We live in a world full of stereotypes and expectations. Whether it be gender stereotypes or race stereotypes, people are constantly trying to fit the mold. But why? Why do we try to ignore the things that make us different? It is a world of diverse and unique people that makes life beautiful and keeps things interesting.
Instead of trying to force people into a gender role of male or female, let’s ignore the biological factors and let people define themselves the way they want. Instead of trying to place a label on people based on anatomical parts, let people be free of judgment and tags. In Gender as a Social Structure, Risman says that he would “prefer to define gender as a social structure because that brings gender to the same analytic plane as politics and economics” (431). Such insight makes you really think about whether or not the labels of “boy” or “girl” are enforced by society the way people’s political ideas are. I agree with Risman in that society needs to “conceptualize gender as a social structure” because “by doing so, we can analyze the ways in which gender is embedded at the individual, interactional, and institutional dimensions of our society” (446). If we wouldn’t sort animals into groups of dogs or cats (Hubbel), then we need to stop sorting people into groups of girls or boys.
According to Matthew Brim, Assistant Professor of Queer Studies at the College of Staten Island, heteronormativity is nothing more than the expectation that a person’s “biology, sexuality, and gender identity line up” (An Introduction to Homonormativity). Homonormativity encourages the idea that there are only two genders. Such thinking therefore enforces old-fashioned ideals such as, if you were born with a penis you need to “act like a boy”, and if you were born with a vagina you need to “act like a girl”. The only people who should buy into this are people who have no interaction with society. No matter what age you are and no matter where you live, it should be clear that everyone is different. People shouldn’t be made to feel inferior because they can’t identify with a certain label; therefore it’s time society breaks the mold.
When it comes to intersectionality, Akilah gives us a video that makes leaving other races out of feminist movements seem ludicrous. In On Intersectionality in Feminism and Pizza Akilah’s use of cheese pizza to represent white feminists and supreme pizza to represent feminists of other races, presents this issue in a way that even a child could understand. For those who don’t know, “white feminism” is known as feminism that ignores intersectionality (Huffington Post). This video really resonated with me when she talked about how supreme pizzas are still fighting for the same rights as cheese pizza, yet they rarely seem to take the spotlight. A lot of the time it is white feminists that are heard, and that’s something that needs to change. Akilah’s right, “the world could use a lot more flavor” (Akilah).
I encourage us all to stop the judgment and stop the labeling. Diversity makes the world a beautiful place. If we keep making people feel uncomfortable with their true self, we will begin to live in a world of uniformity. Is that what we want?
(2015, April 08). On Intersectionality in Feminism and Pizza. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgK3NFvGp58
An Introduction to Homonormativity. (2013, July 03). Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://homonormativity.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/an-introduction-to-homonormativity-2/
Hubbell, J. (2016, February 24). The Ultimate Break Down of the Gender Binary – Why It Hurts Us All. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/02/gender-binary-hurts-us-all/
Huffington Post. (2015, September 03). Why We Need To Talk About White Feminism. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNdZcegK1lQ
Risman, B. J. (2004). Gender As a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism. Gender as a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism, 18(4), 429-450. doi:10.1177/0891243204265349