About a year ago I read a book called In Real Life by a YouTuber named Joey Graceffa. I knew who he was, but I’d never watched his videos before. His life story was one of the most inspiring ones I have read. He went on to becoming one of my favourite YouTubers. While watching his videos, I noticed he had painted his nails. It was the first time it ever occurred to me that boys could wear nail polish too.
It was then when I realised the severity of gender stereotypes in our society. From a young age, I have always heard teachers and parents telling their sons, ‘Stop crying. Be a man. Don’t be a girl. Girls cry, boys don’t.’ That offends me for two reasons. First of all, what do you mean by girls cry? Crying isn’t a job designated to girls only. Why should showing a ‘sign of weakness’ (which isn’t what crying is at all, by the way. Being able to show your emotions is really brave) be a relative term to girls. Second, boys can show emotions too. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. The only difference between boys and girls are their bodies. That shouldn’t change the fact that both genders are human. Having emotions is a part of being a human, and there’s no problem with showing those emotions.
Why is it that when a girl does not show interest in putting on makeup or dressing up, she has to be classified into a certain type of girl, commonly known as a tomboy. Why is there a set of feminine qualities that makes you more girly? I don’t get why having different genitals has to mean that each gender has to have a specific set of personality attributes. You are your own person. You can have your own qualities without letting society’s expectations of our gender coming in.
Also, having interests which according to society are feminine, doesn’t make a boy ‘gay’ or a ‘chakka’. That makes no sense whatsoever. A straight guy can have an interest in fashion and have a flamboyant personality, thank you very much. A gay boy can be extremely athletic and shy. Having a particular kind of personality has nothing to do with sexuality AT ALL.
My brother wears pink, I buy clothes from the boys’ section. That doesn’t mean he’s gay (but even if he is there’s absolutely no problem with it). Just because I buy clothes from the boys section, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy wearing dresses. It doesn’t mean I don’t like floral patterns. It doesn’t make me any less of a girl. It does not make my brother any less of a boy.
All I want to convey is, boys can show their emotions and not be gay, or any less of a boy. Girls can avoid dressing up and using makeup and not be less of a girl. These stereotypes are stupid ones made by our society, and if they are questioned, they can’t be justified by any person.
Here’s a list of people who use their voices to make people aware of gender stereotypes:
- Joey Graceffa (YouTuber/Author)
- Troye Sivan (YouTuber/Singer-Songwriter)
- Connor Franta (YouTuber/Author)
- Ariana Grande (Singer-Songwriter)
- Dan Howell and Phil Lester (YouTubers/Authors)
- Demi Lovato (Singer-Songwriter)
- Harry Styles (Singer-Songwriter/Actor)
- Cara Delevingne (Actress/Model)
- Miley Cyrus (Singer-Songwriter/Actress)
Our first youth guest blogger, Stuti Kulkarni, is a 14 year old girl, living in India. She is passionate about social equality, and feels that everyone, irrespective of their age, gender, race, caste or religion should have the same rights as everyone else. She loves reading books that are meaningful. She is passionate about photography and loves music.
The opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s personal opinions. The facts and opinions stated in the blog do not reflect or represent the views of the Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF) or PRIA. MFF/PRIA do not endorse or assume any responsibility or liability for the same.