November 13, 2010

Gender Stereotypes: Isn’t it getting old?

The other day, I was going to a classmate’s engagement party, and I was unfortunately forced to hitch a ride from this moron guy who I really really hate. I hated him already, but this particular ride made me loath him. I’m right in the car, and this guy was talking about how he hates this other girl from class only because she speaks her mind in front of guys.

Which century do we live in? Does a girl really have to conform to gender stereotypes in this day and age? If a girl is not docile and soft-spoken, then she’s not a girl. There are plenty of things I do that I supposedly shouldn’t be.

  • I’m loud. I can’t be soft-spoken. I’ll say what I want, when I want. And I never back down from a fight.
  • When I’m pissed, I’ll either punch you in the guts, or kick you in the shin. I don’t do slaps.
  • I hate wearing heels. My converse are my best friend.
  • I can’t stand girl bands, or boy bands, or pop, or any of that crap. I love my alternate music.
  • I played rugby in school. I’m not scared of getting dirty.
  • I’m not a big fan of pink.
  • I loathe cooking.
  • I prefer men’s colognes.
  • My only friends are guys.
  • I’m a car-freak. Love them all (mostly)

There are many other things. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my girly moments. This is, after all, a beauty blog, and its proof of that. But I should have the liberty to be the way I am, however I maybe.

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been told, “Don’t sit with your legs far apart.”, or “Don’t laugh so loudly”, or “Don’t beat up guys” (The last one was only once, and was from a lecturer in college. In my defense, the guy totally deserved it :P). The point is, why is there this pressure to be conform to these gender stereotypes? It’s not just for us girls. Even guys feel the pressure. I have a perfectly heterosexual male friend, who gets a manicure once a month. He gets so much crap for it, its pissing off. Why doesn’t a guy have the liberty to look well groomed? Is it reserved for girls? I personally love guys with clean nails.

I remember, a few years back, a friend of mine took our whole gang to this restaurant for a buffet on his birthday. Now, I’m a healthy eater. I took 3 full plate helpings, and I’m not ashamed of  it. But then the girls in the gang were giving me weird looks and one of them even told me that I’m not very lady-like. A guy can eat like a bloody animal, if he wants to, but if a girl eats more than a salad, it’s a crime.

I have nothing against  the girly-girls or the so called Ubersexuals. What I have a problem with is these gender stereotypes, which are frankly insulting. Every person is different and unique in their own way. Why is there such a need to classify human beings in pre-defined categories? Its about time people came out of their comfort zones and realized that different is good, even interesting.

We might have become more modern in our lifestyles, but most people, even today, stick to their archaic beliefs and think that they’re perfectly right. We, as a society, will never evolve, till we learn to change our mindsets, and accept the change that’s beckoning us.

Okay, i’m done with my rant. Have a lovely weekend, all you guys.

11 comments:

swayambhu said...

Well, I know plenty of girls who'll agree with you on that ten point list of yours...and I really don't think that a girl can't / shouldn't do any of the things mentioned above. In fact, I think its stupid expecting any girl to refrain from doing any of the above, just because she's a girl.

Let me share an anecdote with you....my closest friend (blogs at http://debosmita.wordpress.com and is an amazing writer...check out her blog) out-hogs me every time we go for lunch/dinner together (she thinks I'm of no use at a lunch buffet, am so bad at hogging!!) Once she'd invited me to her place for dinner and as usual, I wasn't having half as much food as she was, despite her, and her mom's best efforts. She was so exasperated with the whole business that she finally burst out: "meyeder moto khash na to" (translation: don't eat like a girl!). And this came from a girl who never cares much for gender stereotypes herself. I still find that incident quite funny...the best part of the story (for me) is that she's stopped having a go at my food habits...think she's given up on me :-)

Oh, and I once did a tag post on gender stereotypes at my blog (http://swayambhumukherjee.blogspot.com/2010/07/gender-stereotypes-and-me-of-all-people.html) Why don't you take it up too? I was tagged by Tejaswee Rao, a fellow blogger who unfortunately is no more....the tag was started by her mum n her blog. Please do acknowledge them both too, if you take it up.

