It seems to me, although I haven't been around for all that long, that in modern society, gender roles are being disintegrated. No longer do we have men and women. There is almost no such thing as the traditional man and woman. Gender is far more fluid. I picked up the paper this morning to find an article about an exhibit in my local museum.
The exhibition explores the intimacies, complexities and nuances of gender diversity through a collection of portrait photographs and films... [The photographer says] "There are these terms like transgender, transsexual, fa'afafine, hermaphrodite or intersex, as well as drag kings and drag queens, but within those boxes, every person's way of identifying their gender is unique. Not everyone fits neatly into these catagories. Although sometimes it's challenging, I try not to assume anything about anyone's gender identity or, in fact, anything about them.
In my opinion, this is quite an insightful statement. We no longer have solid gender roles in today's world. There are gays, lesbians, bisexuals. There are people who dress like the opposite sex. If one desires, there is surgery readily avaliable which can physically alter you to "become" the other sex, though I think gender and sexuality run deeper than the anatomical details of the person. Increasingly, straight men are beginning to wear make-up.
I found this online article about straight teenage girls kissing eachother:
The writer of the article says that this "trend" is a result of female celebrities doing the same thing. This may be, and probably is, true, but I also think it is a result of a relaxation of sexual boundaries in recent times. I even have a friend, confidently heterosexual, who has kissed other guys at parties.
The writer clearly believes that sexual experimentation in teenage girls is a bad thing. Being part of the youngest generation able to have an intelligent opinion, I can definitely say that this is not the case, and that any objection to lesbian activity is probably a result of societal biases of the writer's generation, which is certainly older than mine. My generation has few, or at least far less of the biases that previous generations have held. Educated people of my age mostly have no problems with race or sexuality. I don't think anyone my age that I know is racist. Although we sometimes make jokes about race, they are always in good humour. I, personally, have friends from a large number of races. Sexuality is less accepted. To be called "gay" is still an insult, but I think if you asked people, you would find that most of them genuinely don't have any biases against gays. They are just people. This is the age of acceptance, and we are the children of the age. Ultimately everyone older than us have larger biases, whether they like it or not. Even my own parents, both very educated, intelligent, fair and good people, have shown signs of discrimantion towards both race and sexuality, although they are South African.
So I think that although some societal boundaries should be maintained, such as those between family members, the fact that the boundaries between sexes are being weakened is not really a bad thing. It allows us greater freedom to become what we are in essence, without fear of ostricism or discrimination. Up until now, strong roles have been needed in families and in society for strong structure. However, this is the new world, and things work differently now. Things are more fluid, but you could almost say that fluidity is
the strucure of today. Women are not limited to being housewives, and people are not limited to their gender or sexuality.
Going back to the article about girls kissing, I don't think that it is just a trend which will fade away in a few months. If anything, I think this is just the beginning. The world is heading in one direction, which could be described as liberal. Discrimination is dying, for race, religion, sexuality and gender. Animal rights are increasingly being advocated for. We are entering a new age of scientific discovery and clarity of thought. The question is, where are we heading? I certainly don't claim to know the answer, but I can say one thing:
This is a good start.