Limitations upheld by Gender Bias

Limitations upheld by Gender Bias

Stop labeling me before you Know me
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We live in a world where life itself is structured. Where children are expected to be respectful, to mature into hard working adults, and end their journey wise and fulfilled. This road map that we all embark on has different challenges for everyone; most of the expected bumps can be predicted based on what you like and how you identify. This can be broken down to what gender identifies you. Gender is socially constructed, and each culture has a different expectation regarding such trait.

There are five different combinations of these sexes, however our society acknowledges only two of them. When a baby is born out of the norm, a parent is forced to assign a specific gender to the child. This leads to a life of confusion for the child, often making them feel trapped in the wrong body. In Ancient Rome, these different sexes were acknowledged so this is not a new issue. Rather, it is rejecting human anatomy to fit the perfect ideals of the community. After birth you are expected to have specific characteristics, and grow to be like everybody else.Even though this is not new to the human race, people are still being discriminated against for not conforming to the norm. With the latest push to be the ban of gender less bathrooms. When an individual has to limit their bodily function to fit in, it is clear that it is just a tactic to isolate individuals until they conform. This war strips the individual of their rights and empowers corrupt legislation.

Gender roles are determined by culture. In the United States, there has yet to be a woman president, women make seventy cent per dollar that men make; Women are also largely misrepresented in their communites. Women make up half of the United States population, yet that is not reflected in Congress nor is it represented between CEO or high ranking leadership positions. Francoise Giroud once said, "a woman will be really the equal to man, if one day, an incompetent woman is designated to an important position". Women have to work harder to achieve the same status as men. Women are perceived as weak, dainty and emotional beings that would not be able to handle tough conversations or difficult tasks. That is why traditionally women have stayed in the homes, raising children while men worked. This tradition was changed in the 1960’s when women wanted to expand their rights, socially as well as politically. Even in the United States, the land of the free, women and men are still not ranked or looked at as equals.

In the Middle East, women are still fighting for their basic rights. It is due to their social structure which places men as the dominant power. This construction happens through their specific culture. In the country of Pakistan, we hear of young Malala Yousatzai who was targeted and shot by the Taliban due to her desire to get an education. Under Taliban rule, it is unacceptable for a woman to receive an education, a simple right reserved for men. This society deprives its citizens from the beauty of the written world. Her gender made her a target, as well as made her a hero. However, there are also African tribes where women lead the congregation. In the book, Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe we see how their social construct follows a more traditional route. In the Nigerian culture, northern women work all day in the field collecting yams and other vegetables, and are in charge of caring for the home and nurturing children. Their main goal is to one day get married and have their own families. In the south, women pursue and education and their goal is to work in the city, instead of being a house wife. Although they are from the same country, they have different views on their lives because of the different possibilities available to them. The way people view themselves and their capabilities are determined by their culture and what is expected of them.

The divide between genders is optional but due to centuries and centuries of oppression, people believe it is the only way we can survive. Every culture is structured different, and most of the differences can be broken down by how each gender perceives each other.

In order to make a change in this, individual’s have to take a stance against oppressive practices. More women, POC and LGBT members need to be put in places where they can too be role models. In order to change he narrative we must educate people of human differences and acknowledge them rather then think of a way to change them. By valuing an person individuality you are able to lift them to feel like the dignified person they always were.

This inequality is based off of bias and superficial beliefs. If every culture accepted everyone and saw no differences between him and her the world would be equal. To be truly free, we would have to allow everyone to be himself or herself as well as lift prior limitations. This would be easy if we judged based on the person and not their outer appearance, only then can we all be equal.

Cover Image Credit: “LGBT GROUPS HOLD DANCE PARTY OUTSIDE PENCE HOME.” 360WISE NEWS, 19 Jan. 2017, 360wisenews.com/2017/01/19/lgbt-groups-hold-dance-party-outside-pence-home/.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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I Grieve For Asifa, But I Also Grieve For The Death Of Humanity

May we never rest in peace
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As a child, when I went to art class I would always draw vibrant pictures of the different cultures being celebrated around the world and how people of different religions are able to coexist with each other. Those pictures were filled with vibrancy. But today, that vibrancy is dead and with a shroud lying upon it.

Today, there is no peaceful co-existence; there's just tension over the kidnapping, gang-rape and brutal murder of an 8-year-old girl. 8 YEARS OLD. Let that sink in. What does a child normally do an at age of 8? Probably learning how to ride their first bike, trying to color inside the lines of a coloring book, and going to school and dreaming about what they want to do when they grow up.

But, that poor girl didn't get to do all this. She was gagged, kidnapped, drugged, raped, tortured and murdered. All this, under a temple - a place of God, a place of holiness, a place of worship. A place where people come to wash away their sins is where men sinned.

If there is an all-forgiving God, today, I hope that God DOES NOT FORGIVE. I hope that God makes this one exception for the sake of a young innocent child whose only fault was that she was innocent.

I always am proud to be of Indian descent but I can’t explain what I felt after reading about this story filled with hatred and I'm speechless, hurt and heartbroken.

Every time that I scroll through my social media feed is every time that her face haunts me, asking me if there will be justice. And every time I see her face, I feel a gut-wrenching sense of helplessness that I cannot do anything about.

The fact that in 'a social sovereign country', there is an angry mob on two sides of a line - one demanding punishment for all the accused, and the other, siding with the accused parties, justifying the religious sentiment that made for the pretext of the rape.

We - not they - are justifying the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl because of religious undercurrents! WE ARE JUSTIFYING NOT JUST RAPE; BUT, GANG-RAPE. AND ALSO, MURDER. I say 'We' because when the history books are written and when the world talks about the incident - and they will - they won't say 'they' sided with the wrong. They will say: INDIA sided with the wrong! We do not get to excuse ourselves from this!

It's not just the question of a social media post, in the hope that the country's honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will have a change of heart and speak up against the horrendous crime and the accused. It's about the fact that there was a government elected with the hope that good days will actually come.But, is this the price that is payed for the good days? For the growing economy, for the job opportunities , and better living standards?

As I write this, my hands are trembling, my heart is pounding and my eyes are tearing up. I am angry and I am hurt. What hurts me is the incident that I wish had NOT happened and yet, it did. What angers me is my own helplessness.

Who do you turn to when one of the accused was a special police officer who requested to keep her alive so he could rape her one last time? Who do you worship when the caretaker of a temple conspired the kidnapping, torture and the murder?What kindness do we seek when one of the accused was invited from Meerut just so he could 'satisfy his lust' by raping an 8-year-old girl?

What do we do when one half of a nation actually justifies the rape in the name of some version of a God they've created?

No amount of words I utter will be enough to explain how I feel - how every woman and child should feel - right now. Today, I cannot write about the land of cultural diversity. Today, I can only lament about the land of communal monstrosity. Today, I grieve, not just for the victim. I grieve for a humanity that no longer exists. I grieve for the unborn children that every woman promises not to have because there is no safety for their innocence. And for the children who will never be able to enjoy their innocence in the sun. And for parents who wish they never had children.

Today, I grieve for her - no, she isn't a Muslim, or a girl child, or belonging to a lower caste. Today, she is India.

And so, I grieve for a world that is perishing because of the lack of humanity. May we never rest in peace.

If you still didn’t understand quite what I was talking about, click here to reveal a story that I hope and pray will be the last of its kind.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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