Opinion: Blurring gender norms is the future, get used to it

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Camila Villarreal

Coppell High School senior Xander Davila wears makeup in protest of restrictive gender norms. The Sidekick executive editorial page editor Camila Villarreal explains why different forms of self expression should be accepted by society.

Camila Villarreal, Executive Editorial Page Editor

Ah, gender norms. The deeply-rooted cog of the normal society clock. Men like blue, women like pink and the most radicalized anyone wants to get beyond that is seeing a woman in basketball shorts and a man in a romper.

When people decide to experiment with their self-expression in a way that diverts from the norm, it creates so much fuss. The world is so judgmental over that which is foreign, rare and unpredictable. 

Take, for example, men wearing makeup. On women, it’s almost expected. Of course they’d be wearing a little lipstick and some blush. But if a man – who, if you’ll notice, also has a face capable of beholding a fabulous smoky eye – does the same thing, it inspires a reaction similar to being slapped in the face.

Why? Why do we care so much about what other people are doing? Who even established these expectations?

If you can’t find an answer right away, it’s probably because there isn’t a good one. Men have been wearing makeup for all sorts of reasons since 4000 BCE. Roman men back in 700 BCE wore togas, a variation of a dress. Heck, even Jesus wore something similar. 

“Society hurts people by trying to fit them into one box or the other,” Coppell High School senior Ikarus Smith said. “Gender norms have changed a lot as time goes on. History proves it.”

Just because something isn’t common doesn’t mean it’s bad. That’s the kind of mindset that limits society from advancing its ideologies. It’s the kind of mindset that would have been against women fighting for equality, countries battling for their independence and people of color struggling for their right to live peacefully in a predominantly white society. 

“A lot of people have grown up in conservative homes and most of their lives have been dictated by what gender they are,” CHS senior Xander Davila said. “People need to realize that we are in a new age and with a new age comes new ideas.

Gender norms are a useless component of our everyday lives. We gain nothing from adhering to them, so if men want to put on ball gowns, if women want to shave their heads and if nonbinary people want to – well, exist – who cares? No one is forcing you to wear the ball gown or shave your head or have a different gender expression.

Who cares?

People need to realize that we are in a new age and with a new age comes new ideas.”

— Xander Davila

Actually, there is one person who really seemed to care back in November. Conservative commentator Candance Owens criticized musician Harry Styles for appearing on the cover of Vogue in a dress, connecting the “feminization of men” to Marxism and claiming it as an outright attack. Attack on what exactly, we may never know. It sparked controversy between those who care about what other people are doing with their lives and those who do not. 

I often hear people talk about how feminine men are weak men. According to these people, what makes a man weak is femininity, and, following the same line of reasoning they so adamantly defend, if “normal women” are feminine, then women are weak. 

I’ll say it again. This is the kind of mindset that limits society from advancing. It proves that we have so much work to do in regards to equality amongst genders. 

“Candance Owens wears suits quite often herself, and that just proves how hypocritical people like her can be,” CHS senior Elena Hewitt said. “It can be difficult to put ourselves in other people’s heads, but I would challenge anyone who agrees with Owens to think about how, if we are able to have such incredible diversity in other areas of society, we can also show that diversity in how we express our gender and sex.”

Owens, if everyone thought the same way as you, you wouldn’t have the platform to speak on anything. It’s about time we come to terms with the fact that clothing is just clothing, makeup is just makeup and being different should not come with its own set of normalities. 

In your life, you’ll meet hundreds of people who look, think and act nothing like you, and there’s quite literally nothing you can do about it.

So deal with it. 

Follow Camila Villarreal (@fliipthewriter) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.