Don’t let gender stereotypes determine interests

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It has been a cultural norm in our society to follow the customs of our gender from an early age.

Expecting couples may paint a baby’s room blue or pink to match their gender, kids are gifted boy toys or girl toys and children are dressed according to what is expected of their gender.

As kids turn into adults, men are expected to remain stolid through any hardships and are seen as unmanly if they show emotions. They are sneered at for a lack of sexual experience or interest. And if a man wears tight clothing or feminine accessories, he is often called gay or made fun of.

On the flip side, women are expected to wear makeup every day, shave and dress more feminine. They are supposed to prefer cooking and cleaning over mechanics or any other trades. And they are expected to be much better-groomed than men, otherwise they are viewed as disgusting.

If a woman actually likes to wear jewelry every day and clean her house, that is great. If a man likes to go to the gym and play videogames, that is also great.

However, there should not be set expectations for what men and women are supposed to be interested in; people should be allowed to like whatever they want to like.

Most children go through phases of various interests, and it usually tends to be something more typically associated with that child’s gender. But those children shouldn’t be encouraged to change if they express interest in something that isn’t “expected” of their gender. Rather, kids should be encouraged to like whatever they happen to like.

Who says girls have to like dolls and horses and the color pink? Who says boys have to like dinosaurs and trucks and the color blue?

What’s wrong with women who like videogames or trucks? What’s wrong with men enjoying chick flicks or flowers?

Absolutely nothing. It’s the people who instantly judge someone doing what he or she truly loves who have something wrong with them.

To anyone who feels insecure about expressing interest in something that is typically associated with the other gender, don’t worry about it because your interests don’t define you or turn you into something you’re not. And any person who looks down on you for what you like probably doesn’t need to be in your life.

To anyone looking for a new hobby, don’t limit yourself to things that are “socially acceptable” for your gender. There are so many things to look into, so don’t be afraid of all the possibilities.