Friday, August 8, 2014

Stop gender policing.

Recently I saw this excellent video advocating a very good message "STOP GENDER POLICING". The video is very well made which illustrates their point by using very relevant example from a blockbuster Hindi Movie "Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai", where a girl is taunted initially for not being girly enough because of her dress and behavior. Slowly she realizes her mistake and starts behaving according to her gender (??), then hero of movie falls in love with her and the fairy tale begins. These type of movies cater what audience love to watch. Audience loved this movie also and it became a blockbuster, this is just one example and there are many movies which portray similar scenarios. Actually I don't expect these main stream (or even off stream) movies to bring any social change in society but these movies and their popularity also shows the current mindset of our society. They reflect the values and culture which we practice as a society, criticizing girls for not being girly enough or rewarding them when they change their not so girly mannerisms to so called girly ones was and still is very normal practice. It seems there are very rigid rules in people's (and hence in society's) mind about how people from particular gender should behave, what they should like and dislike. People still comment about what type of jobs girls should do or shouldn't do, how a man should behave in manly manure. These things are still going on in our society that is why such videos, blog posts and seminars are necessary to spread awareness about gender policing.

Stereotyping anything is bad, and stereotype genders is worst. There can be various reasons for stereotyping anything but they cannot justify it. There is urgent need to change or modify definitions of masculinity of femininity. It is very wrong to associate these qualities only with particular gender. People associate these characteristics so much with one particular gender that it is considered as abnormal, bad or weird for other gender to possess that quality. Girls not wearing so called feminine dresses or boys who don't like sports or who like to play with dolls are considered as abnormal just because their likes and dislikes don't match with the likes and dislikes which society normally associated with their gender. This is wrong and totally unfair to these kids who are perfectly normal but are forced to change their ways just because it doesn't fit into stereotype of their gender. We see this happening around us all the time where girls are told not be be bossy, boys are told not to play with dolls but play soccer or play with action figures. People do it without even knowing that they are forcing gender stereotype on their kids. They insist on gender specific behavior because they think this the right way, they are trained to believe that specific gender should only behave in specific way.

Gender policing is so widespread and common that even many parents do it by thinking that they are doing great favor. They believe that it is their duty to make their kids realize how they should behave according to their gender. They try to educate their kids about what should be their likes and dislikes based on their gender. This stereotyped mindset is passed from generations to generations, any person who doesn't fit into these patterns is forced to mend his or her ways to fit into it or is labeled as weird or abnormal. Many people's life gets ruined by such environment because they start thinking that something is wrong with them. People around make them feel guilty for being the way they are, this is not a good situation for any healthy and progressive society. People should feel comfortable to express themselves without feeling fear of being ridiculed, any society or culture which doesn't encourage it needs to evolve. This evolution is required for almost every culture and society, it is good to see that many people are working towards spreading awareness about these things and this video is very good example of this attempt. I hope that people realize that knowingly or unknowingly they are doing 'gender policing' in the name of culture, religion or traditions and they should stop this. Likes, dislikes or hobbies don't depend on gender they differ from person to person. Forcing kids to mend their ways just because they don't fit into our definition of normal can have disastrous effect of their personalities. It can shatter their self confidence and self esteem. Let's pledge to fight against any type of gender policing, this will be one positive step towards making our society more inclusive, tolerant and progressive. Let's not associate any gender with hobbies or personality traits, the day we understand this gender policing will automatically disappear. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. http://www.storypick.com/rape-always-sex-video-will-change-way-look-rapes-forever/

2 comments:

  1. BOLLYWOOD

    [[Actually I don't expect these main stream (or even off stream) movies to bring any social change in society but these movies and their popularity also shows the current mindset of our society.]]
    That’s right bury your head in the sand.
    These movies have been changing society, religion, thoughts, action, deeds, culture, speech, behaviour good and bad actions for generations etc etc and some people just dismiss them.


    WOMEN SHOULD BE WOMEN
    Yes women should act their gender and there is nothing wrong with that. The video jokes about kajol playing basketball in a saree –get a life people -- you have to watch the movie in the perspective it was made. Its ridiculous to ridicule.

    Do you seriously think drinking like men and getting drunk, talking like an idiot makes them attractive to anyone? Now when I write this –it does not mean that this is some kind of justification to rape or hurt women. That is another issue as far as I am concerned. It is mothers and fathers who need to instill good values into their sons so that they don’t hurt women!


