Why gender roles? Well, I have to admit that I see and hear messages about gender and sexuality almost everywhere and all the time. I see them in movies, in advertising, in textbooks. I hear them in music, on the news, in conversation. I am a people watcher, an observer, a ponderer, and I wonder about where these messages are coming from and how they are affecting people and their relationships.
I am also endlessly fascinated by people’s reactions to those who challenge gender (and all) stereotypes that society and culture create and dictate. Sometimes, I am surprised at my own reactions to behavior outside of prescribed norms. Aren’t you?
But some people’s reactions really cross the line, if you ask me. (See above photograph!) I’m sure you have heard someone make a mean comment about a female body builder or a girl who doesn’t shave her legs. How about a stay-at-home dad, or a guy who cries easily at the movies? I’m talking about the people who aren’t satisfied with just sharing their opinion, but feel the need to judge, criticize and condemn someone for “violating” a gender norm. It’s sad that we would treat another so terribly just for being who they are and making their own choices.
So this is what motivates me to keep looking around, keep asking questions, and keep learning. To what end? To discover what is beyond the stereotypes, of course! If it’s a place where people are free to be their true selves and a place where we get to know each other on a deeper level, then beyond just might be better. In fact, I’m sure it is.