Overcoming the gender binary
Picture this: You’re in the living room painting your nails and your little brother comes up to you, asking if he can paint his nails. At the same moment your father walks in, telling your brother, “No, that stuff is for girls. You don’t want people to think you’re gay.” By adding a gender to these activities and forms of expression, people automatically assume your identification. Instead of assuming others’ identification, we should allow people to determine their own personalities and sexuality.
Society has associated dresses, skirts, makeup and nail polish as a “girl thing.” All these things are considered as fashion, which anybody is open to because it is a form of expression. Clothes are clothes and if people are comfortable in crop tops or skirts, they should have the freedom to wear those things without being judged or labeled. A great example of fashion and expression is drag.
A lot of times people forget the difference between sex and gender. Sex is given at birth and is based on genitalia while gender is a form of identity. Just because society assigns you a gender, it doesn’t mean it defines you. Teens, in the process of figuring their own identities, find it increasingly harder to determine who they truly are when society assigns genders to most everything. The only way to determine ourselves and our sexuality are through our hobbies, interests and activities. By gendering our hobbies, interests or activities, it makes people feel afraid and confused about who they are. They feel like they have to live up to expectations instead of being themselves.
Drag is a form of expression which brings out confidence and pride in feeling glamorous. A common assumption made by people is that men who do drag are “gay.” However, this is not true because many straight guys do drag as well. Drag is considered a hobby and contributes to the satisfaction and leisure time like video games, so everyone should be able to do it without being identified by others.
So, how can we be gender neutral? We can stop adding a gender to the things we do. For example, painting your nails isn’t a “girl thing,” it’s just a fun and relaxing activity. We can teach others that the hobbies or activities we do don’t define who we are, especially our sexual orientation. We can also start by eliminating the random labels. Random labels are given to people based on their gender, interests and fashion choices. By taking these steps, we can create a utilitarian future in which all people are satisfied, not just a select group.
By Mia Nam, Photo Manager
Editorial cartoon by Rikka Tagayuna