Cross-posted on IFSHA here.


What is the oldest stereotype in the world?
The one every single human being on the planet is subjected to. Across countries, continents, cultures, religions and races. Its the first meaningful proclamation made to world about our existance.

“Congratulations, you have a son!”
“Its a girl!”

I’ll take off the heavy connotations of joy at a boy’s birth and its reverse at a girl’s birth. This isn’t about gender discrimination. That happens way later in life. But right at the start, each one of us is slotted into a role. Call it a super-role if you will since it encompasses so many conflicting and intersecting sub-roles for the rest of our lives. We spend our lives understanding, refining and re-defining these sub-roles. In the recent years, there has been some attempt to re-define the super-role too.

What is femininity? Does it have to do with feminism?
What makes a man a real man?

This is just a matter of body plumbing. Everything after that is just a combination of habit, ritual and imagination. This is over-simplification but we’ve been complicating matters just way too much for centuries and our social systems are bearing the disastrous consequences now. What are we to do with intersex or transgender people, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and oh, all of those people who just don’t fit into the oldest stereotype in the world? If Darwin’s theory of selection is true then all these so-called aberations would have been weeded out with all the maltreatment meted out to them over the years. But they haven’t. They still do exist, and what’s more they (or could it be ‘we’) are finding a collective voice now.

In a very large group of people, there are bound to be those who don’t fit the general trend. But I’m starting to wonder whether there is a general trend here anyway. When the exceptions to the rule start to grow to sizeable proportions, its time to evaluate whether the rule is valid or not.

Femininity or masculinity means different things to each person. These are words as simple or as over-complex as those others like life, love, death and God. How can any single one of us decide that what we imagine as femininity or masculinity holds true for the entire human race? Even collectively, is it fair to think that just because several people agree on it, its right? That is the way most of the world is run, but, well…it doesn’t make it right, does it?

Moreover the ‘majority rules’ theory may hold true for things that run our world at a macro level. But something as basic, as primitive, as fundamental to our existence as our identity is being determined by a flawed system. And its one that none of us have any escape from. Oh, I know there are those who live on their terms. But consider, how easy is it really to be one of these?

Effeminate man
Masculine woman….(non-male, I’ve heard people whisper)

None of these sound like compliments, do they? I don’t think so. Why then settle for a rule that brutalizes so many human beings for no fault of theirs and keeps the rest chained to archaic beliefs?


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