Here's a little lesson I learned about gender norms in less than five minutes:
It's about time to start breaking out the sandals and Chaco's for warmer weather and sunnier days. I am the kind of person that absolutely HATES wearing sandals or anything that shows my feet unless my toes are painted and my feet are taken care of.
So, as I was walking into my classroom, about five minutes earlier than usual, there was only one other person in the room. I noticed this guy was wearing Chaco's and instantly I blurted out, "Hey man, nice Chaco's. As soon as I get my toes painted, I'll be breaking mine out."
He looked at me funny for a few seconds and then responded, "The way I see it, we are all God's children. Do you really think God cares about what your toes look like?"
I suppose he doesn't.
I went on to say that, as a girl, we get looked at kind of funny when we look like we have boy toes and our feet aren't taken care of (pedicured). It makes me uncomfortable if people stare at my toes.
Puzzled, he smiled at me and said, "I don't see gender." Basically what he was telling me was that toes are toes, boy or girl, it doesn't matter what they look like. They can't look like boy toes or girl toes, they're just toes. Painted, non-painted? It doesn't matter. God created us equally, so this means we also have an equal right to take care of our toes as we please -- whether they're plain, painted, or pedicured to perfection, they're just toes.
In a small conversation right before class (at a Baptist liberal arts university, I might add), I was taught a valuable lesson about gender norms. We aren't and shouldn't be conformed or held to gender roles, or societal norms or standards.
We shouldn't hold ourselves to what is considered "normal." We have the right to express who we are regardless of what gender we identify with, regardless of what background we may come from, and regardless of what others may think.
Toes are toes, they aren't boy toes, they aren't girl toes -- they're just normal little toes. If God would've intended for different people to make them look differently, he would have made them distinctively different upon creation.
Toes are just toes, whip 'em out and enjoy your Chaco's as you please!