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8 Everyday Things We Unnecessarily Gender

8 Everyday Things We Unnecessarily Gender

8 Everyday Things We Unnecessarily Gender

In recent years, I have become kind of like your eccentric, socially liberal aunt. In college, with the help of wonderfully enlightening women's studies classes and some brilliant socially-aware friends, I began to look at things a bit differently.

Now, post-grad, in the big, scary real world, I've observed something.

Among my monologues about feminism, body autonomy, the importance of consent, or the need to end slut-shaming, there seems to be one idea that people are more unnerved by than the rest: my ideas on gender and gender roles.

In short, I think they're bullshit. Traditional gender roles do nothing but harm, telling men how "manly, masculine, strong, tough, logical, and unfeeling" they need to be while teaching women the importance of being "caring, gentle, nurturing, virginal, pure, and pretty." Blech.

My belief is that gender is a social construct and is not inherent (Thank you, Judith Butler). Therefore, it can be manipulated. It can be fluid. It can mean different things to different people.

It might seem radical to some. After all, rules about gender and gendered behavior have been ingrained in us our whole lives, and changing how we think about gender is not easy. It requires a lot of unlearning. It requires challenging oneself to think about why they believe what they do and to consider where those ideas came from.

My favorite way to start looking at gender more critically is to think about things society genders unnecessarily. Everyday we hear rules about gender and what things are for men and what things are for women, and when you think about it, there are so many things and so many common phrases that give us rules about gender; rules that are, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Let's take a look at some now:

1. Cars

Ever hear someone comment on a vehicle being a "chick car"? What does that even mean? How does one determine that?

2. Movies

There's an entire genre called "chick flicks," but don't try to tell me there aren't a million guys who love The Notebook. The Notebook is glorious. We all love The Notebook.

And what constitutes a chick flick anyway? A love story? High-key lighting and witty, flirtatious banter? Who doesn't love that?

3. Drinks

Recently, I had a male friend comment to me that every time someone he perceived to be a man ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte, he thought we should "revoke their man card immediately."

Dude. What? Why would you ever deliberately deny yourself the deliciousness of a Pumpkin Spice Latte, an Appletini, a Pina Colada, or any other drink you consider "girly"? You can drink all of those and still be a man, bro. I promise.

4. Colors

Men can wear pink. Pink is a color. Like everything else on this list, it's an inanimate thing; it has no gender. 

In fact, there was a time when the traditional pink/girls and blue/boys rule was switched; little boys were put in pink while little girls were dressed in blue. If this doesn't tell us that colors and the rules we apply to them are malleable, I don't know what does.

5. Jobs

Back in the day, in was basically law that women were homemakers, secretaries, nurses, or teachers, while men worked in business or finance, or as doctors, lawyers, writers, scientists, and most other jobs.

By now, we should all know that's crap. People of all genders can do any job.

So can we agree to stop giving men a hard time for being stay-at-home dads or nurses? Can we agree to respect high-powered business women and female scientists?

Someone's choice of career can potentially tell you about their interests or what makes them happy. It can tell you nothing about their gender identity or expression.

6. Music

Men can like Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is a damn delight.

Women can like AC/DC. AC/DC is awesome.

7. TV Shows

I've had male friends intentionally avoid watching Orange is the New Black because it's a show about women. But it's also just a really good show. Why shouldn't it be for everyone?

8. Clothing and Accessories

This is the big one.

To quote Connor Manning, admittedly one of my favorite YouTubers:

"It's not like they have someone standing there saying 'You must be this gender to shop for this clothing.' That's stupid. Also, it's a piece of cloth. It doesn't have a gender."

Amen, Connor.

That's what it comes down to, folks. Wear what you want. Buy what you want. Gender is a social construct.

You do you, boo. 

#BoysInCropTops 2kForever

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Mckenna Ferguson

McKenna is a freelance writer, Netflix addict, and Colorado State University alumna. Her hobbies include sleeping, staying indoors, and crop top advocacy. #CropTopsForAll

McKenna is a freelance writer, Netflix addict, and Colorado State University alumna. Her hobbies include sleeping, staying indoors, and crop top advocacy. #CropTopsForAll