UNITED STATES—Oh, we live in a world where so many people think there are gender norms you just must follow. I really hate that people confuse gender and sex. They are NOT the same thing, and they are not mutually exclusive. Sex is your biological make-up, while gender is the behavioral role society expects you to adhere to. You have male or female as a biological sex makeup, but with gender there are various roles nowadays and its great because you shouldn’t be forced to place someone into a box.

Being masculine or feminine, that is the gender role that as a society we think all people have to adhere to. We need to toss out that notion of what is traditional and expected of people because it is dangerous and that is my opinion.  You should be able to behave and do as you please without facing backlash from society because they think you should behave a certain way. I think this notion really opened my eyes because of a series of sociology courses I took as an undergraduate and graduate student where your eyes are opened to a few things.

For example, this notion of the man always having to propose and get down on one knee when it comes to marriage. Yes, it is tradition, it is the norm, but there was a discussion recently about women taking control and proposing marriage to their significant other. One person was frowning at the thought. Ok, your opinion, you are entitled to that, but if someone chooses to do otherwise, is it really hurting your life? I think not. Hell, think about all the pressure that most men face with having to get down on one knee and hoping they’re not about to be rejected by their significant other.

Just because something has been done for ages and ages doesn’t mean change cannot be implemented people. That is the problem with our society, we get so used to these norms whenever there is a tinge of difference there becomes uproar, and all hell is unleashed as a result. The household is a big one. The guy is to go to work and be the breadwinner, the woman is to stay at home and raise the kids and keep the home tidy. Guess what there are households run by two women or two men, and you have to realize those norms do not always apply.

At the same time, realize, it’s ok for the woman to be the breadwinner, it is okay for the guy to stay at home and watch the kids. The more we fight to break these structured gender norms the better, because we don’t become so forced to follow a norm simply because it is a norm. Guys are not supposed to be emotional, guess what we get sad, we have emotions and bottling them up is not healthy. When you do that, it can end one of two ways, you lash out or you have an emotional breakdown that can be quite debilitating.

A guy crying is a good thing and doesn’t make him less of a man or more of one gender or another as a result. We are too judgmental as a society, and that comes with the notion of freedom of speech. Yes, you can absolutely speak your mind and say what it is you please to say. However, just because you say something does not make you the judge, jury and the executioner on the issue at hand. That is society’s problem. These rules we have are not to be broken, but that is the thing with norms, things change and you have to evolve with the times.

Everyone is not going to adhere to what you grew up seeing or what was instilled in you by your parents. Life is ever-changing and constantly changing on a daily basis. People are evolving, challenges are being encouraged and the shifting norms when it comes to gender is good for a society that is important to all regardless of what the old school generations believe and feel is traditional. Traditions change and it is time to get with the times people.

Written By Jason Jones