“Sam”, as the toy is called, is a thought provoking initiative to teach kids about gender fluidity. Because of the stigma associated with this issue, many young adults and adults lead a traumatic life. They shut their identities deep inside them and lead a life worse than death just to find a place in society. Maybe it’s time we reassess our need to carve each and every gender and sexual preference, and embrace its natural fluidity.
A need to break out from boxed ideologies
Our notions about gender and sexuality have been around since the first group of intellectually sound humans formed a herd, which eventually evolved into a society. It would be false to say that our ancestors didn’t grapple with these issues. And yet, after thousands of years as a civilised society, we choose to differentiate each dimension of gender and sexuality. It’s about time we let go of our need to essentially box and define our emotions, sexuality and gender.
Conditioning children at early age is wrong
Since the day a child is born, the weight of his/her sex is firmly attached to his/her head
Especially in a country like India, where roles and rules are specific in the society for each sex, parents condition their children from an early age as on how to behave according to their gender. Boys don’t cry and play with cars. Girls play with dolls and wear pink. Men have short hair, beard and a moustache. Women wear makeup, have long hair, and sit with legs crossed.
These stereotypes not only reinforce the patriarchy which is rotting away our social structure, into their impressionable minds, but it also takes away their right to choose. We ridicule boys who want to play with dolls or want to wear frocks. We criticise girls with short hair. Simply because these stereotypes are our ways to discriminate one gender from another, and we want our children to adhere to them.
Gender and Sexual preference is a choice
We repeatedly try to classify them, and yet we forget that gender and sexuality are a matter of choice. The fluidity that is associated with our thoughts, and feelings is applicable to them as well. Our life is a process of self-discovery and a quest for content and happiness. On the surface, the happiness we seek might come from social validation which comes from a good job, a socially approved marriage, or even social standing. But dig a little deeper, and these things become irrelevant. What are you, if you dare not ask questions about every aspect of your identity?
Questioning one’s gender and sexuality is a big part of this self-discovery
As we grow up, and move on in life, our experiences and thoughts keep making changes to our personality, our like, dislikes and even the very core of identity.
Fluidity does not need our validation
The so-called guardians of social and cultural heritage think that since they don’t validate gender and sexual fluidity, it is immoral. They are so off the mark. Our social structure is undergoing a slow, yet significant change. People no longer need validation from society to express their orientation and sex.
This fluidity means that at any point of time in their lives, people can be what they want to be. They have stopped caring about what others think or have to say, making all the discrimination and hurt hurled at them irrelevant.
We should celebrate this fluidity, instead of trying to validate it in vain. No one is asking for our opinion anymore.
Who decides what is normal?
Every member of society should have a say in defining what is normal and socially acceptable. But instead, it is in the hands of those who are capable of forcing their views on everyone. What then is our definition of normal? Suffocating the questions which arise in every child’s mind? Shunning out all those who dare to say no to our pre-conceived notions? Shaming anyone who does not fit our definition of normal?
Abnormality is not questioning your identity, or shaming those who question theirs. Everything else is normal
Instead of trying to teach our children to behave according to our gender, we should teach them to be liberal and accepting. We should teach them to ask more questions and follow their hearts. This will make sure that they grow up into happy, confident and kind adults.
Photo Credit : PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/GettyImages
Also Read : Changing Ideas About Sexuality: Are we ready?
Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own