2 basic gender-based cultural standards popped into my head right away. Why? I was bullied by other kids when I was a kid for them. I was influenced by other surrounding kids and began to believe it was “normal.” I wanted to be normal, so I tried to follow them as best as I could.
Clothes- It is a cultural standard for girls to wear feminine clothes like dresses or wear the color pink. For boys, the standard is to wear masculine clothes like truck shirts or baggy shorts. For me, my family was poor, so I could not wear nice dresses or girl clothes. I mostly wore hand-me-downs that were not feminine at all. I would get bullied for wearing a baggy red shirt to school with baggy jeans. I would come home and cry to my mom that I was being picked on. What was a mother to do? She took me shopping and bought me some girl clothes. My favorite was a blue sparkly shirt with butterflies on them, and I wore it a lot. I would then get bullied, saying that I wore it too often and did not have any other clothes. They would make fun of my family being poor. I began to hate the shirt, and my mom was confused why I left it untouched for weeks in my closet. I feel bad for my mom now. She did her absolute best trying to raise 2 girls with what she had. I think these gender-based standards being taught to kids is wrong, and they should be taught to wear what they want.
Toys- It is a cultural standard for girls and boys to play with different kinds of toys. Girls are expected to play with dollhouses, barbies, and other feminine toys. On the other hand, boys are expected to play with hot wheels, toy dinosaurs, and other masculine toys. When I was younger, I loved playing with hot wheels. When I had friends over, they often bullied me for not owning girl toys. I told my mom about this, and she said that I should not change the way I like to play to impress other people. She told me that if a friend could make fun of the way I played, they would not be true friends. This was a big learning point in my life. I think it is sad that kids are being taught what to play with and how to play. If girls want to play in the mud, let them. The same goes for boys. If they want to play with barbies, let them!