Who Needs Gender Roles When We Can Have Pizza Rolls
Cultural pressures and societal expectations takes the human body and turns it into a commodity. People are expected to adhere to these rules or else they are othered. They are seen as a deviant and are made fun of in every aspect of their life just for doing something differently. People are assigned a sex at birth and that is what society tells them they are. When people are old enough to form their own thoughts they then know their gender. They know what they truly are. The human body is something that is so intimate and personal and yet society has branded it as its own.
The difference between sex and gender is what is assigned to you and how you think of yourself. Sex is something that is assigned to you at the time of your birth. It is determined by your genitalia and has nothing to do with how you think of yourself. It is purely your anatomy. You have no say in the matter and it is something that will stay with you until you legally change it for the rest of your life.
Gender is something that you assign yourself. This is something that you think and feel. It has nothing to do with your anatomy or genitalia. There is not just the assumed “male” and “female.” People can consider themselves either of those two things, neither of those two things, or both of those two things. Some people are genderfluid, something that flows between male and female. Some people do not believe in the gender binary and see themselves as neither male nor female because they do not believe that exists.
If your gender matches up with what you were assigned at birth, that means you are “cisgender.” If you identify as something other than what you were assigned at birth, you may be “transgender.” People’s personal pronouns range from “he/his,” “she/her,” to “they/them,” “ze/zer,” and otherwise. No one can know your pronouns unless you tell them. No one should assume your pronouns.
Gender is not something that can be seen with the eye. People have to be told what gender you see yourself as. No one should assign someone a gender when they see or meet them. Gender is something that is very personal and should not have to be explained. People should take it for what it is and move on. It should never be assumed. Asking for someone’s pronouns is not something that is rude; it is something that is considerate.
Cultural pressures and societal norms control the body at all times. People are expected to fit into the gender binary and not stray from it. Women are supposed to be small and take up no space. They are expected to be curvy, but not too curvy. They are expected to have a big butt and big boobs, but not too big. Women are supposed to have full lips and long hair. They are supposed to wear heels and dresses. Their make up is supposed to look natural, but they need to have lipstick, foundation, contour, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, and fill in their eyebrows. Men are supposed to have broad shoulders and thick arms. They are supposed to have a six pack stomach. They need to have a chiseled jaw line and thick, but not too thick eyebrows. They are expected to be tall and take up a lot of room. They need to wear slacks and button up shirts and always look presentable.
If anyone goes against these societal norms they are seen as deviant. They are not right. They are made fun of, ridiculed, and mocked. They are “othered.” If women cut their hair short or do not wear make up they are made fun of. They are expected to tailor to the male gaze. However, if they do adhere to these cultural pressures, they are then catcalled and ridiculed in other ways. Women have more leeway with the clothing in that they can wear pants and shorts. Men have no leeway with wearing skirts or dresses. In society’s eyes they are simply just not allowed to. That would be completely unheard of and would go against everything that society has worked toward.
Marketing is made up of societal pressures and expectations and cultural norms. Everything is tailored to that one specific ideal. This is how big corporations make money. People want to stick so strictly to these norms that they are willing to do and buy whatever it takes to adhere to them. Women’s pockets are purposefully made too small to hold anything so that they will have to buy big fancy purses to carry anything in. This is a way that society pressures people into buying.
The biggest way that someone can go against these expectations is very simple. All someone has to do is love themselves shamelessly for who they are. If someone can do that, then they have won. They do not have to play any sort of game to try to look good in someone else’s or society’s eyes. They can do whatever they want and they can be whomever they want. If they want to follow some or even all of these expectations, that is fine, but they are doing it for themselves and that makes all the difference.
Women are made fun of if they wear make up because they are tailoring themselves to the male gaze. Women are made fun of if they do not wear make up because they are not tailoring themselves to the male gaze and are seen as ugly. However, if a woman wants to wear make up for herself, she should. If she does not want to wear make up for herself, she should not. No one should change themselves just to please someone else. The only person you have to please is you.
You are powerful when you love yourself. There is no greater weapon against anything. Even if someone says something to you that hurts, you know that hurt will pass. You know that you are greater than whatever that person is telling you. You know that you can rise above it. There is no one you have to please but yourself. When you love yourself you are telling society and everyone who believes in society’s expectations and cultural pressures that you know better. You know better than to fall into their tricks and you are onto them. You see what game they are playing and you will show everyone that you are better than that.
The relationship of the body to culture is such a huge one. The body is something that everyone can see instantly. It is not something that you slowly learn over time. People’s reactions are instantaneous and very judgmental. Society has ingrained their expectations into us so securely that it is almost ingrained into us what to think. When we make our first snap judgment that is what society expects of us. Our second thought is what we actually think or feel. Culture expects so much out of people’s bodies that it is almost laughable. The body is something that is so personal and yet society expects us to change to their every whim.
I am personally a bigger woman. I have been my entire life. Society dictates that because I am bigger I do not care for myself properly. They are concerned with my “health” without knowing what I do. Thinner women who do not eat healthy or exercise do not face this same judgment so it clearly has nothing to do with actual “health” only perceived societal expectations of what a woman’s body should look like.
When I was younger I was involved with many sports. I played on two different softball teams and was on the swim team at the same time. I was also involved with marching band. These activities took up a lot of my time and were very physical. Even during these times I was still not “thin.” My pediatrician explicitly told me that I would never be a thin woman. I am “big boned,” whatever that means. Since high school my activities have become few and far between. While I am about the same size that I was, I definitely have gained a little weight.
I eat relatively healthy, and while I know I do not exercise as much as I should I do get a good amount of time in. While I do think about how I could do better for myself I do not think I should change my habits for anyone but myself. I do not want to change my routine because society says I should. I know that I am fat, while it may not be okay in my eyes it is not because of the culture and society that I was raised in. It is because of my personal insecurities.
My outward indifference to my body really surprises people. While I do not strive to talk about it, I do not strive not to talk about it. I know that I am a fat woman and while I do not exactly take pride in it, I know that this is who I am. I do not want to change who I am because society tells me to. I know that when I have time to sort things out I will do so, but it will be because I want to, not anyone else. I take pride knowing that while I may not love myself unconditionally, I will not bend to what society expects from me.
I do not wear much make up. I do not straighten my hair every day, so it is always a little frizzy. I do not do anything to my eyebrows. I do not dress fancily for anyone unless I want to look good for myself. When I want to take extra time to look good for myself I will. However, I do not feel that I need to take extra time out of my busy day to change something about myself that I will not see until I pass a mirror in the bathroom for ten seconds. It does not make sense to me.
Gender is something that is entirely your own and society has no say over. This is probably why people have such an issue with people who do not adhere to their assigned sex. If someone is not cisgender they are breaking the cultural norms and expectations therefore becoming a deviant. They are looked down upon and ridiculed because they chose to not follow what is expected of them. Society brands human bodies as their own. They tell people what to do and think is right for them without abandon. The way people can become powerful is by loving themselves shamelessly. If someone can love themselves without reservation they take away society’s hold on them. They no longer have that constricting pressure to be something that they are not.