Author – Maanvi Agarwal
When we look at the world outside, how do we recognise its components? Living or non-living, human or non-human, men or women, black or white etc. The grey zones, despite existing are most of the time overlooked by us; so much so that we start categorising everything into tiny, neat packages with no flexibility.
“I am a woman, I am supposed to like pink, and I tend towards gossiping and the new fashion rage. I cannot exist without somebody supporting me, and I have to cry and be sad and be ‘girly’, because I am a girl and I am supposed to be sensitive. I cannot exist in any other way. If I do then I am a ‘queer’, and nowadays queer doesn’t even mean peculiar, it straight out becomes a casual word to refer to non- heterosexuals.”
You can be a tomboy, the lovely small brothers of your friends, but you will always be a tomboy. Calling someone like you out, without keeping that title in mind is being ignorant and that would be wrong, right? And by gods, if that day ever comes when you start liking pants over jeans, boxing and fighting over chick flicks and not food, or even more preposterous things like bringing career into the bedroom and ditching men for being self- independent, prideful and strong woman, then…you must say goodbye to your dreams of having female fillies. The first question you would be asked is, “Are you on steroids?” followed by “Did a guy jilt you?”
The above examples of masculine traits in women are scorned and despised and a lot of self- help books come out in the market, advising women how to change these traits and get a man (Because really, a woman can’t exist without a man, Scoff).
We live in a world, where culture is defined by those in power, and for their comfort. The idea of stepping out of the pre-structured boundaries is so hard that one would feel much better living in denial, than accepting something different or unique.
We know that sexuality has now seeped out from the narrow closing our fists made and now includes, transgender, neuters, homosexuals and bigender, but instead of accepting them for what they are, we either despise them or try to justify them into the already existing social hierarchy of heterosexual men and women.
The amount of criticism faced by the LGBT groups is not more to the censorship through which even the heterosexuals go through. There is a constant scissoring, and monitoring of their behaviour, preferences, and attitudes, since without them the “other” cannot be identified.
Let us take the example of effeminacy, which is treated harshly than even masculinity in women (since the latter can be treated as rebellion but the former is always considered unnatural). In the globalised culture, the effeminacy is seen in two forms, one of heterosexual men or homosexual men and other of the black men from white men.
The idea of sensitivity is a big issue for the male gender, and any idea that would associate them with the feminine tastes is a big ho-ho; whether it be an appreciation for bright colours, romantic and soppy movies, trying to be a fashion designer or taking care of a girl who is PMSing (what does the last one even mean?).
“Be a man”, or “Men don’t cry” are few of the simplest ways in which the society tries to reaffirm men’s duties of carrying the burden of the world and leading it forward. It is hammered so much into the boys since the young age that they become completely desensitised to the idea of softer feelings sometimes, considering it an insult to their man pride.
Now if we see men who get along well with women due to a similarity in tastes of shopping and gossiping, then he has to be gay. Don’t we often hear it being said that, “a gay man is a woman’s best friend”?
The feminisation of gay men is also an attempt by the misogynistic, patriarchal society leaders to destroy the existence of individuals who are a threat to the normal functioning of the society. This is clearly visible in the way media projects gay men simply as women with the male disguise. In fact most of the homosexual relationships depicted assume a submissive- dominant relationship, of a fragile, innocent, and beautiful inferior man and a strong, hardy and gruff superior man. The porn industry thrives in depicting the objectification and brutal treatment of these sissy men, in the same way as women are treated, with no alternative for the rest of the community to see and understand.
The case of emasculation of the black men in early years of life, thus converting them to transgender (a very weak and small group of people in the world) is an attempt by the white culture to annihilate their race. It is a subtle form of genocide, made to conquer over the ‘inferior’ race and subjugate them. The black men are then supposed to spread their homosexual behaviour (in mini skirts or makeup caked faces) to the natives and influence them, at the same time constructing an image for the rest of the people of the world.
The attempt to stereotype and put people into pigeonholes is a fairly successful one, and a fight against it is a long one. Despite the popularity the movement is gaining, a lot of us are still teetering over the judgment line and not towards the acceptance.
The stereotypes have becomes so deeply ingrained in us, that we can’t get rid of them without questioning ourselves over and over, constantly. But in this long process, we can start by avoiding giving titles. Except for the objective truths that science holds, everything else is relative, and so, “she ‘is’ a woman, who likes to ride bikes and smoke cigarettes and watch period dramas and wear frilly clothes” and “he ‘is’ man who loves salsa, and tight jeans and romantic tragedies and beer nights with friends”.
Nobody is the same, our identities are made up of our choices and that makes us unique, instead of categorising each other for our comfort, we should start by accepting each other for our happiness.