When you grow up as a little girl, it's like there are faint chalk lines traced approximately three inches around your entire body at all times. These lines are drawn by society and often religion; family and particularly other women who somehow feel invested in the way you behave. When you are a little boy, they tell you men don't cry, tell you that being a man lies in an inflated ego and disregard for others. Everyone and everything tells you what you ought to do and when to do it because you belong to a certain gender.
The question of gender is quite misunderstood by the masses. Being a man or woman is not about biology; it is not about who is doing what and how, and most certainly it is not about how you look. When many hear the word "gender" they immediately think of women empowerment, whilst others think of gender identity. Gender is quite contrary to that, it is not about a wrestle for power or solely focused on issues of sexuality. Gender should rather be seen as a battleground for knocking down barriers and expanding boundaries.
In Cambodia, it is still common for girls not to be able to go to school, because their families think it is unnecessary. Men are solely in charge. Now this is not what our point is when we speak of gender. Gender is not about who is on the spotlight of responsibility. When one comes to comprehend the idea of gender, one can realize that if a woman or man heavily relies on their spouse, they cannot stand on their own in the event of the death or disappearance of the other. When we do understand gender, we will know that it is a state of balance, recognition of what the opposite sex is capable of.
Gloria Steinem articulates, "We have begun to raise our daughters more like sons , but few have the courage to raise their sons more like our daughters." How about we teach our boys how to be compassionate and that, being in touch with one's emotions is not a sign of weakness? Or we could teach our girls that they are more than the subservient beings that we have socialized them to be? In fact, why don't we teach and show each other that we can be anything we want to be and should not be afraid to try everything? What is seemingly a weakness can be an opportunity for upgrading each sex. If we can change the mind set that we have now, and embrace the fact that gender is more than defining each other by the difference of our genitalia, we would have knocked down that stone cold wall that has separated men and women for millennia.
The question of gender is not a question at all, never was and never will be . Women and men are not made to conform to boundaries of gender, we are made for so much more. Therefore, although we are made biologically different, we are but compliments of the opposite sex. Only when we begin to understand this, will we know that gender, is just a matter of balance.
By: Nyasha Chikosha