Unnecessary gendering harms student acceptance


Kimmy Tran, Staff writer

Pink is a girl color, blue is a boy color. The controversy of what gender is exactly has been an ongoing argument for generations. Often, people confuse sex and gender.
According to the American Psychological Association, sex refers to the appearance of external genitalia. When the external genitalia are ambiguous other indicators such as internal genitalia, chromosomal and hormonal sex can define an individual’s sex. On the other hand, gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex.
Unnecessary gendering has been applied to nearly every part of human life, such as clothes, colors, make-up, hairstyles, toys, hygiene products, video games and more.
“I see things like clothing, makeup, bathrooms [that] don’t need to be gendered,” junior Ollie Dietrich said. “This type of gendering an add stigma and judgment that is harmful to transgender people.”
Just because a man uses makeup doesn’t mean that they are gay and girls with shorter haircuts are not transgender. The majority of clothing brands today separate items dedicated to “boys” and “girls” as if a piece of fabric has gender. Many students get shamed for enjoying things that society has set for the opposite gender. Girls who have pixie cuts or traditional “male” haircuts may just feel more confident with relatively shorter hair. Boys who have an artistic passion may prefer using makeup to express their own beauty.
“Makeup is marketed towards women which makes it seem like a feminine product which is discouraging towards men who want to wear it,” junior Sam Bullock said.
People may argue that stores do sell makeup to men, however it is sold distinctly differently.
“I’ve seen makeup marketed towards men as ‘War Paint’ which makes it marketed as insanely masculine for no reason,” Bullock said.

These adjectives give feminine or masculine connotations to the inanimate objects.
“Different styles of clothing or makeup, none of that really has any sort of bearing upon who you are as a person, so it’s really just wear whatever you want and do whatever you want to do,” junior Logan Threadgil said.
An immediate change in a mindset towards gendering is not expected. Gender has been a part of history, and therefore people have preconceived concepts about it. However, it’s important to be considerate and learn to respect what makes other people feel comfortable.
“When it comes to transgender people, theres a whole stigma. When a transgender person walks into a bathroom and people can tell, it becomes a whole issue. More family restrooms and gender neutral bathrooms should be an option,” Dietrich said.
Unnecessary gendering is also very harmful towards transgender people, according to the Gender Equality Law Center. Transgender people who cannot conform to society’s stereotypes deal with discrimmination and are treated unequally. This can result in damaging effects on their mental health. Gender neutral restrooms, or unisex restrooms are made for people who feel uncomfortable using a men’s or women’s restroom. These non-gendered restrooms provide a safer and more private space for people who don’t feel like they belong within a certain gendered room.
“I think that the unnecessary gendering is very ignorant but it’s something that people have trouble with getting used to because gender norms have been relevant for a very long time and it’s kind of hard to step out of a habit like that,” Dietrich said. “The earlier on that kids understand that they are free to express themselves however they want, people will be a lot happier if they’re comfortable with themselves.”

Excessive gendering on everyday objects, hobbies and interests is extremely harmful towards many communities, especially children according to Common Sense Media.
“Children are very much impacted by everything said or done around them and constantly using these stereotypical gendering methods of random things can condition them to think in that way,” Threadgil said. “It is a way of thinking that really didn’t really need to happen in the first place.”
Remember, gender is not sex.
“Gender is a social construct, like if someone looks feminine then they’re perceived as a female and vice versa,” Bullock said. “It doesn’t matter what’s in your pants. Gender is just how people perceive you to put it in short.”