Gender, Diversity, and Humanity
Artwork by Taiaba Binte Amin
I love these gliding men with their vibrant presence. They wear pink, yellow, orange, and their hearts on their sleeves. They are passionate; they smile and cry, they respect and stay patient without a taint on their not-so-fragile masculinity. Some meet their traditionally masculine expectations but gently and with the utmost care, some proudly take on traditionally non-masculine roles as they please, they do not shy away from extending their helping hands and ask for it when in need.
If sensitivity is feminine, I love my men feminine. It’s refreshing to see them take care of themselves and their families. Yes, they take care of their mind and body, and that is not reserved for any one gender variant in particular. They put thought into their health and hygiene.
They consider it their responsibility to split their household chores. No more are they mere walled-in heads of the households devoid of any emotion, they are friendly fathers who mentor and curve the mentally wholesome humans of the next generation, and loving husbands who pamper the mothers of their kids to lead by example. Sometimes they take up the role of full-time stay-at-home fathers while their wives have full-time jobs.
Rolled eye-brows can barely make them second guess putting the welfare of their families first. They take their kids to school; they cook, clean, and become full-time nurturers. These are the strong men with no frail male ego to feed and the world is a better place for their existence.
They are nurses, caregivers, weavers, sewers, gardeners, drag queens, fashionistas, make-up artists, dancers, chefs, homemakers, school teachers, supportive best friends, and one woman men; they dress up for occasions or rock cute pajamas at home, they watch romantic movies and series with their wives and sob at emotional scenes. They openly appreciate their wives without fearing the “effeminate” tag neither they consider it defamatory. They are proud of their wives’ achievements without feeling the maddening need to match them to avoid feeling inferior.
They marry older or higher educated or “more successful” or financially more affluent women without batting an eye to social mainstreams. They follow their heart and they marry for love. They are not afraid to flaunt their frowned-upon “feminine” side either; they embrace and celebrate it. Feminine does not automatically equal an inferior, weaker, or subordinate race/cast. And considering the female body a piece of meat to be devoured is not the part and parcel of masculinity anymore.
Many men nowadays, initiate and live equality without feeling the need to call themselves feminists or so forth. They care and that sets them apart from the emotionally damaged stereotypical men portraying toxic masculinity.
I love my women talkative, decisive, and headstrong. They go out into the world; study, write, sing, dance, and follow their dreams. But first and foremost, they strive for happiness and personal wellbeing. They travel the world, paint, play sports, meditate, cook, and whatnot. They do them for fun or take them up as careers. They can take as much time as they want to decide on their careers and love life; they can change their minds, switch or defy the societal pressures weighing on them. If steadfastness is masculine, I want my women masculine.
They are today’s presidents, prime ministers, advocates, policymakers, doctors, engineers, gamers, coders, designers, business tycoons, detectives, police officers, shop owners, authors, actors, comedians, rappers, teachers, researchers, academics, scientists, astronauts, farmers, inventors, bodybuilders, professional sportswomen, pilots, navy seals, army persons, ship captains, taxi drivers as well as nurses, caregivers, and homemakers; they are strong and kind at the same time. They are not afraid to speak up about their troubles, fears, and shortcomings so that they can work towards overcoming them. Their ability to share their vulnerabilities is their greatest strength and it makes the rest of them feel included and their troubles, relevant.
Getting married and bearing kids are not the sole purpose of their existence anymore and nobody can tell them that it is. They choose what they want their lives to be and when they want change. They may marry a guy, a girl, or any gender or sexuality in between or they may not marry at all. They may want kids or not. They may carry the child in their womb to fulfill their dream of having a biological kid, turn to surrogacy or adopt or all of the above.
They may choose to be single mothers and juggle career and motherhood all at once. They may have glowing credentials without giving up on their nurturing side. Some may be less nurturing or domesticated or soft-spoken as in less “feminine” in their ways and learn not to consider it their shortcoming, rather play to their strengths.
Nurturing may be deemed quintessentially feminine but we need this in every human being moreover, have no right to incriminate women for not being feminine enough. They can have the freedom to wear what they want, live where and how they want, learn self-defense, and not put all their self-esteem and respectability in one tiny insertion in their bodies to be violated.
Men stand by the women to ensure the human rights they deserve and women help their male counterparts to open up and be the affectionate and caring men of now. It was always meant to be a joint effort to better one another and thrive together. Some celebrate roles assigned to them, some break free and hover over every scale of masculinity and/or femininity in between; they set their own standards. Some take on traditionally masculine/feminine roles and excel, some strike a fine balance, some struggle initially in unique paths but persevere, they excel and find themselves for real.
They rise above the stigmas and rewrite the norms of their gender roles as the versatile spectrum gender should be. Gender is not the limit; gender is a mere blueprint of how people had to live their lives on society’s terms up until now. Science has made available all proven theories and facts necessary to aid in the possibility of more than two gender variants to roam the earth since the beginning of time. With all the knowledge and wisdom come one unshakable responsibility.
The only acceptable way of living for the present-day humans is to be well rounded happy human beings who are psychologically equipped to care about more than their selfish needs. They should be able to take the good and avoid the bad from both these socially credible gender identities and foster an inclusive mindset that appreciates diversity in every sphere of human life including gender itself.
In this day and age, gender and sexuality can stop being boxes too chokingly small to fit into. They are the colors of the rainbow and every other color in between. You can abide by the gender norms, transcend them, or take them apart as you see fit. Most importantly, you love yourself, be happy, and spread positivity. You love others as they are and coexist in harmony. You accept yourself and others with their similarities and differences and celebrate each other’s uniqueness, hand in hand.
You work together to heal humanity that has been damaged emotionally and psychologically by the strict limitations and burdening stereotypes imposed on it; march side by side to repair the planet that has been considered second to human interests for long now. We should have enough room in our hearts to fit the interests and wellbeing of every living and non-living being that make the earth possible and keep it functioning.
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