Tag Archives: discrimination

Real Men Also Wear Makeup and High Heels

Today, the topic of this article is going to be something which is also quite personal to me, and a topic which I am seemingly incessantly getting into arguments over conservative people about. Getting straight to the point: that topic is gender roles.

The more you pay attention to them, the more you realize that they surround many aspects of our life and dictate what behaviours are appropriate for us to perform, and conversely, which behaviours aren’t appropriate for us. From a young age, we are branded with a code of behaviour:

“Boys like blue, girls like pink.”
“Boys like cars.”
“Boys have to be tough.”
“Be a man.”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Real men do ______.”

All you have to do is walk into a toy store, and the dichotomy of gender roles is branded clear as day. Laced along one aisle, everything is pink and purple indicating for the girls to play with dolls. The other aisle is blue with toy cars and toy trucks, signaling the toys that the boys are to play with.
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If a boy wants to buy a doll because he is interested in dressing them up due to his interest in fashion, he is ostracized as a freak and it is seen as an odd behaviour. And so, from a young age, society indoctrinates children to believe that because you were born a certain gender, your genitalia then define the way you behave, and even the things you are supposed to like.

If who you are corresponds to this construction, and you have grown up to be the ‘tough, emotionless’ ideal of a male, then you probably have not thought much of this. But for someone like me who is of the ‘feminine’, it is a set of ideals that go against many aspects of the person who I want to be, and for it I have faced ostracism. The fact that I don’t fit to this construction then forces me to think of this construction on a daily basis. Why is it constructed? What substance does it actually have behind it? The factors behind these questions are going to be some of the discussion of this article.

But first, where would my manners be if I didn’t introduce some aspects of myself:
I choose to wear skinny pants and tight clothing.
I choose to wear jewelry.
I choose to say words like ‘dear’, ‘hon’, ‘love’ to refer to people
I choose to wear 5 inch heels.
I choose to wear makeup.
I choose to wear perfumes labelled in the ‘ladies’ section.

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Lady Gaga’s Fame is a particular favourite of mine when it comes to fragrances.

With regards to the aforementioned points listed, before I go on, I bet that some people are going to immediately, right off the bat, go “Oh but he’s gay, that’s expected.” BUT truthfully:

Actions such as these should not correlate with my sexuality. Just because I am sexually attracted to men, it does not mean validate my behaviours to be allowed outside of a gender role construction and forced within a narrow-minded stereotype.

The fact that I do the aforementioned has people assume that I am gay, and this just shows the unhealthy effects that this dichotomy places upon our society. If I were a heterosexual, I imagine I would have it a lot worse off (whoa, did Thommy Dee just mention a situation where heterosexuals would have it worse off?!?!). In that situation, people would assume my sexuality as homosexual and mistake it just because I feel more comfortable with myself wearing shoes with heels on them (makes my butt look nice and round), or giving my skin a clearer look by using a good foundation and other cosmetics.

People should not have to validate their gender by performing a set of actions which have little to no proper meaning behind them.

I’ve had many experiences of people I know attempt to assert the conventional gender roles upon me. If I don’t follow these actions which society has made, actions which have no real substance behind them in proving that I am in fact a man, then these people think that something is wrong with me. In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong. I look down, I have a penis. Yep. Lovely. I’m a male. Simple as that. No code of behaviours beyond that should have to prove that something is there that I already know is there JUST BY LOOKING.

Arguments generally look like this:
“It’s weird for you to wear makeup.”
No it isn’t.
“Yes, it is.”
What is telling you that?
“It just isn’t normal?”
Once again, what is telling you that.
“Society. People just don’t do it.”
So a construction made by society makes it wrong. Okay. Beyond that, why is it wrong?
“Boys just don’t do it.”
And why is that?
“Because it’s weird. Society.”
And as you can see, as it is a construction with no proper substance behind it, basically all the arguments I have come across follow this circular argument going nowhere.

Going back within the depths of my memory (quite recent though), I have had men tell me that they would date me if I didn’t “dress like a girl”, as they basically put it.
And this guy whom I met up with, who seemed properly interested in me, said he wouldn’t kiss me because he “doesn’t kiss girls”.

And then last year I had a couple of friends try and push me to act more “normal” as they put it: To not wear cosmetics, and dress exactly like the other men where I live do: wearing chinos and buttonup shirts and snapbacks.

When I ran out of foundation and met up with them, I was treated like a dog who had just learned how to sit for the first time.
These latent attempts of manipulation pissed me off. Just because the way someone presents themselves doesn’t follow a ridiculous hollow construction of a dichotomous nature, it doesn’t make it any less valid. 

Plus the dichotomy set up through gender roles in the modern world is a factor towards gender inequality, but that’s a topic a whole other article could be written on.