    LATE NIGHT
    Being out late is definitely not good because the darkness breeds evil and evil must be avoided. The logic is very simple. It applies to both men and women.
    However having said that –anyone who makes comments that staying out late is a justification to rape a girl needs his head examining. Equally its like saying if you stay out late you are more likely to get robbed. You are more likely to get killed or in some trouble. Perhaps static’s of night and day crime might prove that crime happens during all hours and not just nights.
    Anyway a girl if raped is a victim and not the instigator!
    A boy walking alone gets mugged is a victim not the instigator because he is weak or out late.
    The victim always seems to be victimised.



    [[Stereotyping anything is bad, and stereotype genders is worst. ]]]

    Not really. Women are women and there is no denying or hiding away from it. It is simply a case of educating the men and women to stop harassing weak people in the society (men and women).


    [[masculinity of femininity. It is very wrong to associate these qualities only with particular gender.]]
    No. A women is female (no matter how manly she acts) and man is male (no matter how feminine he acts).



    [[Girls not wearing so called feminine dresses or boys who don't like sports or who like to play with dolls are considered as abnormal just because their likes and dislikes don't match with the likes and dislikes which society normally associated with their gender.]]
    Being male I don’t think I look good in a bra or a saree somehow.


    [[People do it without even knowing that they are forcing gender stereotype on their kids.]]
    Nothing wrong in forcing gender stereotyping but it only become a problem when they are taught wrongly by their own parents! Its how they are educated. --boys and girls. The culture needs to change. In certain religions, they look down upon women as inferior beings and raise their sons to this effect. Again its down to educating society and not about trying to make/letting women be more ‘manly’. Its about respecting and accepting women.
    But clearly when mothers taunt their own sons when eg they help their wives with shopping or washing clothes or cooking dinner and calling them names to shame them, then this kind of teaching is wrong. This is whats happening in reality all over the world.

    Educate the parents to educate their sons in the right way.

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    Replies
    1. Can you cite few movies which brought huge social change or brought any cultural revolution in India about which you are saying in your comment? I am curious, as you wrote that they are doing this job for generations so I am sure you have few examples to share with us, it will do great favor to readers of this blog to know about some of these movies. I never dismissed their role in bringing any social change, I said "I don't expect" and I hope you understand the difference...after all movie making is a business with huge money involved in it, markets sell what people like to buy, this is very simple rule. Movies reflect social currents and that's why they can be good medium to educate people but because of so much money is at stake I dont expect them to take up this job. But I am not surprised by your statement and please share names of some movies.

      Women are women...who even said they are not?? and what do you mean they should act their gender?? what does this even mean?? Everyone acts their gender, women are females and they know their gender...their is nothing like "act your gender"...you are born with your gender and no one can act it except in movies.

      [[Do you seriously think drinking like men and getting drunk, talking like an idiot makes them attractive to anyone?]]
      so you want to say that getting drunk or speaking like an idiot makes men any attractive?? Seriously?? these things are not good for anyone no matter what is their gender...how can you associate getting drunk only with men?? this clearly shows that you are a victim of moral policing and I have a sympathy with you. I hope you come out of this very soon.

      Unsafe environment is not good for anyone, so everyone, no matter what is their gender should be cautious and use their personal judgement (common sense) to access safety of their surroundings and act accordingly. This is what normal and civilized people do (men, women both).

      Glad that you accepted that stereotyping is not bad according ot you, your comments display this mindset but glad to see that you accepted this. Now I am sure your comments will make more sense to people when they read them.

      There are no manly acts or feminine acts, they are just acts or actions, we categorize them in different sections. So just chill and leave to to individuals to decide how they want to act.

      [[Being male I don’t think I look good in a bra or a saree somehow. ]]
      thats your personal opinion, and you have right to choose what you want to wear and please give that right to others also. If someone thinks that you can look good in bra and saree I don't think you will accept their opinion and dress accordingly, so choose dress for yourself and leave it to others what they want to wear, let them decide, it's very simple.

      Gender stereotyping is wrong, so there is no right way to do it. I wonder how one can to a wrong thing in a right way?? This is an attempt to educate parents. I am glad to know that you also believe in this approach. No one is trying to make women more manly, that is such a wrong way of looking at it. Gender policing makes people to think like this, this is a struggle for equality. Women already proved their capabilities. Please don't confuse gender transformation with gender equality, these are tow different things. Thanks.

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