Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

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Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

Kiarah Bates, Editor

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Last summer, my mom took me to Barnes and Noble, where I spent most of my time looking through every section, but couldn’t find anything. Though at some point, my eyes landed on these two books, one titled “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” and the other, “The Daring Book for Girls.” 

Oh Boy. 

    We’ve been invaded with stereotypes associated with boys and girls, from the blue and pink sections of Walmart to the advertisements we’ve seen as children. Over time, each generation has formed their idea of what makes the perfect boy and girl, but have the expectations for kids to follow gotten worse or better? 

 Feminism 

Feminism: The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, now that on-look pretty logical, but it depends on which person you hear it from. When the word is brought up, you might think of women’s rights.  The original definition,The advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.” (Forbes.com)  See, the keyword is equality, feminism trying to fight for everyone, so we can be seen for who we strive to be and not a stereotype we were born into. “I feel like its an important thing to support and that it needs more coverage,” said sophomore Chole Potter. “The media puts it in light of always being a radical thing when it’s not a common thing to happen.” 

 

 Gender Stereotypes 

“Gender roles in society is how we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex” (planned parenthood). They can shape someone’s personality traits, sedentary behaviors, occupations, and physical appearance.  Each community has its expectations pushed on gender. One of the oldest gender stereotypes is that women should be in the kitchen, and men should be in the yard.

This stereotype has been floating around for centuries, though in the 1920s and after World War Two, the stereotype became more prominent. However, over time, the stereotype has slowly disappeared and has been challenged by younger generations. “I don’t like being outside, so, in my life, I’m not out in the yard because I don’t like the sun,” stated staff member Molly Gimber. “Um, but, as like as a role not, people should do whatever they want to do, so long as it’s not hurting anybody else.” Mrs. Gimber is the second head leader of P.E.A.R.L.S, which helps enhance and develop female students by creating a culture that fosters collaborations, confidence, and character. “If a woman wants to be outside and a man wants to be inside, or both, or neither, then they should do that.”

I have to agree with Mrs. Gimber on this one:  no one should be forced into a job or even lifestyle that they didn’t strive towards, along with working outside, that’s torture. I don’t know how I would feel if the gender I was born determined what my future would be. I grew around my brother and three male cousins, so you’d usually find me outside, holes in my pants, and slathered in the dirt. It drove my nana crazy, but I think that’s just because I put holes in every single pair of pants I owned. I hated dresses with a passion, but my grandma always made me wear them to church, and it sucked. Wearing pants and shorts were my preferred dress, though I also did dress up as princesses for most of my childhood. My mom called me an “All-Around Girl: the girl who enjoyed the casual tea party but would ride a tricycle down a hill if she could.” I stayed like that for a while, but when I got older, my mom decided it was time for me to start acting a little more proper. However, I wasn’t fond of the rules society had placed on me. 

 

Clothes & Emotions 

Emotions are something everybody deals with, from anger to happiness we all express ourselves in some way. Though, some of those expressions are not as acceptable as others depending on your gender. Think about the times you’ve seen a guy cry in front of you, or vent his anger and how he feels; then think about the times you’ve seen a girl do the same. As I said before, I have a brother, and luckily he feels comfortable telling my family how he feels. However, not a lot of people are accepting of him showing his emotions. I couldn’t tell you how many times someone has told him to “man up” or “stop being sensitive.” I hate the fact that guys are labeled “sissies” or “punks” when they try to express themselves, then people act surprised when they get into fights or act out.

“For certain things, like feeling emotions or elaborating how you feel more in-depth it’s more silenced towards men because in the public eye they’re more masculine, they know what’s going on, they need to be in charge and lead the group,” stated sophomore Leanna Szwydek. “When in reality, I feel like everyone should be allowed to express their emotions.” 

   Along with emotions, clothing is an ongoing debate, as well. Women in the past fought for their rights to do and wear whatever they wanted. Though, today, I don’t think women in pants are the problem. I had a conversation with a student where he stated that guys who wore crop tops were gay. I brought up the fact that football players wear them, and he said, “that’s different.” My problem with this is if I can wear pants and suits, without much controversy, wear crop tops and dresses without push-back.

“Yes, I believe, so then again, you have to look out for what is traditional pants, dresses, slacks, and skirts,” stated Gimber.  “Or are we talking about period traditional,” said Mrs. Gimber. “I think the bodies are different. However, I don’t see how, if a person is wearing a certain type of clothing (whether its traditional male or female), how that should affect anybody else,” stated Gimber. If the person’s clothing is not affecting you or being offensive, there is no reason for you to put that person in a box. “So long as that person is respectful or hygienic, I don’t see a problem with it.” 

 

In the end, I think that most gender stereotypes have faded, or at last, they have certainly improved. We have women running the government, stay at home dads, and the wage gap is coming to a close. Though I think we still have a long way to go, and there are still issues that need to be crushed. “I think body type, like most of all women, are expected to be curvy and stuff, and men are expected to be big and muscular,” stated sophomore Jolie Wright. “I just disagree with the fact that there is a certain body type that fits a certain gender, so I like to showcase all body types.” Wright did a piece on gender stereotypes for forensics. I think the world should focus on creating decent human beings instead of boxing people into stereotypes, limiting their potential.