On Monday, 3 December a group from Dr. Charlotte Haney’s anthropology class conducted a gender identity initiative where various students and faculty were asked to provide their thoughts on gender. They were given open license and allowed to comment however they thought appropriate. Fifty percent of the those surveyed gave a definition for gender and based their definitions on either one’s outward appearance, a predefined role, sex organs, or as determined by cultural norms; the largest percent of this group focused on the category of outward appearance. We saw that while the idea of gender differs among ages variances and ethno-social backgrounds, there was an issue with the ability to accept others for who they identity themselves to be – instead of the way someone else identities them.
Of the remaining 50%, only 16% defined gender in terms of a vision upon which gender identity should be based. The input received included equality, blind acceptance, and personally defined by one’s sense of self. By the remaining 24%, media was recognized as an influencing factor in the identity of gender, thus we thank the Signal for running this article as we strive to bring to the forefront of people’s minds a conscientious thought that gender identity is less about constructed stereotypes or culture, and that it is ok to be accepting of differences.
So let us think and talk, as a community, about other’s viewpoints and rise to the challenge of accepting a view which aligns with, as some surveyed so eloquently phrased it, allowing females and males to do and be anything and anyone they desire which includes traits stereotypically regarded as meant for one based on their sex. As another surveyed expressed, let’s do away with arbitrary labels. Will you meet the challenge of taking the time to look beneath the surface, and embrace diversity?