Opinion: Gender is over


Neville Hardman 

Neville Hardman

Gender is over. I saw this phrase printed on Laura Jane Grace’s tank top when she played at House of Blues with Against Me! in June. For anyone who doesn’t follow music as obsessively as I do, Laura Jane Grace is an icon.

Her transition shattered the illusion that even 30-somethings are still making gender decisions, especially when she choose not to alter her voice. Voice pitch should not be correlated with someone’s gender identity. It was truly an act of punk rock by refusing to be what she didn’t want to be.

Fast-forward two months later.Target statedin early August that they will remove references to gender in their stores that allude specific toys are only for one gender based on the colored paper on the back walls of the shelves.

This includes the use of pink, blue, yellow and green, according to the website. They also stated they will remove signs suggesting certain bedding is gender specific.

This development hints toward what the future holds. Gender is slowly becoming better understood. From birth, people are cast to portray certain roles. It starts as soon as they’re wrapped in a blue or pink blanket at the hospital and carried home to a room with the same color. (Yellow is not gender neutral, by the way.)

There is a misconception that your biological sex defines your gender. Gender is entirely internal. It’s what you feel you are, not what you look like or what someone says you should be. It’s all your decision.

Often when a girl gravitates toward toys geared for boys, she’s labeled a tomboy and she’s generally more accepted.

“She’ll grow out of it,” the mother says with confidence. This is the perspective of an older generation who didn’t deal with heavy gender issues and believes it’s only a phase, unlike today’s generation who is more used to seeing gender issues in their school or through friends.

And when she doesn’t grow out of it, people accuse her of being a lesbian, even if it’s not their right to assume her sexuality. However, when a boy wants to play with dolls, it’s often utterly rejected.

“No son of mine will play with dolls,” grumbles a suburban father who ironically gives him a G.I. Joe instead.

So, why is it a big deal? Because “girl” and “boy” toy aisles have always been distinctly separate. Because at birth, children are assigned colors telling them what they must conform to.

Because most children are told they’re going to grow up as proper women or men, not that they can be both or neither. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

And if you don’t understand, challenge yourself to learn more because these misconceptions are not healthy. The most well-rounded person is someone who doesn’t categorize and doesn’t pass judgement based off choices made by others.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].