Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is Gender?

What is Gender?

(In part inspired by:

So, this isn’t exactly an original topic. I know so little about this; I’ve only researched it a bit, and haven’t studied it at all. However, I think it’s a very interesting topic. Someone recently told me of the theory that sex (the noun, not the verb) is biological and gender is socially constructed. This had never occurred to me, but it immediately made sense.

Now, many girls are encouraged to wear blue and boys are given Barbies. Sure, the “traditional” gender roles still stick, but many parents of today don’t want their children to feel limited and inhibited by arbitrary societal constraints. Although many (most) fight for equality and equal opportunity of the sexes, there are myriad credible studies that find extreme trends with the sex of participants, and other psychological studies showing strong preferences and feelings associated with one of the sexes. I know that it’s not just stereotype.

Still, if one really goes back into thinking about girls and boys, when they are born, the only real difference between them is their body parts. That is sex of a person, the biological aspects of one’s body that typically identifies he/she as male or female.

The reason that men are often seen as more powerful than women is, in my opinion, often due to the antiquated views of the serious way back when, times that the woman was the nurturer and gatherer, and the husband was the hunter. He was given this job because it’s likely that he was more physically inclined to do so, as well as that the woman, as the one who birthed the children, was expected to care for them. In most developed countries, though, physical strength plays a minimal role in daily life. Yet, why is it that most boys feel drawn to pretending to hunt with Nerf guns whereas the girls pretend to mother Bitty Babies? How much of it is intrinsic? Could it be a social construct from thousands of years ago? Essentially, could nurture have become nature over time?

This might be so silly, and so invalid, but, as a child, most grouping has to do with gender/sex. When walking down the hallway, the kids are in two lines, male and female. But if sex is the only real concept present here, then why don’t they just get in two lines by hair color? Could our society progress that much? It seems so unsettling from the way things are now, but it could be remarkable. Imagine just being a person. Imagine just liking people, and we wouldn’t need to have the labels of sexual orientation we do now because people would just like people. It seems so pleasant, and it seems so right. We don’t need gender anymore for its practical reasons; our society is technologically developed beyond that. Sex in terms of biology will always be present, but doesn’t have to be prominent.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Turn Beauty Inside Out Day!!

As some may know, today is the eleventh Turn Beauty Inside Out day. This annual event was started by the Girls Editorial Board of New Moon Girls Magazine ( in 2000. It celebrates the idea that beauty should be defined by character, not outward appearance. It’s a message that desperately needs to be heard by New Moon’s audience, girls ages eight to twelve. At the same time, New Moon maintains a delicate balance by also stating that every girl’s physical appearance is beautiful as well. Knowing that there’s nothing wrong with one’s body, coupled with the knowledge that true beauty is internal, New Moon provides a powerful, feminist-fueled foundation for thousands of girls to go and lead dynamic, vibrant lives. Take today to remember what beauty is, and that it’s not what the media claims. Remind your friends, the young women in your life, and everyone else of their beauty today- most importantly, yourself.

(More information:
Also, NMG uses May and June entirely for their inner beauty campaign! Visit their site for more information:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Inevitable Sadness? My hesitancy to speak out sometimes.

