Expectations are the bane of our existence. I’m not talking about the expectations that people have for us regarding our careers or our lives.
From the moment we are born, or even before that, our gender guarantees some expectations being placed on us.
Boys and girls have to behave a certain way.
If you are a girl, welcome to the world of self preening and self care. Your world is pink and filled with frivolous things. You are judged by your ability to be a “good girl”. Your value is determined by your beauty. Rarely by your intellect.
As a boy, manly characteristics are your defining feature. The ability to grow a beard or mustache is the first trial to proving you are a man. The commonly heard phrase “don’t cry like a girl” and “you fight like a girl” are taken as an insult to your manhood.
Recently my friends commented on looking at a young actor’s physique, that though he was handsome, he was clean shaven and that made him look gay and unappealing. They laughed at the idea of that guy being a “real man”
How is being gay equated with being less of a man, i do not understand. And what is the definition of being a real man? Is it the one who still thinks he lives in the 80s, is a misogynist and thinks it’s okay to dominate his wife and beat her? Is it the one who has muscles popping in every direction and is a real Casanova?
On that note, the term being a women has also many connotations. You are expected to be hairless, fair, dainty. Tell that to girls who suffer from PCOD. They didn’t choose to have that disease. It doesn’t make them any less of a girl if they have hair spouting from their face, or that they are overweight. And yet they have to face taunts everyday because people cannot understand them or box them in a category.
Gender is a fluid term. It is a happy accident that determines our gender at birth. Even then there is no guarantee that you will fit into your assigned box. There are numerous examples of transgenders who switched because they felt trapped.
And trapped indeed you are. It can be horrifying when you feel you don’t fit in with people of the same sex. Depression can even occur when you are born in a religious society that expects you to stick to what God gave you.
People need to stop saying things like you are a boy/ girl, you should behave this way. A person shouldn’t be forced to be anyone he/ she does not want to be.
So stop telling your little boy that pink is a girly colour or shoving in your little girls face, Barbies when all she wants to do is play with cars and robots.
Let children be who they are without unnecessary expectations. As such life ensures that we have other burdens placed on us anyways. Maybe you can give them this small mercy.
I envision a future where any boy can wear dresses and any girl can be whoever she wants without anyone telling them they should conform or stick to something. Maybe that will be possible in the future. Till then, keep this quote in mind and watch your actions accordingly .