How Our Culture Shapes Gender Identity

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Courtesy of Ram Pages

‘Stop being such a girl’: a comment, surprisingly, I have heard possibly a thousand times even though I am a girl. I cry and it’s because I am a girl. I don’t play sports and it’s because I am a girl. I am not into video games; oh, I am ‘such a girl.’ I refuse to watch excessively violent movies, and it can all be linked back to my sex because no one seems to care that maybe my personality is such that I don’t like violence. Maybe violence irks me simply because of the household I have been brought up in and not because of my gender. Needless to say, it is quite troubling that such stereotypes exist and that I cannot go even two days without someone linking a personality trait to my gender. 

And then the male gender is possibly just as victimized because, well, they need to ‘stop being such a girl.’ My brother cries and he’s told to be a man, not to act like a girl. A male friend of mine says he’d prefer a romantic movie to a violent one and the other ‘men’ in the group make jokes and say, “how about you cry yourself to sleep watching The Notebook.”  

These stereotypes exhaust me. It may be true that there are some biological differences between a male and a female, but what one prefers to do or not do, or how one person is, is not solely based on their sex. There are external factors that influence you too: how you grew up, what you were exposed to, and countless other things. I am a strong believer in nurture over nature, and hence, in my opinion most of these personality traits are simply your “nurture” and don’t relate back to your sex. 

If these stereotypes do not come to an end (fortunately they are), I believe that they will hold back the development of both sexes because it cannot be what sex you’re born with anymore; it’s all about individualism. Each individual is different and always will be; stop telling people to ‘stop being such a girl’ or to ‘be a man’; there are no specific traits attached to them. Each being is his or her own person.

-Naymal Mirza