Setting: On line at a crowded fast-food establishment. Various GIRLS are talking in separate, overlapping, frightening similar conversations.
Girl 1: Should I get one of those? Or two?
Girl 2: I don't know. You can get two, if you want. Whatever.
Girl 1: I mean, I am hungry. We won't eat for a while. And they're small, right?
Girl 2: Yeah, they're small. (nods affirmatively)
Girl 1: (opens mouth; pauses) I think I'll get two.
Girl 2: Okay. (lowers voice, turns toward Girl 1) We'll walk off whatever we eat anyway.
Girl 1: What? (laughs halfheartedly) That's not what I was talking about. I was afraid I'd get sick later.
Girl A: I'm so excited that I can get something. I lost seven pounds in the last two weeks.
Girl B: Cool. What did you do?
Girl A: I don't know. I've been exercising more, and eating sort of healthier, I guess.
Girl C: But how do you know you lost seven pounds?
Girl A: Well, I've been weighing myself.
Girl B: You know you're never supposed to weigh yourself!
Girl A: What? Why?
Girl C: A lot of girls who weigh themselves become obsessed. If you get to into it, you can become anorexic or bulimic or something.
Girl A: Well, I wouldn't do that! (pauses) I just want to lose a little weight.
Girls who seem so confident and strong- girls who ARE so confident and strong- can be broken by a milkshake. It's society's priorities that are screwing them up. They've overcome the hardest academic courses, the most grueling athletic practices, the most exhausting rehearsals. They make jokes and have many friends. They are so talented and kind. Yet, while in line for ten minutes, at least eighty percent of the conversation revolved around food choices, and not in a casual way. Each sentence was careful, critical, cautiously articulated. This never, ever fails to shock me.
It shocks and disappoints me even more that I feel paralyzed from saying anything. All I can visualize is me squeakily exclaiming, "Everyone is beautiful!" and no one even hearing what it took me so much courage to even say. While reading pieces that say that everyone is beautiful, I always feel compelled to just climb on a rooftop and shout it to girls far and wide. But when I'm actually there, in the position to make a difference, I tend to freak out. I don't know how to do it without sounding cliche, without sounding like a creep, without sounding fake. Maybe what I really can't take is the sadness that will come when I shout, "Everyone is beautiful!" and someone inevitably responds, "Bullshit."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I am not easily affected by other people’s opinions. Maybe I was at some point, but I rarely value my worth by how others perceive me. So I don’t understand how I can feel so awfully judged by someone else without her saying a word.

If asked if I were ever explicitly bullied, I would probably say no. But when I sat at this table among eight of my peers, all girls within a year of my age, many of whom I’ve been acquainted with for years, I positively felt like crap. One of the other girls at this table, one of my close friends, visibly hunched over as we sat down.

My friend and I are intellectual. We have truckloads of aspirations and are not afraid to share our opinions or assert ourselves. Neither of us would have a problem speaking in front of a thousand people- as long as I didn’t know these girls were there.

I can’t place what it is. They say that my voice is cute even when I’m talking about rape as a war weapon in Sudan . They fake laugh at what I say regardless of its content, because apparently that should be more of a compliment than actually responding to what I say intellectually. They think that it’s strange that I talk to my friends, the rest of our peers, and teachers exactly the same way, and especially that I talk to guys in the same manner. I can’t do the coy, flirty thing. Maybe I could if I tried, but I haven’t. Maybe one day I will, but it’s not currently my prerogative.

When I speak, even when I’m just sitting there, they look at me. They stare; they never actually make eye contact. If I look back, they just sit even straighter and adjust their clothes.

Around them, I just shrivel up. I feel ugly and fat. I feel like my clothes are wrong. I feel like a loser, and immature. I am always aware, I suppose, that by cultural standards, they are much prettier than I am. I know that, by all logical measures, they are thinner than I am. I know that I dress unusually in comparison. These things, although I am aware of them and do not often fill me with glee, seldom negatively affect my thoughts. Usually I am proud of being a “nerd”, as I value intellectualism. My intelligence is what I am most proud of. But for them, being a nerd is bad, and when they’re around, their perspective begins to infiltrate mine. The immature thing is the most ironic. I’m concerned with global issues and ethics whereas they are typically preoccupied with typical adolescent drama. But for them, due to the fact that I’m all virginal and whatnot, I’m a little kid and younger than them. Somehow, just… lesser than them.

Strangest of all, I feel jealous, so very jealous. I have never been vapid. I will never be so easy to laugh or cry or forget about intense issues and just go to some party. It is not in my character to just get drunk impulsively or, honestly, do anything impulsively. I will never have that kind of fun. It depresses me a bit, because the satisfaction I achieve, although nice, is very different from their immediate gratification.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Followers :)

Thank you so much to those who have followed or commented on my post! I really appreciate your support. I intend to continue to post at least weekly, if not more, so please keep reading! If you like my posts, please share this link with friends. Thank you! ♥