Gender is, by a large extent, a social construct and not purely a biological one. In the current dispensation, there has been liberalism when it comes to gender definition, and people are free to identify with the gender they feel comfortable with. However, growing up, I was treated and explicitly shaped as a boy. I was the only male child in a family of four children, and I could see the differences in our upbringing. Without the treatment, I would never have realized that I am any different from my sisters. For instance, we had distinct roles in the house roles, and my sisters often performed most chores such as cleaning. I had a different room while my other siblings shared another, and I began to learn about our gender differences.
My late grandfather was one of the people I looked up to and learned a lot from. As a man, he could tell me that I needed to be healthy and protect my sisters even though I was younger than my two elder sisters. Whenever I came back and cried to him that I had been caned by the teacher when I was caught in a scuffle with another pupil, he would fume and tell me to my face that a man should not cry. He would insist that men are supposed to endure pain and that crying is for women. This put a lot of pressure on me as I pondered on why men should not cry even if they feel to. My grandfather belongs to the old school of thought, but as a young boy, I never understood why there were sharp differences between boys and girls.
Gender differentiation exists since boys and girls go through different struggles that mark their lives. Women and girls have many challenges that impede them from getting through the process of life and attain their potential as men would do. Some of the challenges include repressive cultures that perceive women to be less than equal to men (Fausto-Sterling, 2012, p. 62). However, religion and progressive societies have helped promote equality. Equality of genders is good for the progress of people irrespective of their gender. Modern society should strive to create an enabling environment for all people to progress and attain their potential.
Ideas, Messages, and Images
Gender differentiation has been attributed to the selective treatment and perception of different genders. The social perception of gender has been tilted in favor of men, which has significantly affected women’s progress (Bobel & Kwan, 2019, p. 26). For instance, men have dominated the leadership scene while most women struggle to be accomplished. Emphasis has gone to now uplifting the girl child, and the feminist movement is not quiet about this. Some gains have been realized, and today, several situations in society challenge the differentiation of gender, putting all genders at par. For instance, we have more women in leadership positions, and they are performing excellently, and, in some cases, they are more competent than men. Some women head militaries and are capable in their roles.
The other group is single mothers who do the excellent work of parenting and raising their children. It was always assumed that a woman needed a man’s assistance in raising children, but this notion has been challenged by many cases worldwide of women doing the parental role alone. For example, President Obama’s mother brought him up as his father was ever absent until he is now a successful person (Fausto-Sterling, 2012, p. 62). This points to equality of genders and that women are as equally able as men, and nothing should stand in their way to success. I am convinced that women can do what men can do, and this has no relationship with their gender of birth. Effective parenting is critical in nurturing children who are not inclined to specific roles defined by gender.
Gender should only be left as a biological construct instead of a determining factor in how far a person can go in life. According to Fausto-Sterling (2012), “gender is a biological concept” (p. 63). It is encouraging and life-changing for this kind of mental shift to be propagated in children to know that they are equally endowed to take on life, and there is no advantage inherent to them that is linked to their gender. They ought to know that they have little control over what gender they are born and that there is no better gender. Spreading a theory of differentiation will be counterproductive to building an equal society that we all desire. An environment devoid of race, gender, religion, and other forms of biases has characterized our societies today (Bobel & Kwan, 2019, p. 26). The best point to teach this right message should be at the infantry as children grow up embracing what they are taught. Therefore, caregivers, teachers, and parents who spend most of their time in close contact with children have the responsibility of shaping their characters and personalities.
Bobel, C., & Kwan, S. (Eds.). (2019). Body battlegrounds: Transgressions, tensions, and transformations. Vanderbilt University Press.
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2012). Sex/gender: Biology in a social world. Routledge.