The media does not help this, either. Even when you have seemingly grown up past the gender dichotomy, it is still prevalent in the adult world. Putting flame in the problem, Father’s day and Mother’s day advertising is just a rampant cavalcade of assigned gender roles. The below advertisements (catalogues) are examples of this.

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You will see that for father’s day, advertising is generally of hardware tools. And then for mother’s day, it is cosmetics, jewelry, spas and domestic ware. Basically, men are forced to the shed to play with their tools and to fix up their cars, and women are forced to the kitchen.

Furthermore, this culture of a male having to be tough, and unable to show their emotion has shown time and time again to bring upon destructive side effects.  Men aren’t supposed to cry. It is odd for men to show emotion. They are weak if they show emotion.
NO.
It is healthy to cry and show emotion. And in a society such as this one, where one’s roles and expectations are decided by their gender, and men having to be tough and suppress their emotion, it may damage their psyche. And suppressed emotion becomes anger. And anger becomes aggression. And this may be one reason why crimes of homicide and assault and rape are committed by men a lot more than they are committed by women.

Whilst on the topic of crime, the looks I get just for expressing myself outside the bounds of gender conformity make it seem like I’m committing a crime. I wait for the day I can walk in public in my 5-inch heeled ankle boots and my makeup and not have people stop walking in public just to take a few minutes to process the defiance of the transparent construction of gender roles.

I should not have to feel any discomforts or worries in public that I may get beaten or attacked just because I choose to act and present myself in a way that isn’t in the ways of “being a real man”.

I could say a LOT more on this topic, but to keep it simple: I have a penis. Therefore, whilst I put on my makeup and zip up my 5-inch heeled ankle boots, I’m just as much as a valid male as a sports player, a businessman or a mechanic, or a tradie.

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Get used to it.

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Go to university, they said. It’s the best time of your life, they said.

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Whilst I sit here, in the midst of studying for my exams (and also learning words and sentence structures in Mandarin, which I study outside of university – 我要喝什么?), I just cannot help but think of the past year and a half which has comprised my experience at university. I remember my first day of classes, spend half an hour trying to find the rooms where each of my lectures were held. Everything seemed so fresh, and new, and invigorating, and I was too shy to talk to anyone in any of my classes, but yet dying to say hello to the person next to me in any of my lectures to make new friends (I had shit friends in year 12 who forgot I even breathed as soon as I graduated – and my friends from my other high school in years 7-11 go to different universities or are in high school still).

*sigh* I wish now that I could still have that optimism. In the past 15 months of having a university education, my hope for humanity, my look on the world, and my enjoyment of tertiary education has slowly been spiraling downhill.
No, it is not what I am studying. I LOVE what I am studying. Linguistics is amazing. I love learning Japanese at university and Mandarin outside of university, and my subjects in my Asian Studies major are amazing too. So it is not that at all, as I am always in fascination and inspiration about what I learn. But, so then, what it is?

Part of the reason is the people. At this point I will proceed to outline some of the problems I have faced with the community and culture at university and how it has not made me feel very welcome or happy when I go onto campus and begin to think about people.


University: High School 2.0?

At university, the students are quite adamant on making people think that they have moved on from the bitch dramas and immaturity of high school. But I don’t know if it’s the fact that a lot of university students are still a bunch of entitled overgrown teenagers still living with their parents; but anyway. I’ve noticed that this “passed high school” mentality results in an inflated ego and a sense of elitism that spreads across a lot of students who go to university. But alongside that, I’ve noticed from the way a lot of students at university behave,

They still behave like teenagers, not young adults. 

You still get the students in university who are like “Oh my god, _____ is such a bitch. Did you know what she did at that party over the weekend? [Insert overstressed voiceless velar fricative here]”
Half of my god-damn psychology lectures, I was surrounded by this banter.

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But I dropped out of Psychology after first year for Asian Studies and Linguistics, so it’s all good :3

Then you have the university students who are gym-obsessed and who only stay around other people like that. You also get the university students who judge others for how skinny they are, and then you get the university students who judge others on their grades, their IQ (which isn’t even a measure of intelligence that’s as great as everyone thinks), their socio-economic status (I will get into this soon), or even their ethnicity.

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I’ve even had people judge me for the way I’ve conducted myself in some of my tutorials. If you’ve read in my previous blog post, I have not exactly had the best mental health this semester. In one tutorial, I was asked a question, I couldn’t answer it, and I didn’t want the attention on me because I felt genuinely shit that day. Then an hour after that class, I was walking around campus when I overheard two girls murmuring to each other “Ahaha, it’s that weird idiot in class who was asked that question.”
I’m not sure about you, but to me that sounds like the way a bunch of ‘popular’ fifteen year old girls behave. Get the fuck over yourself.

