl? Maybe Not.

Growing up I found myself in conflict with words and actions. I was repeatedly told that I was a girl and I needed to behave like one. However, I was expected to play with my male cousins, and partly takes in activities which many of my family members found to be pursued by boys.

I spent much of my childhood being told that I was to behave. Although "boyish" sports like Martial Arts and basketball was a key part of my life, I was subjected to flawed preconceived notions that would contradict the activities that I was participating in. I was constantly told to "be more girly." the statement was one which I didn't understand until I was much older. However, it was responsible for the much inner conflict. This would become a reason too numerous insecurities as an adolescent. It forced me to believe that my physical being had various problems with it. But where did these words rise from? Why did it matter if I were girly or not? What did being girly mean?

For my family, girly meant, having long hair, wearing feminine clothing like dresses, enjoying makeup, and even part take in activities like dance. The idea to behave a certain way was to ensure that I would grow into a specific behavior that is expected from an adult female.

However, I don't think I am a girly girl. On a daily basis, I would choose sweats and hoodies, shorts over skirts, I prefer martial arts over dance, and I wear make-up when I most feel like it. I don't find my decisions are necessarily a comment on my inner being. I don't believe that I need to conform to social standards to identify who or what I am.

I honestly find that I am no less of a girl than a girl who dresses like a girly – girl and adjourns in make-up and part takes in activities like dance and uses make-up. But, I didn't realize that these social standards are pushed on to children at an early age. We are pushed to behave in specific ways at an age where we don't entirely understand them. I don't think that we need to separate particular acts between boys and girls as these need to be interpreted before conforming into them.

However, as a young adult, I have realized that these social standards that we learned as kids are flawed. These flawed, and biased thoughts have continued even in the present times for myself. It makes me wonder why such views exist. I have established that many of these social standards that are linked with our gender are due to the cultural beliefs that we have adapted to. However, without people pushing for change, I find that the ideas would cause further damage to children in the way that they perceive themselves.

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