In the last couple of years, the Internet has set ablaze the societal “rules” dictating what a woman can do, wear or in general look like. While it is fantastic that society is finally beginning to realize a woman does not have a set place, such as waiting hand and foot for a man in a dress that isn’t too prudishly long, or promiscuously short, it has left out another demographic also struggling under societal rules.
Men, much like women, are bombarded from birth with dictations on what defines the word “man.” Men should like the color blue and playing with monster trucks instead of dolls. If a little boy picks out a toy Barbie, the parent — generally the father — is supposed to be outraged, and discipline their child for such a crime; how dare he play with something that makes him happy?
Children explore what they find interesting. Toys and colors do not check the person’s genitals before allowing them to be used by that person. Parents should not be raising children within society’s baseless guidelines.
Aside from children, adolescents and adults should not feel the need to stay within a mold made by society. There is no true definition of what a person must look like or behave like to be considered a man.
As I type this wearing a shirt I found in the women’s section of H&M, there are no restrictions on what men can wear. I did not suddenly die because a piece of fabric gendered toward women touched my strong manly skin. I did not suddenly begin to feel “like a woman” once I put this shirt on. Instead, every single person I’ve met has told me how good this shirt looks on me.
I am not the only man who refuses to succumb to society’s gender roles. Artists such as Prince and David Bowie push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable for a man to do, garnering praise from the masses.
Prince consistently wore clothes considered to be over the top, and pushed the gender boundaries existing within society. Despite how negative of a reaction society seems to have when any regular individual pushes gender boundaries, Prince went so far as to become a sex symbol. He was a man admired for his music, style and sex appeal, yet he routinely did things that societal norms deem unmanly. The irony is palpable.
The point these artists were trying to make was a simple one, men and boys are not defined by the clothing they wear, the toys they play with or the colors they fancy. Men and boys can be defined by certain biological traits, or by a certain mental setting, but even then nothing about a piece of cloth, color or toy can take away from who someone is. Nothing physical can make a person less of a person, and as a society we should stop feeding into this perception. People have value no matter what they wear.