Eleven weeks into a pregnancy, an ultrasound can be used to determine the sex of a baby. Immediately after, the baby’s gender is decided by the cultural definition of each sex. The forced perpetuation of gender labels is harmful and the insane notion that every individual is either a boy or girl needs to cease.
Modern societies often take the idea of gender too far, constantly pushing the idea that sex and gender are synonyms because the lines between them are blurred out of existence. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sex as a biological status designated by physical traits at birth. It define gender as the behaviors a culture associates with a biological sex. The two terms are used interchangeably, as if there are not multiple factors that decide each one. Sex is genitalia, chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs. It is something assigned at birth which allows procedures to be adapted to better suit the needs of an individual for medical purposes. Sex is necessary and scientifically sound. Gender is a concept which includes the complex relationship between biological sex, internal sense of masculinity versus femininity, the way other people perceive their behaviors, physical expression and conformity to normalities set by each culture.
In most cultures, the accepted idea is that individuals are either girls or boys; there is no in-between. Growing up, children are taught that gender and sex are the same. If someone has female organs they are a girl and if they have male organs they are a boy. The gender they are given comes with a multitude of social expectations and personality traits and if anyone breaks these social normalities they will be chastised. By definition, gender is an unnecessary social construct. However, society values gender so much even items are labeled to fit feminine or masculine identity. Walking into a store, one can see aisles upon aisles of pointlessly gendered inanimate objects such as boy’s toys and girl’s toys, men’s razors and women’s razors, men’s socks and women’s socks and the list goes on. There is even separation between men’s and women’s yogurt.
Gender is not the same as sex, nor is it fixed between two categories. For those who do not feel their gender matches their biological sex, they can begin to feel a social disconnect and lack of acceptance. When so many factors go into determining a constantly used label, there needs to be more than two categories. In reality, gender is a spectrum because one individual can identify as male in one area, but female in all others. There are so many people who spend years of their lives trying to decide where they belong. They are being pressured to hide in discomfort in order to continue conforming to the expectations that correlate to their biological sex while they keep feeling out of place and alone because to feel accepted in society, they have to find a label, something to identify with and somewhere to belong.
It is not possible to continue to act as if there is only pink and blue in a world of over 7 billion individuals; the colors in between need to be recognized the same.