Each one of us has encountered various stereotypes since childhood. It begins with pink is for girls, blue is for boys, and goes up to women work in the kitchen, men work outside. These stereotypes put people in a box and it’s necessary now, more than ever, to break these walls down.
Since time immemorial, gender based stereotypes have occupied primal importance especially when it comes to beauty. Forget putting makeup, taking care of your skin is also considered feminine and ‘girly’. When such hard lines have been drawn, it gets even tougher and important to break through and express yourself irrespective of the sex we were assigned at birth.
Being a ‘beautiful’ female has been resonated with having plump soft skin, a curvaceous hairless body, extensive knowledge of makeup, impractical outfits, wearing heels, and, so on. You must have come across incidents where a guy offered a woman his seat or a brother carried the shopping bags for his sister. When fragility is associated with being female, it becomes problematic. On the other hand, for a male, stereotypes range from having a muscular body, keen attraction towards girls, sports, cars, and bikes to showing no interest in shopping, and wearing the same prototype of an outfit regularly (a.k.a. t-shirt, jeans, and shoes). “Boys don’t cry”, “Man up”-are regular phrases used to motivate a gloomy boy. What becomes more perplexing is when the current generation continues to enforce and internalise these stereotypes.
In order to shatter these stereotypes, we need to be proactive. Firstly, we need to re-educated ourselves and stop associating femininity with girls and masculinity with boys. A person’s sex and their behaviour are independent of each other. For boys who want to try makeup, they can get start with a mascara and a tinted moisturiser, working their way upwards. For girls who are not comfortable with their long hair, can get them cut short, bit by bit. The idea is to embrace our femininity or masculinity in ways that makes us happy and we are comfortable with. While these are baby steps that one can take, they are equally important.
One of the biggest reasons we are afraid to experiment is we are afraid of getting a reaction. What will my friends say? What if they mock me? What will our neighbours think of me? What if someone laughs at me in the metro? These are some usual thoughts that might bother you but that shouldn’t stop you. After all, David Bowie, a gender-bending musician, wouldn’t have been the legend that he is, if he would have been bothered by the opinions of some meddling and annoying aunty in his neighbourhood. Life is short and it’s time you are unapologetically and beautifully you.
Feature Image Credits: Paul Windle