Psych 353 Dixon
When I imagine waking up as the opposite gender, it makes me almost gleeful for the opportunity, which speaks on the current position that my actual gender carries in society, while also being informative of the certain expectations and oppressions in life circumstances that I have encountered as a woman and a minority. I am a cisgender female, so I will be speaking on the expectations and role of being a cis-gendered male. Although I believe that the genders are more alike than they are different, in that small sliver of nuance there are enough differences that have created a whole host of stereotypes, constructs, and characteristics that have both positive and negative consequences.
As a woman, society has activated category-based expectations that default to judgement about my looks and the worth I have as a support system for the man. Though I may have a brain and have opinions of my own, it is secondary to what I look like and how nice and affable I am. My value of who I am is traded upon my looks, rather than my mind. Instead of having assumptions that lean towards competency, I am left to have to convince you of my worth as a person.
As a man, I would behave in the traditionally straight sex-typed role that society has ascribed to me. Some elements that are accepted of being a heterosexual man are: strong, aggressive, tall, courageous, tough, emotionless, insensitive, and fearless. Men should not be submissive and should be prepared to fight for what they want in life. They should physically defend themselves and choose careers that are considered masculine and have hobbies such as smoking, drinking, fast driving, and chasing girls.
Being a man would mean that I don’t have to worry about being physically taken advantage of, in fact, I would be the one that would more than likely start fights and get into altercations. I would go through the world with a sense of entitlement because my parents and by extension society has tacitly informed me that I can do pretty much what I want. This runs counter to the message that I get as a minority woman of having to be kind and docile and seen-but-not-heard. Membership to the male gender would change my life in such dramatic ways that it couldn’t possibly be quantified. From birth, the difference in upbringing would be subtle but different enough. Female children are socialized to be likable, and that our worth is based on our looks and how perfect we present ourselves. Male children are socialized to be strong and forthright, to go forward into life and be a go-getter. As the years pass by, the difference between gender roles of a male child and female child would slowly grow ever larger.
Everything from personal relationships, be it romantic or platonic, to work relationships would change dramatically. I would be expected to fit into traditional gender role attitudes, to be more domineering and masculine. This would come across in many ways, in romantic relationships, and in this case a heterosexual relationship, I would chase the woman and not be dissuaded by rejection. I would be able to sleep around and be promiscuous without the stigma that women have if they do the same, especially in our current political climate where blatant sexual assault and misogyny against women is seen as dismissible. If I was a man, I wouldn’t have to worry about being harassed, cat-called, nor have my life potentially on the line every time I go out late at night. I could date multiple women at the same time and not worry about becoming emotionally attached. I would be less in touch with my emotions, not be overly effusive and be less emotionally volatile because they are traits that are not valued when it comes to men. Within platonic relationships, I would be just “one of the guys,” meaning that I would go to bars to watch sports, drink beers with my buddies and talk about how hot the waitresses are.
This imbalance of opportunities and more freedom from stigmas would also transition into the work environment. Men have always held more positions of power within corporations, and I could easily work myself up the corporate ladder, and more doors will open for me just because I’ll be given more opportunities and responsibilities that have been defaulted in my favor. I will automatically have my opinions and contributions carry more weight and be more valued. I would be expected to be the primary breadwinner in a family, to be a leader and to be agentic in how I approach both my personal and professional life.
Different cultural expectations would also come into play within the genders. I come from two different cultures, being raised both Asian and American. Being a woman on both sides have given me a certain perspective that I think is not necessarily unique but encompasses what it means to be intersectional in the gender conversation in this day and age. Asian women are assumed to be quiet and invisible, or as sexualized objects. As an Asian-American man, I would be stereotyped as quiet, studious, and de-sexualized. It’s interesting to note that