A Queer Exercise: Gender Roles, Stereotypes, and Expectations Reversed

One helpful thought experiment that raises consciousness around issues of gender and conformity is to have men and women switch places. This humorous exercise really highlights some of the narrow, constricting boxes that are placed on us based on the gender that we are assigned by society. Without this humorous switch, we might not even realize what social world we are swimming in.

For most people, differentiated gender roles provide a familiar and comfortable organizing structure for our social world.  I love these gender roles, and I do not want to abolish them. However, what I do want to do is critique coercive gender roles that are enforced on others with punishment. That does not respect the authenticity, integrity, or agency of fellow children of God. People should be free to be themselves. For some people “being themselves” will conform to normative gender roles, and that’s okay. For others, “being themselves” will not conform to normative gender roles, and that’s okay, too. This diversity  should not be punished by force, social disapproval, or exclusion.

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