In the context of colonialism, it has always been that the man is strong, the protector. Women are seen as mothers, homemakers, something to be looked at. These are just a few of the typical narratives we hear in Canada.
From an early age, boys and girls are taught how to be boys and girls, so later in life they are prepared to be men, and women. Boys are thrown into blue, with a truck in one hand and a dinosaur in the other, while girls are tossed into a pink dress with a bow in their hair. While neither of these two things are necessarily bad, as identifying with the gender you were assigned at birth is not a bad thing by any means, but it has to be a choice. The problem is that children aren’t getting the option, blue or pink? Dolls or cars? Why not both?
I am a cis woman, meaning that I was born a woman and this is the gender I identify with. However, throughout my life I have made the conscious choice to do things that aren’t maybe what would be considered traditionally “female”, such as music and film choice, playing sports, etc. These choices are not made because I am deliberately wanting to go “against” my gender, they are choices that I feel reflect who I am as a person.
It’s important to disrupt the myth of binary gender, that there are only two options, and that you must conform to the one assigned to you at birth. This notion is absolutely ridiculous, in that it steals the freedom of expression and thought from a person. And it’s not just conformation to gender that is seen as a normative narrative, but also that of women being seen as lesser than men. This is an issue which is blatant and obvious in our society. However, because women gain one victory, such as the right to vote, or an equal cabinet of men and women in our government, we don’t see it as an issue which needs attention or a solution.
In Canada, we speak of freedom and freedom of expression as a value we hold dear, but we don’t always see it this way when it comes specifically to gender. Why have we progressed in other areas and not this? How can we claim equal opportunity for all, but not women? Or those part of the LGBTQ2 community? What can we do to further the progression of equality for all, not just cis men? These are questions we must ask, and dialectic we must take part in if we want to truly achieve the “Canadian” values of equality, opportunity, and freedom of expression for all.