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It is easy for someone to forget
that gender is only an aspect of their social identity. The
criteria and regulations for how one should behave if they belong
to a gen...
It is easy for someone to forget that gender is only an aspect of their social identity. The criteria and regulations for how one should behave if they belong to a gender are set by default. These rules, rigid and non-porous are placed on a person before there is a comprehension of what gender is. From the toys we play with, to the clothes we wear, from what habits are considered okay to what emotions we must feel, all these are predefined with our gender. In our society, a man wearing makeup, a woman smoking, a man doing household chores or a woman having sex out of wedlock are considered blasphemies. Gender roles have become so imbibed in us that we subconsciously pelt out judgment.
For centuries there have been invisible guidelines that a man and woman must follow- a duty of sorts to the gender we belong. In the book Gender Practices by Geetha, the author mentions how it is percieved that a womans beauty must be her highlight and a mans virility must be his mark. Not only must a woman be attractive, but she must present herself with grace, protect her virtue with determination, imbibe the qualities of concern and nourishment and be obedient. A man must be strong, a protector of the weak, he must provide for his family and stay devoid of emotions that could oppose his persona of strength. These ideas sound primitive. A complete contrast to the idea of progressive modern thinking. But these still continue to thrive.
Even today a woman makes sure she doesnt laugh too loud, keeps her legs close together, maintains secrecy about her visits to the club and keeps shut about not wanting to have children because all of this could potentially tarnish her reputation. A man keeps his need for emotional support in shroud, downplays his interest towards the arts, tries not to make obvious his efforts towards his looks and ignores his desire of wanting to be a homemaker and raise his kids in the fear of being branded a ninny. Every day we live on high alert. We constantly monitor and censor our words, our emotions, and our habits. We try not to push the boundaries of gender norms too far because we do not know what the consequences will be. Our fear of being ostracized often triumphs most deviations we could possibly want to have from our gender.