Are we are Gender Neutral Society? Recent online trend ‘reels’ on a popular social-media mobile app is a great tool of entertainment for all ages. I am no exception and find it equally enticing to explore the micro-videos trending globally. The content is creative, addictive, or sometimes plain-lame but overall a right way to kill boredom. However, a few last visits have brought-up some ‘highly viewed and appreciated‘ videos which I personally felt mean or biased towards a particular gender.
This made me implore more into the social thread of gender stereotypes. It is a rude shock to my inbuilt system to see, gender biased behavior is still very common and accepted as a norm by the society at large. What is gender inequality and how to address this issue?
But before we go further into the discussion, let us first understand the basics of living ‘gender-neutral’.
What does it mean to be Gender Neutral?
As per dictionary – “Gender neutrality or gender-neutralism is the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions (social structures, gender roles, or gender identity) should avoid distinguishing roles according to people’s sex or gender.”
In easy terms, it simply means equal treatment to every individual, irrespective of their binary gender. Gender-neutralism doesn’t categorize people in pre-dominated gender roles as men and women in society. It considers them as individuals without specifying anything about their sex. And hence uses wider terminology or language, the one we call, gender-neutral language.
Are we ready for Gender-Neutral Society?
There is no denying that we live in a gender-obsessed society. Just think about it, the moment you announce your pregnancy, everyone starts wishing for a baby boy. Indian sub-continent isn’t the only place obsessed with gender-dominance roles, many western and eastern countries are also fighting gender-specific battles. And I have not even started talking about non-binary gender.
Since I have started reading the documentation available online for my research, it became clearer how deeply rooted ‘gender-inequality’ is. It is just not limited to pay-checks at the end of the month or professional progress anymore.
Categorization starts very early in life, firstly the inner circle brings discrimination unintentionally. We all have grown and seen these stereotypes around, throughout our lives. Then comes the peer pressure which acclimates us with already carved biased roles.
The gender gap (disproportionate difference between men and women and boys and girls) is vast and challenging to cease. Despite the best intentions, we end up in the vicious circle of age-old biases.
- For example – women don’t participate in fitness weight-training as enthusiastically as compared to their counterparts.
- Or men do not spend as much time as women in the kitchen, preparing food, or other household chores.
- In job interviews, men/women are asked a different set of questions based on pre-conceived notions of gender roles.
- Even in equal-parenting, the role of the father is limited to indirect requirements, whereas the mother does all baby-related duties.
There are various such examples where gender stereotypes come knocking at the door, even when you are ready to shun them on the face.
As a parent, I am aware of these gender-gaps and try inclusive parenting with my child. It is not an easy task as what is been taught/peached at home will be challenged outside by society. Even the simplest of things like books, toys, clothes, food, sports, are gender tagged too.
So, even if you try to beat the biases and start following gender-neutral parenting at home, the far-reaching influence of stereotypes will definitely impact their perception at some point of time in their lives.
I strongly believe we as a society have to start viewing people beyond the perquisites of binary gender and identify them as people inclusively. And also ACCEPT it as a social-evil. I honestly think, accepting gender-inequality as an ‘issue’ will start carving out ways to fight back.
‘This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter‘
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