Understanding Transgender II: Society is to Blame
Dad is a perfectly-pressed ironer. He enjoys a good conversation in person and on the phone. A curse word has never been muttered by him in my presence, nor has he raised his voice in an argument. Maybe an eyebrow, but never a tyrant vocal. Does this make him a feminine man? My father’s roles around the house are: mowing and edging the lawn, taking care of the car, doing the dishes, and paying the bills. Do these characteristics make him a masculine man? Mom does most of the renovations to our home: tiling, painting, wood working, and cabinet resurfacing. I view her as self-reliant and an autodidactic champ at accomplishing hard things. Do these characteristics suggest her a masculine woman? Mother’s roles around the house are: cooking, knitting, sewing, and decorating the yard with birds and flowers. Do these traits make her a feminine woman?
I find myself wanting to blame society or institutions where people are put into one of the two traditional gender roles. Well guess what? Forcing one to fit within the modern societal role of a particular gender is going to create irregularity, because gender doesn’t come in just pink or blue. Growing up the color purple made me kind of sick and I didn’t quite know why. As an adult it’s in my top three favorable colors and that’s due because I like its rays of diversity. The book, Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. helped me understand how the brain works in males and females. The author accredits everything he says with scientific research. I’m a little skeptical with statistics because most times the tests have a rooted agenda. However, this doctor’s results has helped me understand why institutions stereotype genders.
At first I had written the next paragraph about my distaste for institutions segregating males and females with certain activities such as: physical education in schools and in my three hour block at church there is an hour class time where they separate males and females who are older than 12 years. However, Dr Sax teaches that having separate learning activities for each gender is a good idea. Raising children pro gender neutral has its setbacks. Dr Sax points out that one of the reasons why children today have more anxiety than children in the 1950-60’s is because they are less rooted in their gender. (236) Boys need to have activities where they learn from men and girls need activities where they learn from women. When I think back at times I felt most feminine, was when I went out to lunch with my mom and her sisters, or being with girls my age where women were in charge of us. But if I could add, to not limit a gender specific learning environment to their stereotypical interests.