Aug 2018 - Nothing's Binary Part 4: Invisible Gender Stereotyping

from by Kimwei

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TRANSCRIPTION: Invisible Gender Stereotyping

I ask a 13year old “Is there anything that you wouldn’t do because you’re a boy?”
“No,” he answers straightaway “I do anything I want to.” Then, after a pause adds “of course there are some things I wouldn’t want to do, you know, because girls do them, and I might get beat up.”

What struck me then is that he couldn’t tell the difference between not wanting to do something, and not wanting the reaction from his peers.

If the consequences of rebelling against gender stereotypes are serious, how can we tell the difference between not wanting to do something, and not wanting to be seen to step outside of our assigned box?

How many decisions do we make every day on this basis?

Inclusion is important, as humans are social creatures, and when we rebel we threaten our inclusion in our community. In a world where gender frames are narrow, and strictly enforced, the only boys who may, take up embroidery, for example, would be those who’s desire to embroider, was stronger than their desire not to get beaten up.

This is one of many invisible gender issues, that slip under the radar, and for which we can all in small ways be activists; watching our little decisions to wear makeup to the gym or knit in the pub, ripple through our community, making waves.

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from Pause For Thought: BBC Radio Devon, released January 30, 2017

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