Each concept creates two opposites. These opposites are always co-dependent, which means that without one the other cannot exist. This idea becomes clear when we speak of day and night as two opposites that interplay throughout the course of 24 hours. Without night time we won’t be able to grasp what day is. There would only be one unchanging state.
Our brain understands concepts only through comparison. We can’t understand height without seeing something tall next to something short. Each and every general concept creates two opposites through which we can grasp the idea of that concept. These opposites are always codependent and are bound to shift from one to the other in an endless cycle of change.
Opposites are relative.
If I was the only resident of an isolated island, I won’t know if I’m tall, short, smart, or rich. All these are relative terms determined by the given surrounding at that moment. On my imaginary island, I might be short relatively to the trees, but taller than the bushes. I won’t be rich nor poor since my isolated island has no concept of economy. As for being masculine or feminine, how would I even know what those mean?
We are born into a context, a construct. As babies we observe the world as our brain tries to make sense of it all. Our first points of reference are our parents. We might have watched our mother cry, and our father calm and strong comforting her. We might have been raised by a single mom who moved mountains just to do so. Whichever background we came into, our brain collected the data and we were, quite literally, programmed by it.
When we left our home, still as kids, our world expanded. Daycare, Pre-K and Kindergarten were all places we observed and modeled. Here our “study” of roles is expanded as preexisting ideas are reinforced by society. Our parents dress us up according to our biology, and maybe their idea of gender. In school we are divided to boys and girls and teach each other the secrets of the trade.
TV shows, commercials, songs, books – all tell us exactly what to wear, what to think, how to act, what to play, who to love, what to eat, what to like, how to speak. All we have to do is look at all this information and measure up!
My mom tells me that after growing up in a Spanish speaking home I returned home from Pre-K and refused to speak Spanish again! According to her, the kids made fun of my strange language. I can’t even recall this memory. Similarly, a child acting against gender “norms” might observe other children and consequently alter and self-censor their own behavior. In addition, teachers, caretakers or parents might make comments and cause a child to suppress their behavior. The correlation between a boy picking up a barbie doll and the likelihood of that child to “turn-out” gay or transgender are a myth! There is no such proof – and if there was, so what????
A young girl in one of my lectures, spoke up and said that all her life she looked at the mirror and saw a body that was “too masculine.” According to her, she didn’t have to work hard to in order to have definition of muscles in her arms. But she hated it!
She hated her image. which in turn lead to anorexia and eating disorder from poor self image. She was just a girl with an athletic physique, but she wanted to look like Barbie. She was a girl trying to attain some kind of pie-in-the-sky idea of femininity that was not true to who she was.
Gender is not a gay/queer/trans issue. It is an issue of self expression. Do you really want to wear make-up, high heels, grow a beard, play football, look tough, look sexy? Is that who you really are?
Did you ever ask yourself if this is your TRUE SELF EXPRESSION??