Confining Barriers | Teen Ink

Confining Barriers

April 26, 2012
By Howll SILVER, Downers Grove, Illinois
Howll SILVER, Downers Grove, Illinois
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

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Being a man means nothing. Being a woman means nothing. They are labels. Names. Words. Nothing. They confine us into neat little boxes and attempt to suffocate us until we submit. And we do. We, so called free thinkers, let ourselves be trapped by these meaningless words. They claw at our brains until we believe them to be true.
Women: They must have long hair; they must smear make-up onto their faces, and the must, at all costs, be some shade of orange. Small boobs are out, melons are in. A skirt that goes past their knees is blasphemy. They must straighten, curl, and dye their hair until it murders itself. All of these things are what make up a woman.
Men: Must have muscles, must have no interest in games like Star Wars or World of Warcraft, and must not ogle women openly. If they’re scrawny, if they’re weak, if their pimply, they are thrown out of the “man club”. They cannot, not ever, do feminine things like cooking, sewing or dancing; if so they are automatically labeled as gay. All of these things are what make up a man. These definitions are what we live by; they are law, never to be broken.
This is wrong.
To confine ourselves to such material objectives, such pathetic guidelines degrades our entire race. We should not have to live like this. If a man wishes to wear skirts then let him live his life. If a woman wants to shed her make-up and show off her real face, let her be free. How can any of us tell another person, someone with their own thoughts and ideas, how to live their life? We cannot.
If we control others, if we focus on every single thing wrong with how someone appears, how can we express ourselves? How can we know what we want to be when we’re so fixated on others? We cannot.
Gender is a constricting word. It has limited barriers that were never meant to be broken through. But why? Why do we have to live in these barriers? Who was it that decreed what a woman should look like or how a man should act? Certainly not us modern day freethinkers. But even though it was not us who started these rules, we should not be so lowly as to follow them. Not when we call ourselves “progressive”.
There is a word for the path humanity needs: androgynous. It means to have both male and female qualities. Qualities meaning thoughts and actions, not biological “gear”. While some may be frightened or disgusted by the word androgynous, they are sadly lacking knowledge. They don’t see the world around them. How people are already “androgynous”.
We must break through the standards set up by those before us. We must learn to accept people for who they are, not how manly or feminine they appear on the outside. I know this sounds like an ideal, something that can be talked about and talked about but never acted on. But it is not. People are changing. I, a female, have cut my hair “boy short” and use little make-up in my daily life. People in my school have also started to change. Some girls also have close-cropped hair; some boys have hair that falls past their shoulders. Some girls choose to wear little to no make-up; some boys decide to wear pink. Some people decide to be themselves.
We are changing.

- Nora Dutch

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