A recent video from BuzzFeed imagines what a world without gender constructs would look like. Without gender conventions to tell us what to wear, do, and say, what would happen? Would humanity as we know it come to an end? Would civilization fall and chaos rule the land?? The video’s conclusion is… probably not. For all the handwringing out in the world about what it means to be a man or a woman, and how perceptions of gender should dictate behavior (as well as trigger dangerous bathroom-obsessed legislation), BuzzFeed suggests that, in the end, loosening our obsession with gender codes would really not be that big of a deal. The world would continue to turn, and humanity would continue to function, even if we allowed things like (gasp) men wearing nail polish to be the norm.
Gender conventions inform so many aspects of our everyday lives, in both overt and extremely subtle ways, that it would be impossible to name all of them. Clothing is gendered, bath products are gendered (even when they are the same thing), colors are gendered. Gender has a hand in what kind of jobs people have and how much money they make. It dictates what kind of tasks people can perform, and what emotions they’re allowed to feel and express. And as this video points out, most of that is completely arbitrary, unnecessary, and harmful, not to mention straight-up silly sometimes.
In the video, the narrator asks what would happen if people stopped worrying about labels like “masculine” and “feminine” and just did what they want instead. “Masculinity will fall!” he warns. “Femininity will rise up!” What really happens is that dudes get to be emotional about stuff that makes them sad, women get to lift couches when they feel like it, and everyone gets equal pay.
Not bad, right? Check out the whole video above.
(And for a truly thought provoking portrayal of a gender-fluid world, may I humbly recommend Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness ?)
Images: YouTube (3)