Discussion Provocation: Gender Binaries

The term gender binary is defined as “a system of gender classification in which all people are categorized as being either male or female.” Notice how the definition uses the word “system”. Gender binaries have been put in place based on an old systematic time-frame. Cultures around the world have recognized genders other than women and men but popular society is just now developing an English vocabulary to describe the spectrum of gender identity that exists.

In colonial times men and women were the only genders that were acceptable among society. There were specific traits for women and men, and if they did not present these traits it was seen as weird and unnormal. Back then men were seen as the “strong, independent workers of the family” meanwhile women were the “primary caregivers and cleaners of the family”. Also, men were perceived to be way more violent and women were more delicate and dainty. These are simply old-fashioned ideas about people and their capabilities. Men can be caregivers and women can be the bread-winners of the family. Those colonial narratives are not as common nowadays. However, some that are common would include women having underarm hair. This is seen as taboo because back then women had set “standard appearance” given by society. Another is men wearing skirts or dresses because men “are not supposed” to wear “girly” clothes. And finally, people using pronouns that do not coincide with their sex from birth because that was unheard of back then and is seen in today’s society as something that is not “normal”. Gender should not define the traits a person can possess, and it should not dictate what they can do.

The term nonbinary is both a gender identity and a term to describe gender identities other than just woman or man. People in today’s society are now attempting to disrupt the old-fashioned gender binaries. By getting rid of these binaries, people are freer to express themselves and feel more comfortable in high-stress environments where people are often wrongfully identified. For example, in schools, many children are often just thought of as girls and boys, but some may identify with another classification. Disrupting these binaries would be such a big step in the right direction, especially in an educational setting. Every day the old gender norms are changing for the better.

Cites: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-non-binary-or-have-non-binary-gender-4172702

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *