As I sit here scrolling through my Facebook feed, I encounter some of the most intriguing—and argument-stimulating—posts. What I’m noticing about a majority of these posts and shares is that they boil down to one thing: gender stereotypes.
For example, as I type this, there are two pictures that sit side-by-side before me; one reads, “Real men still do this,” with a picture of a man holding a door open, and the other, “Real women still do this,” with a picture of a woman cooking in the kitchen. While there’s nothing wrong with men who hold doors open or women who cook, there is something troubling about labeling it so that only the real people of a certain gender do certain things.
We’re putting out these past-time stereotypes and circulating them throughout the internet for our youth to see; our future generations will work even more than we already do to break down these stereotypes, yet here some of us are trying to hold them back.
Let’s face it, we’re in a new age. We have stay-at-home dads, women who are sole providers for their families, and more. Men can live in what society has deemed the woman’s role and still be a person, a real person and vice versa. Your actions don’t make you any more or less of a man or woman.
Another picture I scroll past is one that lists all the roles a woman should play in a relationship, and they basically boil down to a woman waiting on a man hand and foot. You can be a woman who waits on her significant other hand and foot, but—for the sake of future generations—let’s take away the stigma that playing that role is the only way to be a real woman.
Rather than focusing on becoming society’s definition of a real man or woman, perhaps we should put more of a focus on being a good person. Whether or not a person waits hand and foot on their significant other shouldn’t determine whether or not they are better than the next person. How they treat others, regardless of gender, should be of more value when learning about another person. And by this I don’t mean we should bombard our Facebook feeds with pictures and posts of “You’re only a good person if…” because there are a million ways to be a good person, just as there are limitless ways to be your gender.
Our genders don’t define what we’re capable of. We’re humans—we have brains, hands, feet, muscle—and we’re more than capable of doing other than what society deems is our role. Let’s stop spreading the message that we’re only capable of what real men and women are capable of. We’re all real, and our genders don’t define that realness.
Next time you scroll by a gender-stereotyped post, do society a favor and stop the spread of this madness. Don’t feed in to societal expectations of what is expected of our genders. Instead, play the role you want to play, regardless of your gender.