In our latest interview, written by the lovely Tara, we spoke to Elise. She discussed the age-old irrationality of gender roles, her favorite gender binary defying activists, dispelling the femininity and masculinity surrounding certain fashion statements/actions, and much more!
Question One: In introducing the subject of our conversation, you’d said “..women should be treated just as men are[,] not only in the workplace[,] but in society..” Could you delve into why the distinction between how women are treated in their workplace versus general society is possibly hypocritical? Are there misconceptions about the way that women are treated in various spaces?
I believe that how women are treated in their workplace vs. how they are treated in general in society is possibly hypocritical because when and if a woman tries to express that she feels she is being treated unfairly or she is uncomfortable in either scenario, she will be called “bitchy,” “rude,” “ungrateful,” and so many more other truly disgusting titles that no one deserves to be called. if a man were to express how he feels, the situation he is struggling with would automatically be fixed to where he is comfortable. i think that is hypocritical in many ways, especially because men are considered to be more “powerful” and “worthy” of MANY things in our world.
Question Two: You seem to be extremely passionate about the irrationality surrounding gender roles, especially since they are prominent in modern day, and have been for centuries. Explain how gender roles are simply a construct, and an unacceptable excuse to discriminate against someone?
I am very passionate about the irrationality surrounding gender roles, and i feel like it’s always been in me to be that way. i feel as though women and men should be treated equally in our world, and i strongly dislike how people are discriminated against/treated differently just because of their gender.
gender roles are a construct in many ways. it’s a belief that has obviously existed for centuries, and i really cannot agree with it. why should someone be treated differently or paid less or more than their colleague because of the fact that they’re male or female? i don’t think there is any sufficient evidence to back up that question, nor should there be. no matter someone’s job, everyone should receive the same amount of pay, because there are people who really could use the money. for example, to support their family. i will say this several more times, we should all be treated the same no matter our gender.
Question Three: Who, or what, have you found to be great resources that are actively de-stigmatizing the defiance of gender roles? If comfortable sharing, has personal experience, perhaps, shaped your beliefs?
I have found jacob bixenman to be a great resource in actively de-stigmatizing the defiance of gender roles. he actively uses his platform to enforce change, whether that be with the blm movement, trans rights, lgbtq rights, women’s rights, you name it, this amazing man is trying to make our world a better place. there have been several photo shoots he’s done for work in which he has dressed in clothes that are “feminine.” for example, in a shoot he did a few months back for jean paul gaultier, there is a photo in which he is pictured wearing a bra, which probably raised a few eyebrows. i’m proud of him for that, because you won’t usually see many men do that! he is defying gender roles by not only doing that, but by doing it proudly. he is pretty much saying “fuck gender roles!” which really makes me happy.
Question Four: In many people, the act of gawking or not tolerating those who are defying gender constructs in public, happens by force. Negativity is ingrained to be associated with ‘looking or acting like the opposite sex’ for no real reason. How does one unlearn these harmful notions and prevent discrimination?
one can unlearn such harmful notions such as the ones you mentioned and prevent discrimination by asking questions to those around them who don’t believe in gender roles, and listening to what they have to say. being open minded and listening to others, especially in this regard, is very important.
Question Five: As mentioned, being ‘characteristic’ of the opposite gender is something that is mainly taboo in society. Why is it harmful to attribute different aspects of masculinity or femininity to be specifically for that sex? For instance, calling muscles manly, and associating makeup with femininity.
I believe that it is harmful to attribute different aspects of masculinity and femininity to be specifically for that sex because it teaches young boys that wanting to wear makeup and be like their mother is wrong, and young girls that wanting to play soccer or football and be a professional athlete one day is wrong. that is completely untrue! young boys and girls should be able to grow up completely free to be themselves and do what they want, not with the phrases “be a man! you can’t wear makeup.” or “that’s not very ladylike, now is it?” constantly ringing in their ears. that’s just not a way to live.
Question Six: We’d touched on this earlier, however, to circle the conversation back to activists, who are a few of your favourite role models in regards to dismantling gender roles? Thanks again for doing this!
my favorite role models in regards to dismantling gender roles are jacob bixenman, timothée chalamet, and conan gray. these are all extremely powerful men who have defied gender roles and spoken out against them. i think they’re amazing people for young boys (and girls, too!) to look to if they’re struggling with how they feel about themselves. they also use their platforms to enforce chance and make our world a better place. thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!