Tag Archives: Masculine

What is gender?

Gender is more than what’s in you pants.
Graphic from learn.uvm.edu

Gender, by definition, is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between and from masculinity and femininity. Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about the type of genitalia you have. Gender is a social construct forced on to people by society attempting to make everyone fit into one of two categories, masculine or feminine. Unfortunately, American society has decided that to be masculine means to be a boy and to be feminine means to be a girl. However, that’s not what it means all over the world. It some countries, the women are seen as more masculine, building homes and finding food, the bread winners if you will, while the men take care of the children and stay at home, taking the feminine traits for themselves.

Gender is the idea of certain characteristics belonging to a specific genitalia. Feminine with vaginas and masculine with penises. Who decided that? I understand that there is biology involved with men being taller, having a higher center of gravity, and having less body fat making it easier to gain muscle mass. However, women can be strong too. Most of the ideas surrounding what it means to be a man and what it means to be a women are created by what society wants and expects from us.

Society has told us that men can’t cry, can’t be scared, can’t be vulnerable because those emotions are deems weak, feminine, meant for women and women only. They say that men can be angry and scary even, but it doesn’t matter because they’re showing how strong and tough they are. They’re allowed to be scary because it’s what is expected of them. Women, however, are expected to be soft-spoken, weak, submissive, kind, and every other word you could think of that could also describe a daffodil. Women aren’t allowed to be angry, to be tough, to be strong because if we are, we’re called bitches or rude. We’re told we don’t smile enough, that we’re too rough and need to lighten up. Men would never be told to lighten up.

Gender is an idea, a box, that society wants to put us into so all the jobs that are required to keep a society going are dealt with. Women take care of the children, cook, clean, while men work with other men, bringing home the money and continuing the manly man’s world. What would happen if we stopped? Stopped being what is expected and turned society on it’s head? Do you think society would end? Or would it become something worth fighting for?

Breaking the stereotype

We live in a society where being different is frowned upon. Expressing who you truly want to be is unacceptable and can make you an outcast within friends, family, and professional environments.

People can be judged on every small detail starting from how you carry yourself to how you dress. Clothing companies strive on stereotypes created by a society built on fitting into a certain category, making it that much harder to tear down the walls and expand out of what is expected of us.

Don’t you wish we could define ourselves however we want to? Can you imagine a world where we are allowed to wear whatever we wanted to without being judged or ridiculed for not dressing how the world wants us to? The first place we need to start is retail stores.

boy and girl
“There are “girl” sections and “boy” sections that are separated in halves. If you are a girl, you shop in the “girl” section and vice versa. If you even think about heading to the other side of the store, eyes follow your every move, confusion and judgment covering their faces.”

Clothing stores are the definition of stereotypes. There are “girl” sections and “boy” sections that are separated in halves. If you are a girl, you shop in the “girl” section and vice versa. If you even think about heading to the other side of the store, eyes follow your every move, confusion and judgment covering their faces. It’s not their fault, really. Society has constructed those people into thinking that gender comes in only black or white, boy or girl, masculine or feminine, but that simply isn’t true.

People should be defined as just that, people. Some identify as a boy or as a girl, but some people don’t. It isn’t fair to expect someone to fit into a specific definition when it’s way more complicated than that.

I’m a girl who likes to wear “girly” clothing but I also love to wear “boy” clothing. When I head over to the “boy” section of a store, I want to feel comfortable and like I belong there, not as if I am confused or out of place. Clothing companies owe it to us to give us the opportunity to be our authentic selves, not to be forced to be the person we think we should be.

Designers need to catch up to the 21st century and start designing clothes that are gender neutral. I’ve been dying to see clothes that have always been made for boys being made for girls. Start creating masculine clothing that fits my small frame. One of the most frustrating experiences is finding a shirt or a pair of pants in the “boy’s” section that I love but having it be way too big for me.

If designers starting making “boy’s” clothes fit girls, it would allow for the inclusion of all genders as well as let everyone wear the clothes they want to and to feel comfortable in those clothes.

Of course, I know that beginning to make clothes gender neutral doesn’t create the end all of gender stereotypes nor the feeling of not fitting in; however, I believe we have to start somewhere and allowing for those who don’t fit into society’s ideal of gender were to be able to express themselves appropriately through clothes, it would be a good start.