The Oldest Stereotype In The World

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

Personally I don’t believe gender is anything more than a matter of internal 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 eunuchs, transsexuals, 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 abberations 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.

Feminity 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 feminity 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 existance 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?

Effiminate 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?


About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on February 1, 2007, in Being Woman, Gender Archetype, Times, they are a-changing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: