Don T Pigeonhole Me Analysis

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Don’t Pigeonhole Me: The Problems of Binaries in the Holistic Understanding of Gender
By Pranadewi Amarindra

It is impossible to navigate through everyday life without encountering gendered social relations. This is because gender is the focus of many of society’s arrangements, and is one of the primary features of modern societal institutions (Goffman 1977). These encounters of gender are often seen in the relational performance of gender norms (Crawley, Foley & Shehan 2007). Gender norms represent a collection of traditional beliefs held by a society or culture about how men and women should present themselves in public. Gender norms are an enduring social construct as they are legitimated through the upholding the society’s shared beliefs (Crawley, Foley & Shehan 2007). The dichotomous relationship between masculinity and femininity dictates the behaviours and activities that men and women can and cannot do (Crawley, Foley & Shehan 2007). In Western
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2014). As Brinkman et al. (2014) found, children who are aware that they are acting in contrast to prescribed gender norms do that to claim their agency and individuality. When children judge other children’s enjoyment in partaking in activities that are inconsistent with their gender identity, for example, boys playing with Barbie dolls and toy kitchens, they view the behaviour positively (Blakemore 2003). New developmental research thus suggests that binary gender norms are not natural, but are social constructs that are learned through social influence (Brinkman et al. 2014; Crawley, Foley & Shehan 2007). These studies on children highlight the inadequacies of the binary nature of gender norms, as they prevent alternative ideas from emerging as it controls individuality and body

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