Why Gender Constructs Are Like Prison

Why Gender Constructs Are Like Prison

Humans should not have to fit into societal molds.
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If you have ever considered what “gender” means, you have probably come across the fact that gender is a social concept. It is. Gender, gender roles, and separate spheres were created by people in our society to assign certain traits or certain roles to men and to women. Before I continue, let me define the words that I have just mentioned.

Gender: a social concept that defines what is male and what is female in a non-biological sense

Gender Roles: types of behavior that are socially acceptable for women and men

Separate Spheres: the idea that men dominate the public world (i.e. politics, society, law) and women must stay in the domestic world (i.e. the home)

Whether you are aware of it or not, these ideas have been used to oppress people throughout our world history. For example, although the idea of separate spheres has been around for centuries, antifeminists pushed for stricter separate spheres when women were fighting for their right to vote. Why? Well, if women were assigned to the domestic private sphere and men were assigned to the public sphere, then there would be no need for women to vote. Being assigned to the private sphere meant that women could not cross into the realm of the public sphere of government and politics.

In present day, we see these ideas continue to restrict people. Gender roles are what keep women and men from being equal. For example, men are socially perceived to be “breadwinners,” and therefore receive a 6 percent increase in their salary per child. Women, on the other hand, are seen as liabilities and will receive a 4 percent decrease in their salary per child. Why? Because society views that a woman’s “main priority” is motherhood, not a career.

Gender roles also affect the ability of people to express themselves. It is socially understood that men should not express emotion. Anything from showing affection to crying is seen as “unmanly.” The phrase, “be a man,” is used to encourage men to be strong, tough, and unyielding. In other words, gender roles promote a sense of violence in men--- that men need to be these unemotional, blunt, and physically domineering beings. If men veer from this social understanding, then they are criticizes and made fun of for being… feminine.

That’s right. Gender roles made "being feminine" an insult.

For women, society expects them to be fragile, emotional, and dependent. This social understanding means that women who break these assigned traits are “too manly.” I have heard men complain when some women are muscular. Women who take their career seriously are seen as “bitchy” because they do not go around the office in a constant emotional state and yield to male dominance.

As I write these examples, I think it becomes clear as to why gender is a prison. Gender begs society to ask this question: what is male and what is female? That question alone is the beginning of the oppression. Gender sets us on a straight and narrow path with guard rails to prevent us from jumping the fence and expressing ourselves with the complete freedom that was given to us since birth. I ask you this: why are we asking what is male and what is female? Why don’t we ask what it means to be human?

To be human is to be able to think, to express, to create, to feel, to question, to try, and to be. It means that we can exist exactly as we see fit without being assigned to some list of social requirements that bind us. Society needs to stop pretending that it can gather life and existence into one tiny, controllable ball and prevent it from taking any other form. There is no one way to be human. We’re all making up our existence and expression as we go, and we can change, grow, and reform as many times as we see fit. That is the beauty of being human. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to be human than to be what society says I must be.

Cover Image Credit: schoolsofequality.com

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Christian Boys Vs. Godly Men

It is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.
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Ladies, there is a huge difference between a Christian boy and a Godly man; therefore, it is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.

So many times I hear girls saying:

“Well, he’s a Christian.”

“He goes to church with me.”

“He listens to Christian music.”

“He went to church camp.”

“He has a favorite bible verse.”

SEE ALSO: What An Attractive Man Looks Like

Well, all of those things are just peachy and there is nothing wrong with doing those things. I mean, they’re all good things to do. But how is his personal relationship with God? How is his prayer life? Does he talk about his relationship with God, with you? Is he truly a follower of the one true God in all aspects of his life? These are some of the characteristics you should be looking for that makes a Godly man.

Ladies, a man will love you great when he loves God greater.

A Godly man will pursue an honest relationship with you. He will be clear of his intentions. A Godly man will worship, pray and passionately praise God with you. Whereas, a Christian boy might open the door for you, a Godly man will open his bible and explore God’s word with you so that you both may grow spiritually, together. While a Christian boy may put on an outward show, a Godly man will live out the love of Jesus daily.

