Thoughts On Gender Stereotypes

This post may turn into a long rant but who cares. A few days ago, my twin sister Nicole experienced some stereotypical language on Twitter via Direct Message with Bayern Munich fan (also her favourite football team) which really annoyed me. She isn't your typical girlie girl, short pixie styled hair , she'd much rather wear a comfy pair of jeans and a football shirt/a dark plaid shirt. I guess you could say she's a tomboy and she's happy with that, she's comfortable but seeing what some people say about her on social media is uncalled for and this isn't the first time she's had people asking her 'are you a boy or a girl' 

Even at school by numerous of people she was occasionally mistaken for a boy which when you're young it's very insulting but even worse when it's a teacher. She was in music lesson and the seating plan was Boy. Girl, Boy. Girl. So she sat down next to a boy and immediately the teacher said as the class a little quiet 'you're not suppose to sit there, it's meant to be boy, girl, boy, girl' And at this point my sister had short pixie styled hair and she liked it, it was very Nicole. Even at a young age, she was the kind of girl that would play a little rough and play a game of football (she was good at football, we thought she'd join an all girls football team), she always had a football with her hand. And because of that experience, she grew out her hair just so she wouldn't get teased and don't get me wrong she looked lovely in a short bob but she just wasn't quite Nicole.

I guess you could say it still annoys me today with any kind of stereotypical language, why should we immediately label someone, why do we judge people based on their appearance - that's society for you. Needing to fit the so called 'societies norm' 
"We're all different in terms of what we wear, often a reflection of our personalities and a peek into our inner beings,"
my twin sister Nicole over the years. 

Fast forward 6 years, both finished high school. Nicole decided that she's had enough of people telling her what to look like so she asked our aunt (who's also our hairdresser) to cut it short again. She got to the point where she decided she was happy having short hair, wearing 'masuline' clothes, she was Nicole. I didn't see her as anything different, just Nicole as a young woman - she was comfortable wearing hoodies, football shirts, jeans and converse. I was just happy to see her happy in her own skin despite people saying she looks like a bloke but who cares. Nicole was just Nicole, her unique tomboyish self. Raving about how great Bayern Munich are. That's what being yourself means doesn't it? Being comfortable in your own skin, wearing what you want and expressing yourself how ever you please.

Stereotypically you could say me and Nicole are different although that is true, we are different in many ways but occasionally two peas in a pod. As twins we're immediately stereotyped the same, well you couldn't be anymore wrong. Nicole is practical where I'm creative (Nicole's words not mine) I'm the girlie girl that likes wearing makeup etc and Nicole doesn't like makeup and wears 'masculine clothing.' Are gender roles that important? Because every girl and boy is different, Boys can play with dolls, wear dresses and play around with makeup. Girls can like football and be as passionate about it just like everyone else, they can like cars and play video games. 

One thing that doesn't sit well with me is things being labelled as 'girls or boys' clothes, colouring books, toys, young children shouldn't feel inadequate, Everyone should be able to express themselves in any way they choose without the unnecessary labelling, personally i don't see anything such as masculinity or femininity. Everyone is equal to others, who deserve the same rights as others. 
And the recent Smyths advertisement breaks those stereotypes showing no matter if you're a boy or a girl toys are for everyone, showing young children (and parents) that gender stereotypes are unnecessary. Kids, young adults and many others should feel comfortable in expressing themselves in anyway they choose whether that's by clothing, makeup or toys - we all deserve to embrace the things that make us different without society having a say. I don't care what they do, who they are as long as they are happy and that's something i will teach my future children, There is nothing better than seeing someone with joy in their eyes, doing what they love, wearing what they like and just expressing themselves.

Every single one of us should support gender equality, we all deserve the same rights across all sectors of society. Children shouldn't have to witness inequality, being told how they express themselves is wrong, what kind of career they should have, who they should be. I feel gender equality requires tackling stereotypes and that begins
with examining your own views about masculinity and femininity and become aware of how gender stereotyping affects men, women and children in every sphere of life. Women can be strong. Men are allowed to cry and children should be free to be whoever they choose to be.

Lets inspire every young girl and boy, man and women to be the next mountain climber, dancer, scientist, doctor, journalist, teacher and let them be in charge of who they view themselves without the stereotypes. Lets challenge gender stereotypes! Let them be who they choose to be, let them be uniquely themselves because when you see the pure joy in someones smile, that's when the magic happens. When they are unapologetically themselves

What are your thoughts on Gender Stereotypes?

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