5/30/16: Violation of Sexuality Norms
During the first couple months of freshman year, like every other freshman, I made a lot of new friends, giving me the opportunity to start fresh with completely new people after leaving high school. This subsequently lead to a lot of people friend requesting me on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter; people who barely knew me. One weekend I went out with a new girlfriend I had made, and that night I posted a picture on Instagram with the caption “meet my new gf.” Well, to the people that I had been friends with since high school, this was not shocking at all, because they knew that I am heterosexual and that all I meant by the caption was that the girl was my new girl FRIEND only. But, many of my other new friends became intrigued by the picture, and days after posting it, some people started to ask me if that girl was ACTUALLY my girlfriend. I of course continued to tell people that she wasn’t, and that we were both heterosexual, but I was shocked at the way some people reacted with such a negative connotation towards the picture.
Many of the new “friends” I had met did not hesitate to judge me and call me out for “violating sexuality norm”, simply because my caption was so vague that it left people wondering what I meant about it.
My father was born in Evergreen, Alabama, but my mother was born in Bogota, Colombia. This means that my ethnicity is Hispanic. Ever since I can remember, I have struggled with my sense of identity. My skin is white and I certainly do not have an accent when I speak English, so whenever people find out somehow that I am Hispanic, they would be very surprised. Especially in the area that I grew up in, people most who were seen as Hispanic unfortunately had a very bad reputation. I would say that I have definitely encountered more marginality than privilege in my daily interactions.
I have definitely grown from the person I used to be in middle school and high school; I am definitely proud of my ethnic and who I am, regardless of social stereotypes.
6/1/16: Social Influence
Looking back, I realize that my body first became extremely socially influenced in 8th grade. This was when it became very clear that girls were comparing themselves to each other, from everything including legs, breasts, hair, style. This is also when I started feeling self-conscious specifically about shaving my legs, because more and more girls started doing it at this time, so I thought that I had to start doing it as well.
In high school this was much more prevalent because people, especially girls, would attack each other, call each other names, and judge each other based on the clothes they would wear to school. If you wore a certain piece of clothing, you were considered a “slut” but if you wore another type of clothing you were considered a “prude”. There was infinitely more pressure to be more sexual but at the same time hide it so no one else could tell.
After starting college, I realized that none of that actually mattered, that you should try your best not to let society influence the way you act, or dress.
6/2/31: Family Responsibility Distribution
In my family, I would say that the responsibilities are distributed between my mom and dad, but definitely not evenly. My father definitely affects the power dynamics of the family. He enjoys being in power and control of everything that he can and does not let my mom be in charge of many family affairs. For example, whenever I need to ask permission to go out to eat, or go shopping, I feel the need to ask my dad for permission only, and not my mom, because I know that he has the ultimate say in spending for the family.
Don’t get me wrong, they both have jobs and contribute equally to the family’s income, but I wish that my dad gave my mom more responsibility in the family.
6/3/31: Religious Beliefs
My parents let me grow up without imposing any kind of religion on me, because they wanted to let me choose my own religion when I got older. This was all fine and dandy, I grew up with friends who went to Sunday school or said a prayer before eating dinner which never bothered me at all. This was never a problem for me until recently, when I decided to start taking birth control pills. Now granted, I did initially buy these without asking my parents first, but I was expecting their full support regardless. Instead, they then decided to impose their religious beliefs on me about birth control and abortion and so on.
In this case, they were trying to implicate their religious views’ gender norms on me, including not having sex before marriage, which I was never actually taught since they raised me without a religious affiliation. I of course did not let them stop me from doing something with my own body, but I was surprised at their harsh reaction when they raised me a certain way in the first place and then expected me to share their beliefs in the end.
Writing this gender journal opened my eyes even more to the fact that life will always be full of social constructs, social norms, social pressures, and that this is only the beginning of something we have been experiencing our whole lives. I think that the assigned reading that most relates to my journal is Justin Hubbell’s blog, “The Ultimate Break Down of the Gender Binary – Why It Hurts Us All”, and comic strip, “The Great Divide”. He addresses the fact that everyone grows up needing to put labels of “female” or “male” on everything, and when something doesn’t fit one of those labels then it bothers some people. People should be able to express themselves as they please, without being labeled and put into a category.
Hubbell, Justin. “The Ultimate Break Down of the Gender Binary – Why It Hurts Us All.” Web log post.Everyday Feminism. N.p., 24 Feb. 2016. Web. 4 June 2016.