Gender Expression And Social Norms Essay

938 words - 4 pages

Around the world gender is genuinely seen as strictly male or female. If you step out of this “social norm,” you could be considered an outcast. This disassociation includes, biological males/females, interssexed, and transgendered individuals. These people are severely suppressed by society because their gender identification, behaviors, and even their activities deviate from the norm. Most Americans are exceedingly devoted to the concept that there are only two sexes. Therefore, the constrictive American ideals of male and female gender identities inhibits growth and acceptance of gender expression.
Each gender is separated by untold rules or guidelines that they must abide by. This in turn creates inner tensions that inhibit personal growth. For males this may be, or is, an extraordinarily arduous task. More often than not it is other male figures, such as the father, that administer and enforce these certain rules. The most common of these rules include the fact that boys cannot cry, and if he does, he is considered to be acting like a girl, and therefore made fun of. Those mere statements may compel boys to set aside their emotions, in other words, to put them “on the back burner.” This could affect the child's effort to grow, and also create problems with the ability to understand their emotions as well as others. Traditionally boys are prohibited to do anything that is immensely feminine, such as ballet or dance. Even though these both are advertised primarily for girls, boys are included in these activities. For instance, in the movie called Billy Elliot, there is a boy struggling between his love for dance, and his fathers expectations of him. Billy's father wants him to continue with his boxing classes (though he is poor at it), but he sneaks off to ballet classes, where he feels more comfortable. He wanted Billy to be exactly how the other boys were, strong, aggressive, and assertive. These traits are typically given to boys, which, Billy had not embodied.
For girls, stereotypes still apply, but they are often less enforced. Many girls are able to dress, act, and be who they want to be, but these abilities can come with a price. Some girls are made fun of for being too masculine or, in other words, a “tomboy.” This, like the boys, can create inner tensions that inhibit their personal growth. Girls are also considered to be shy, weak, and submissive. These stereotypes vary from person to person, and do not apply to just one specific gender. Many “gender neutral” activities and clothes are commonly accepted in America. This creates more of an accepting, and open environment for girls while leaving the boys with the troublesome route.
In earlier times, Americans were once dominated by the belief that there was only one sex, the optimum physical form being male....

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