GENDER

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Even before we are born every human being is given a color: pink or blue. Whether you are  in France, or Nigeria, or the Arctic tundra or on the other side of the planet from where you live, these colors represents who you are. Some people also have a gender assigned at birth: male or female. Gender is not simply a social position and as such it does not always make sense to still use labels like « man » and « woman ». In fact there are many debates about how gender should be classified in our current society. 

To define gender we have to ask ourselves a few questions. What makes us a man or woman? Have gender roles changed over time ? How and why are we categorized as men, women, and everything in between? Are there different ways of being either a man or a woman? These are questions that come up again and again when you talk about issues regarding gender.

What about a third gender ? Known as neutral, neither a male nore a female. They are human beings born with genitals and/or reproductive organs that are neither clearly male nor female. People who identify as neither a man or woman, either as an indicator of their sexuality or gender identity. But where do they belong?

Germany, Australia or India are some of the countries who officially and administratively recognize the 3rd sex. When turning legal majority they have the choice to choose between male, female or stay the way they are. This 3rd gender or non-binary gender has nothing to do with the transgender nor the transexual. To be clear, they are people born with a physical anomarly. Where as trangender and transexual are people who feel the gender they were born with is not the right one for them and are taking medication for their transition or surgeries to change their physical appearance. But not all countries recognize a third gender.

Are they happy with this status?

Yes and no. It depends on the individual how they adjust in society and to what degree.. It’s hard to say if this third gender would prefer there place in society, but they are doing it just fine.

I’m not writing an article about all the fuss around  genders here. Since we are define by our appearance in this world I just wanted to make a reminder that parents started to wear trousers to their boys to identify them as boys in the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, babies and toddlers were asexual beings, and were not aware of their differences until they were old enough to begin to understand them.

Started a period when men left the countryside to the cities to work and women were agitating for political rights. Women became louder, so men fought back. The result was a crisis of masculinity. What define manhood in this new urban society ? And how could parents make sure their sons grew up to be acceptably masculine ?  So the response was to make babies’ gender obvious from the earlier age and babie boys started to dress like little men. In the early 1950s pink was associated with baby girls and blue with baby boys. We can see the role of commercialism in 1980 when children clothes and furnitures became genders with prints featuring pincesses or cars, little hearts or football. It became obvious that marketing played a huge role in gendering the lives of childen – even nowadays. Just think about it, gender neutral clothing and accessories could be given to all babies within the same family. Having gender specifics, all parents feel obligated to buy twice as many. They double their sale !

If we look closely back in time, gender was not define by a color or cloth.

Louis Napoléon Bonaparte
Frankain Delano Roosevelt 1884

Remind ourselves that the rigid distinction between little boys and little gilrs is relatively new and the norms are constantly changing, evolving and that there in no one right way to raise children when it comes to gender and there is no historical evidence that forcing them to adhere to a norm is beneficial.

Let’s not forget that the movers (male and female) from Europe, America, Canada for centuries were all raised in dresses !

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