So ladies, are you catching on to this ongoing trend? A Godly man does more because you deserve more.

A Godly man will be a leader. Trust me, I know that in today’s society Godly men are few and far between while Christian boys come in plenty. But you deserve a man who is after God’s heart not just a boy who goes to church. And I know that this Christian boy may seem great and have some really stellar qualities at the time but money and looks fade, whereas, an ongoing love for our savior will not.

The greatest thing a man can do for a woman is to lead her closer to God than himself. (Yes, yes, yes).

SEE ALSO: As Christians, Life Isn't Supposed To Be Hard

So I beg of you, do not settle. Do not settle just because you’re tired of being single, it’s convenient or because you want the relationship your friend has. Single does not equal available and a relationship status does not define you. God uses your season of singleness to prepare you for what is to come. And if you’re dating a Christian boy, he needs to step it up or you need to move on. Wait for a Godly man who is ready to lead you. God’s timing is always better, always. No matter the circumstance. So, do not rush God. (I mean, He is, after all, pretty good at His job). Therefore, turn your full focus to Him and He will direct your path.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Cover Image Credit: Christina Sharp

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I Won't Forgive The Anti-Semitic Students Of Spain Park, Not Yet

Maybe it isn't time for an apology.

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I am Jewish. It is something I have never been afraid of and something I value as much in life as I do with my family and friends. Throughout my life, though I have witnessed hate of the Jewish people and jokes made about Jewish people.

In high school, I had to listen to jokes about Jews and the gas chambers and was asked because I was Jewish if I could do someone else's math homework.

To say I had to deal with anti-Semitism in the South does not come close to describing what I had to go through. As time went by the jokes stopped and I thought I would not have to deal with instances of prejudice or bigotry but I was wrong. Growing up as one of the only Jewish people in my friend group and in high school it made me consider myself strong and ready for college but in my freshman year I had to go through other jokes about my religion and even in sophomore year had to witness someone I thought was my friend make a joke about my religion because "he thought it was funny."

I let the instances of anti-Semitism serve as times when I could prove people wrong I learned to forgive and forget.

But I had to witness other acts of hate towards Judaism while in college. From swastikas on a fraternity house, a synagogue shooting, the BDS movement and more hate speech, the hate towards Jews have seemed to grow and I do not understand why. I get hurt each time I hear of an instance but it has not allowed me to view my Judaism any differently. However, there was an occurrence that has affected me in a different way.

It happened in my home state and it has not sat well with me.

On Monday a video surfaced of multiple high school students making anti-Semitic and anti-Black comments. The video featured a guy turning around the camera multiple times to show he was laughing and thought it was funny while others made comments about concentration camps, what would happen if Jews ruled the world and asking what the world would be like without the Holocaust. The students were from Spain Park in Birmingham and have gathered quite a reputation online.

To say I am filled with anger, disappointment, and embarrassment is an understatement.

This is my home state and these students are not only disrespecting the Jewish and Black people in the state of Alabama but throughout the US and possibly even in the world. I am hurt by this instance but I am not ready to forgive these students just yet.

After the video was leaked online some of the students sent messages to the person who uploaded the video apologizing. That I took as a mature gesture until I read the apology from the girl in the video. The apology asked if the user could remove the video because it would ruin her life and reputation. It was later found out that the female student is the daughter of the manager of the Toyota dealership in Hoover after the manager posted an apology.

Any remorse I had going for these students was now gone.

They were not sorry. They were sorry that they got caught and were facing consequences. They gave the apology that your parents made you say when you did not want to apologize. They did not care about who they had harmed or what they had said, they cared because they had to face consequences and they know that this mistake would follow them for the rest of their life.

I'm at a loss for words.

I don't know how to feel. I know someone will tell me I am overreacting but how am I supposed to approach this? What they said was wrong and there is no proper way to express frustration for it. I know people get offended by certain things but some things are not meant to be a joke. So I hope what you said was worth it and was fun to say because it will follow you for the rest of your life. Some lessons are best-learned overtime and it looks like you will have a chance to reflect on these events.

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