Gender expectations trap, categorize

Feminism benefits everyone

I’m a feminist because no woman should face judgment for appearing “unladylike” and no man should be laughed at for not dressing and acting according to societal expectations.

Our society continually develops mannerisms and daily rituals categorized into male and female. Everyone creates separate boxes and categories for different types of people. But in reality, gender and identity is a spectrum and there is no possible way to accurately group every single person. No one should feel trapped within gender expectations.

If I decide not to shave my legs and come to school that way, I can guarantee someone will comment on it. Being hairy in our society is only acceptable for males, and a female will be shamed if she happens to have this natural human feature.

If I decide not to wear a bra to school, I will walk around knowing someone will say something about it. Society creates this idea in our minds that a woman’s body is different. For this reason it should be hidden and no woman should feel comfortable in her own skin.

If a man were to show up at a dance wearing makeup, someone, if not several people, will have something to say about it. However, if a woman shows up in makeup, no one would comment because it is the norm for women to wear makeup. The amount of women who wear makeup is much greater than the amount of men, simply because it is a gender expectation created by society. According to a survey done by the Huffington Post, only 9 percent of men said they use foundation, whereas women walk around every day wearing foundation.

Though these examples of gender expectations may not seem like big issues, they affect many people’s daily lives, and they tie into the larger issue of gender inequality. People who express themselves differently and uniquely will face societal shame and pressures. According to the National School Climate Survey, 82 percent of LGBTQ youth have had problems within the past year with bullying about sexual orientation.

It is important people fight for equality every day in order to push toward a time where everyone can express themselves however they desire, regardless of gender. According to a 2015 Bullying Report study, 22.7 percent of students bullied were harassed because of their gender expression. No one should have to feel scared to express themselves, and everyone should be entitled to choose what they do with their body and how they choose to appear on a day-to-day basis.

I’m a feminist because we have made it a long way. However, I want to work toward the day where hairy legs and makeup are acceptable on any person and everyone is free from physical gender expectations.

I’m a feminist because I have to explain why I’m a feminist, and it’s 2016.


Art by Hanna Schechter.

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