Subtle Discrimination

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been avoided on the basis on my social class or my ethnicity. I’m going to sound like an elitist by saying this happens when I’m a Caucasian. But it DOES. I go out of my effort to make friends with the internationals and make them feel welcome. I love learning about new cultures, coming across new people, and making friends with them. But half of the time, I’m received with weird looks, and then slowly pushed out of the conversation, and then ignored. Also, in my tutorials, when it comes to group projects (especially in Japanese), or group exercises in class, the international students avoid having me in their groups. I don’t know if it’s because as a white Australian, I’m just going to be innately bad at learning an Asian language. I don’t know. But it makes me feel like shit. I’m sick of it. I even had one international from southern China in one of my tutorials speak to me loudly and slowly because he thought I had a mental condition. Thanks.
Oh, and the time last year in Japanese I was laughed at when I suggested to the class that I was going to start a study group. That was amazing. Thanks for that, too.

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Then you get it on the other side too, sometimes. And it makes internationals feel like they don’t belong.

It even happens in one of my subjects from the faculty, I suspect, but I’m not going to go into that.


Elitism

I’m sure it isn’t that common in other universities, but I go to a university that continually boasts itself to be the best university in the country from ranking surveys and the like. Therefore, you get a lot of people who want to validate their egos by pointing out of the fact that they go to a university of this calibre. On facebook pages about the university, like confession pages and meme pages, that are operated by students (most likely), you often find confessions, memes or comments that are insulting other universities, or degrading the traits and intelligence of those who go to other universities. It makes me really angry. It’s made me quite bitter towards a lot of the people who go to the university I do and like to make a scene of it.
Get the fuck over yourselves.


Tutorials

It’s not the tutorials as a whole that I hate. But there’s three things I hate about the tutorials I attend. The first is the fact all the students remain silent and are not interactive. The second is that in every tutorial there is that one entitled annoying person who never shuts up, and thinks that everything he/she says is honours material and liquid gold oozing out into the air around them.

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Thirdly is the fact that all the students are latently judging everything you say. If you say something wrong or not up to their mental standards, then chances are you will be avoided and deemed as the ‘class idiot’. Even if you ask questions. Which leads back to the first point of everyone remaining quiet in a tutorial. This could be solved if we all grew up.


University is FUN if you’re poor!!!!!! Ahahaha NOT

University students have the stereotype of being poor. But then, there are balls that come up that cost money, there’s events that cost money, then a good half of the events on campus that are social basically cost money. So it means that if you are to have a social life on campus, you have to have money. If you don’t; well then you’re like me sitting at home writing angry spiteful envious blog posts about university.

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I would like to attend some of the events, but it simply can’t happen because I’m not in the financial situation, and I haven’t been for a while, to be able to afford to go to events like that. Even if it’s club events that are $20. For that, my social life has probably suffered and I’m seen as some pathetic person who cannot get his life together.

And a lot of the people I go to university with are people who are in stable upper-middle class families, or people who are from rich families overseas. So they can easily afford to go to dinners and watch movies, and travel to places with their friends. When it comes to me, I’m never invited for the reason I’m too poor. So I’m never really invited to things. And a lot of them lack the understanding to know what it’s like for a university student from a lower class/working class family who got kicked out of home and is trying to make it on his own.

Sometimes it does seriously feel like I’m being discriminated by some omnipotent educational force for being the person of the social class that I am.

“Sorry, I’m busy with studying.”
I am aware that lot of people are usually busy with studying. But more than actually studying, people have been saying it as a reason to not have me speak to them. To all those people. FUCK YOU!  (yes I am swearing a lot in this article, delicious). When you say that, and then TWO HOURS LATER YOU POST UP PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK OF A WHOLE GROUP OF PEOPLE I TALK TO WITHOUT ME THERE.

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Then, you have the fucking nerve to say “hello” to me as you pass me on campus. The only thing stopping me from spitting on your face are the mints inside my mouth, which I paid for, falling out and I’d have wasted some of my few dollars on you. You’re not worth that.

You have no idea how bad and excluded that has actually made me feel. I’m not sure if it happens to many people at university. But it happens to me so many fucking times. It’s gone to the point I’m not going to continue visiting one of the clubs I’ve been visiting for two semesters because I’ve just made to feel excluded and as if I’m not going to make any friends there.

Also, the excuse of timetables clashing and between classes and outside of classes not being able to see each other is bullshit. It basically translates to “I can’t be fucked being your friend but I’ll pull you along anyway.”

It’s for these reasons that part of me has just given up on making connections with other people.

IN CONCLUSION
So, in essence. I am fed up with the culture at university. I’m sick of trying to put effort into friendships with people who aren’t interested or who aren’t even going to try. I’m sick of walking around campus and going to classes and feeling judged and disadvantaged because I haven’t had an as fortunate life as most students up until then. The only friends I have on campus a lot of the time are my textbooks. I’m sick of people telling me that “University are the best years of your life.”

Well, no, sometimes it seriously feels like they aren’t.

tl;dr – The people and culture at uni can be a manwhores.