Yes to Cinnamon Rolls, No to Gender Roles—a Talk It Out Session
Gender roles are both societal and personal. They aim to dictate how men and women should interact, dress, and think within society. These gender representations become stereotypes for masculinity and femininity. They reinforce the existence of binary genders, ignoring the existence of a variety of others. Do gender stereotypes determine an individual’s identity? Should they be allowed to define a person’s individuality? These are some of the pertinent questions that participants of the most recent Talk It Out session, conducted by Blank 101 and LoT Manipal on 27 November 2020 via Google Meets, attempted to answer.
Blank 101 and Leaders of Tomorrow have hosted several ‘Talk It Out’ events in the past, including conversations on capital punishment, epidemics, and even gender fluidity. Sreeram Warrier, a moderator for the session on Gender Roles said, “Talk It Out is an open discussion forum where every participant is free to speak out their thoughts and opinions on the agenda being discussed. The main point of it is to increase knowledge on the topic being talked about whilst improving our communication and speaking skills.” Revolving around the controversy of gender roles in society and their implications on men and women, this was an event that saw the highest ever online turnout, with thirty-six people tuning in from their homes.
The interactive session commenced with a brief introduction of the topic and provided participants with basic knowledge ranging from the difference between sex and gender to current stereotypes and inequality. Participants then began discussing the foundational problem of gender roles that stems from the understanding and enforcement of these roles, rather than due to the opportunities being provided. “Social traits follow a negative cycle wherein parents begin by giving their sons more opportunities, and when their sons grow up to be more successful, they believed that they should give their sons more priority and hence this vicious cycle is endlessly repeated,” said one of the participants. Several participants also talked about gender equality arising from the past. Following that, students conversed about how college and workplaces continue to provide unfair opportunities based on gender.
To conclude the event, there was a round-table discussion, where all the participants discussed a solution for gender discrimination and gender roles on a larger scale. From women continuously being under-represented and undermined in society to men constantly being seen at the top, gender roles and inequality has been one of the most persistent villains of our time. Talk It Out sessions like these can provide the much-needed impetus for us to progress towards a more egalitarian society.
Featured Image Credits: Blank 101