Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Not the Norm

Our homework was to read a few articles surrounding the ideas of gender identity, gender norms, and being non-binary.

During class we began by the discussion on the topic of gender norms. Our task was to create two lists one on the gender norms associated with being a women and the seconds are the gender norms associated with being a man. After making the list we had to create a skit that expressed some of the gender norms.

One the skits that stood out the most to me were about a girl. Now this girl is approached by a “feminine” man that seems “timid” and “weak.” He then asked for her name and try’s to strike up a conversation with him, which she ignores and shows no interest in him. After he leaves realizing that she’s not interested she sees a “manly” man standing in the street. As soon as she saw him she began to act more “lady like” by sitting with her legs crossed and doing her make up. He then treats her with no respect by answering with one word and looking at other girls. Although he is obviously not into her she still wants him more that the guy who was nice to her.

This struck a chord with me because it happens every day. The men who do not fit the gender roles are overlooked for those who are the traditional men. Many of the girls in the class believed that they have either seen this done or done it themselves.

After the skits our teacher asked us to try and break a gender norm during our lunch break. Many of the girls in the class decided one they wanted to break had to wear a bra. For me and a few girls we decided that we would test the bathrooms by using the men’s room instead of the female’s room. After class we all discussed what types of norms that were broken they ranged from changing to appear more “masculine” to going up to a guy to make the first move.

After that we welcomed the 19th President at Brown University Christina Hull Paxson. Before beginning her work at Brown she worked at Princeton University for 10 years. Her roles at Princeton were Dean off the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs and the Hughes Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs. She gave us a brief sepal of how she got to where she is now, what barriers she faced, and who inspired her.
After class we went to our second workshop called Exploring Power & Privilege. Before we got into the activates we took the time to create community guidelines to make sure everyone felt respected, safe, and brave.

My pipe cleaner sculpture which represented my family, culture, and sexuality.
During this time we tried to identify what aspect made us who we are. Once we choose three we made figures out of colored pipe cleaners to represent us. And then we explained them to a partner. After the explanations we switched our figures and removed a piece from it which meant eliminating that part of her. Then she had us explain how it made us feel. Personally I felt really bad being the reason she wouldn’t be her true self was because of me.

After this we all made a circle and they asked us questions involving our privilege. During the whole activity no one was allowed to talk. It left everyone very emotional. Many were left crying and in a state of vulnerability. I would share more but to me it was something very personal and I do not feel comfortable sharing more how it felt. It was a very eye opening experience that will change me how I will be in the future. 

After the activity we walked out and the lighting coming through the trees appeared so magical it calmed me down after the emotional roller coaster. 

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