As loud as a newborn baby’s cry, our gender screams, “Name me!” Our society is so defined by gender, that we must gender-ize everything. Every single thing that we do, wear, and own has been given a pre-determined, societal driven gender stereotype.

Let’s all consider the fact that when you enter or leave a store someone is going to call you ma’am or sir at least once. While checking out, you may receive something such as, “Thanks ladies.” The cashier, floor workers, and other shoppers have all assumed you a gender in their five minutes of meeting you.

Colors often set a tone for gender, as we’re told from the beginning of our lives that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. The same sets in as we wrap our newborn babies in gender defining blankets of blue and pink. Occasionally, you’ll find a gender-neutral baby blanketed in yellow or green, yet the first thing someone says in that instance is, “aww, how cute. Is it a boy or a girl?” Why is everyone so fixated on knowing what is below everyone else’s belts?

From the hobbies we choose to the types of vehicles we drive, they’ve all been given a gender. For example, societal thinking is if you like to work on cars, you must be masculine. If you like to cook or sew, you must be feminine. If you’re into watching sports, you’re definitely male and if it’s gardening or baking that you’re into, you have to be female. If you drive a truck, that slaps masculinity right on your back, but anybody can drive a car.

Career choices also affect the way people judge your gender. This aspect is opening up a bit more, where you see more male nurses and more female construction workers, however there is still that gender-based stereotype behind everything we do.

The two things I can’t quite grasp the gender labels on are socks and bicycles. I cannot possibly imagine why we have socks packaged separately for men and women, boys and girls. Socks are for feet, all of which have ten toes. I can understand sizing differences, but gender, I just don’t get. I feel the same about bicycles. How is the position of one simple bar gender defining? If you look at men and women’s bikes, they’re exactly the same, minus that one bar. Again, sizing makes perfect sense, but gender still doesn’t fit a bicycle.

One of my least favorite gender-named areas: A PUBLIC RESTROOM. You’ve got to be kidding me! We seriously still have this separated? I thought this debate was going to end in favor of uni-sexed bathrooms. It’s a nightmare trying to go anywhere, while hoping I don’t have “to go.” I stand there between the two doors, trying to figure out which one is the best choice for today. I know deep inside myself that neither choice is right, yet I have to make a quick decision. Typically, no matter what choice I make, I’m going to get a confused, intimidated look from one random stranger or another.

Clothing departments are pretty comparable to bathroom experiences. I get the look, which translates to me that I am too masculine to be female and too feminine to be male. I am going to assume that it is our society’s influence on me as I find myself playing this gender tug-of-war game. I often find myself trying anything to fit into one gender confine or another. I, too, have fallen prey to this whole, “battle of the sexes” charade. I think, “well you do this like a girl and that like a boy.” I try to name myself a butch lesbian, but then argue that I’m too masculine for the term, “lesbian” because it re-iterates gender. I worry that if I were to transition to a male gender, I would then be mistaken for a gay man. It’s frustrating to not fit into either category because our society has put a gender on everything. However, I feel it’s only right to be who you are and for me, that’s somewhere in the middle. We don’t have to be afraid to step outside of the box.

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