After watching Paris is Burning in this class, I was able to take on a new perspective about gender roles and how they plan out in each individual’s life. Rachael brought up something I have never thought about before, the overlooked ridiculousness of gender themes parties. We all have seen one of these gender reveal videos on Facebook that is adorable, but reduces the babies entire identity down to a single color (blue or pink, shocker). This made me think more about the roles gender plays in my own life and how it shouldn’t be accepted to reduce my identity down to just my gender from birth. This idea reminded me of a video from BuzzFeed that I watched last semester. This video was titled Childhood Gender Roles in Adult Life. Simply from the title it is obvious what this video consisted of, a lot of pink, blue, and stereotypical “boy/girl” things. Essentially this videos purpose was to make fun of the gender norms we place on children (who have had no say in this identity given to them) and how it would be considered ridiculous as adults. I have always admired BuzzFeed as a company because I believe they do a good job at creating quality content, while putting different (sometimes controversial) ideas into perspective. There is a market designed specifically “for women” or “for men” products on things like pens and tape that have no gender specific role what-so-ever. While, this video isn’t necessarily directing any change for companies or people, it is a (small) step in the right direction to start the topic of not assigning specific gender roles to children. I highly recommend checking out this video and others like it that BuzzFeed has to offer that can give perspective on important topics.
Today in class, we talked in depth about some of the key ideas in queer theory and one of those key ideas revolved around the enforcement of normativity using the binary. Not too long ago Target decided to remove gendered toy aisles, this caused quite a bit of controversy within several public spheres. Gendered toys would remain, however the aisles separating “boy” toys and “girl’ toys would be combined and less binary. This made me reflect on why as a culture we find even the slightest blurring of gender as a threat. Something as simple as removing gendered colors from a children’s toy aisle led to threats of boycotts and vitriolic language being hurled at target customer service representatives.
Even though adults meet the blurring of the gender binary with much resistance, children are much less strict about the policing of gender. Recently a school in Australia allowed for their students to dress however they like within the appropriate parameters of the uniform code. Meaning, males can wear what they see fit out of the options of pants or a skirt and females are also given that choice. The students embraced this wholeheartedly and seemingly quite joyously. You see this same growth of eschewing fashion norms among young artists (Young Thug, Janelle Monae) and athletes (Cam Newton). For me this serves as an indicator that gender norms and the enforcement of them through the binary is becoming, in some instances, a little less strict.