By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, January 4 2020—
Change happens constantly, and in most cases it’s for the betterment of a society and for the individuals that live in it. Those changes are heavily influenced by our beliefs and cultures, but as time progresses, societies around the world often become more open-minded, which is helping to erase gender stereotypes.
Gender is a socially-driven concept that many frequently use to identify the roles we are supposed to play in the society where we live. The gender label we identify with often defines the behaviours that we express to the world on a daily basis.
Many people are anchored to a specific set of beliefs and ideas that dictate the way gender is supposed to be shown and represented. Everyone has a different take on what defines gender — mainly guided by the aforementioned variables — but as I also mentioned, those variables change with time.
As award-winning musician and actor Harry Styles showed in the recent cover of Vogue Magazine, the barriers of how gender are expressed are now beginning to be broken. He wore a classy, long dress that sparked controversy among some social media users who blamed him for being part of the decline of masculinity. It is not worth mentioning any of what was said as those individuals did not argue why a man should not wear a dress, they instead criticized Style’s fashion choice by insulting and offending the British singer.
Fortunately, he had thousands of people worldwide backing him, not the least of which included his loyal fans. He also had the support of several celebrities and people in the music and fashion industry. Styles continues to use his body and image to show the entire world that it is okay to dress however one wants and that we must “treat people with kindness” as one of his top songs is titled.
It’s important to understand is that your clothes don’t define your sexual orientation or anything else about you. We are entering into a social revolution that brings changes to the way we comprehend and express many aspects of our lives.
It must be clear that a man wearing nail polish, makeup or any clothes that are categorized as “feminine” is not less of a man than those who dress according to socially-dictated gender norms. The same is applicable to the women who dress more “masculine.” People must be free to wear the clothes and accessories of their choosing. You should wear what makes you feel good.
Whether one believes that there are only two genders or that gender is situated on a wide spectrum like all aspects of a person’s sexuality, we have to recognize that regardless of your views on gender, we must respect all people, as every person in this country and around the world has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
As young citizens, we need to understand that it is essential to respect one another and applaud the diversity that characterizes this country — which does not harm anybody in any way. And, we must continue to work together to protect the identities of others. Regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any of the many characteristics that make us human, we all must aspire to live in a society that cherishes mutual respect and uplifts the values of a diverse society.
It takes a lot of courage to be who we truly are in front of the world and it also takes no effort to be respectful of others. For the good of our society and ourselves, we should do both.
This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.