Cheers, and have a great weekend!!

P.S. I think both guys and girls shouldn't sit with their legs far apart or laugh too loudly in a formal setting....not a very nice or polite thing to do I guess. When with friends, one shouldn't give a damn, though!

P.P.S Sorry for deleting my earlier comments. And I just realised that this one's a rather lenghty comment...will be more careful in future, for sure!

ladylavendersays said...

I used to read Tejaswee's blog. And I did read about her death in her mother's blog. It was very tragic.

I don't see the logic in doing the tag, just to repeat the same points. I'll just update this post, and acknowledge them in it.

I don't talk loudly in a formal setting. It's mostly just with friends. And its my own friends who tell me not to do it.

I have a tendency for long comments too. So, all's forgiven.

Poohkie said...

This is a good, thought provoking post. I completely understand how angry you must feel. I think most of us encounter people like that.
Most people would call me a 'girly girl', but that doesn't define who I am. Unfortunately most people, even my close friends often look at me in that one dimensional manner. It totally pisses me off & makes my blood boil. What's even worse is when other women too hold on to antiquated gender stereotypes.

ladylavendersays said...

I know. My whole problem is with this classification. I just wish they'd stop doing that and appreciate that everyone is different.

bollywoodstylediaries said...

I so agree with you but it will be along time before this gender stereotyping goes away. Just dont let them get to you:-)

ladylavendersays said...

yea.. its going to be a long long time. But i guess you learn to live with it, even if makes your blood boil.

Pooja Menon said...

Lol.. I really liked this post.. Moreso, coz I could relate to it so well.. Even I've been told like umpteen times to not sit with my legs apart.. Feels cool to have found someone who feels the same.. :)

Saurabh said...

I reached your blog because I had commented on other Pooja Menon's blog. And somehow the follow up comment reached my blog. For 5 minutes I couldn't understand what was happening, cos I had ordered 3 books on flipkart the same day. Life can be hilarious.

And on the content of your entry, I will re-iterate that we need more girls like you who are thoroughly out going. In fact girls like you (now I am stereotyping you) are such a change. May be its just due to the fact that you are a Punjabi who are known to be aggressive!

But please do not wish for end of gender stereotypes. The love of ladies for pink and crossing of their legs when sitting, being docile being soft is a treasure which I do not want me or generations to be robbed off.

ladylavendersays said...

@Pooja Menon.. Thanks.. It's good to know I'm not the only one either..

ladylavendersays said...

@Saurabh.. Thanks for visiting my blog.. I don't have a lot of male visitors here.. and it's nice to see one every now and then.

I found your comment quite contradictory. You said you need girls like me and then went on to say how girls unlike me were such treasures.

I'm not taking offense. I'm just saying. And I"m not a Punjabi.. I'm 100% malayali. Not a drop of blood in me that's not mallu.

Saurabh said...

He he. Sorry for my lack of awareness of Indian Surnames. For some reason I thought "Menons" are Punjabi. Lets rest casteism and regionalism their.

Yes I deliberately made the contradiction. While we need girls like you who we can loosely qualify as "tomboys", "galpals", etc. tender girls and their tantrums should not end. You can think of it as a masculine desire to get them all.

About male visits: fter reading this one, I was excited to read some more, but then I saw too many entries on makeups, lip gloss etc. which can't hold my attention for long. I wished you had something about your other passion ie. computer programming because that is one thing I have deep interests for long.

I have varied interests and these days I am fixated on policy, politics, law making in India and the societal divides in India. Little serious stuff which I think boys and girls of my and your age (assuming 22 from your description) should take more interest in. The stuff is a little pain to read so do not flame me if you do read.

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