Gender Stereotypes: Do you subscribe to, or challenge, them?

A couple of weeks ago, a blogger friend tagged me for a Not So (Wo)Manly challenge.

The original tagger called this "Sinners Against Gender Stereotypes" and explained it, thus:
Please list at least ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to. The tag is called ‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’. And you must tag twelve blogging friends or else you will be cursed to wear blue pants if you are a woman and pink shirts if you are a man – for next twelve years.

I'll point out two things at the outset:
1. I'm not a big fan of the word "sin." And using it in this context is a little offputting to me, since the lifestyle I've chosen and the individual I am is not a result of my sins against anything. It's just who I am.

2. I won't tag 12 blogging friends, but I invite you -- man or woman -- to share your experiences/anecdotes of ways in which you've charted a path for yourself that's against conventional ideologies of what men and women should ascribe to.

Also, bear in mind that I am, in now way, saying I’m better than other members of my gender who subscribe to the stereotypes that abound. I’m just sharing with you who I am. Take it or leave it. That said, here are some stories from my life that expound on this topic:

1. I never played "house." While many four-year old girls around me brought out their utensil sets pretending to have tea parties and elaborate dinners, I sought to play doctor or lawyer or mechanic. Ladles and saucepans bored me. So did dolls. I was more intrigued by board games and building blocks.

2. I'm competitive. To a fault. Most women I know give in when it comes to their loved ones. Not me. Stubborn as a mule, I will not let up on my position even for my mom. (Sometimes, especially if it's my mom.) I like to win and I don't believe in conceding for "the greater good." If you don't have the chops to play fair and play hard, then don't play with me. Also, don't be a crybaby when you've lost.

3. I like speed. If I were in India, I'd say speeding, too. I wasn't ever reckless, but enjoyed the thrill that comes with weaving in and out of traffic and pushing one's vehicle to the limit. It's such a great adrenalin rush. Don't think I'll ever drive again in India (and yes I conform to the laws here even at 2 a.m.), but I do want to drive down the Autobahn once before it gets regulated.

4. I don't fancy malls. Almost every woman I have known loves spending time in the malls or doing window shopping in "boutiquey" towns. I can't stand it. And I don't understand it. Why would you want to tire yourself walking for endless hours inside an air-conditioned enclosed structure when you could be out there taking in beautiful views hiking up a mountain? Retail therapy is lost on me completely. Read my confessions of the "non-feminine" kind here.

5. I talk straight. I won't say "you know...the male part..." coyly. It's a penis. And it's fine to say that word. So, is saying breasts or clitoris or vagina. They're all body parts. Get over it already!

6. I do not know my fabrics (organza, cotton, chiffon, polyester – they’re all the same to me). I also do not know my castes, religions, or religious observances. And I certainly do not fast unless ordered by a doctor.

7. I won't allow you to shut me up in the name of our culture. I have a voice and a distinct identity ... just because you think I am supposed to be a demure, shy, spoke-only-when-you're-spoken-to domestic servant, doesn't mean you're going to get that from me. I am all for respecting our elders, but don't expect to use your age as a way to dictate to me who I should be. You'll be disappointed.

8. I don’t like manicures, pedicures, facials, or waxing. I get the last one done only because I am borderline hirsute (at least I think that) and the monthly ritual makes me feel clean.

9. I will not use my womanly charm to get anything done or receive favors. I rely on my intellect, sharp wit and occasional humor. Also, I’m a big fan of earnest hard work and equality.

10. I believe in myself. I don’t need a male figure to tell me how good I am. I already know.

I could go on and on, but it’s time I pass the mic.

What do you have to share?

P.S. This post can also be found on Desicritics -- hop on over to see the comments there. Also, if you're so inclined, there is a Facebook group dedicated to Sinners Against Gender Stereotypes.

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Tags: gender, society, stereotype, women

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Comment by Judaye Streett on October 22, 2010 at 7:06am
1. I enjoy a very short hair length.
2. Pantyhose make me sweat and itch.
3. Fascinated by snakes.
4. Only like to shop for used or discounted books.
5. Prefer polish free short nails.
6. I like to get to the point when I speak.
7. Have most of my body hair.
8. It is fun to cut the grass.
9. Interested in insects.
10. Can shoot a gun.
11. Love driving fast but cannot afford it.
12. Former Marine.
So grateful to have been born a woman.

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