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Gender Analysis
Jamaal, Age 16, Oak Park, IL

I have been paying attention to gender inequality between the sexes recently. I have noticed differences in gender dealing with practically just about everything, especially things having to do with the media. Gender inequality affects everyone in some way or the other, whether you fit the profile of a stereotypical male or female or whether you are a victim of genderization, at home, in the workplace, etc.

Genderization starts happening to you even before you’re born. When your gender is established, that’s when it starts. When you’re a boy growing up you get toys like trucks and cars, but girls get dolls, toy kitchens, and fake life sized babies, almost as if to train us into our genders or make us a “normal” male or female.

Except for a few plaques of poetry, my room has no posters hanging up on my walls (which are white). Instead I have trophies from football, wrestling, karate, and soccer. These are known as male dominated sports. Throughout the years of participating in these sports, you’re told to be tough, ignore the pain, etc. "When I went home, I just sat by myself and let myself cry. I let myself show the emotion I couldn’t show before" ("Taking off the Gender Straightjacket"). It’s because of people beating things like I just described into the heads of the male gender, that a 14 year old boy had to be “strong” when his close friend died. My room probably wouldn’t be considered a room that has male stereotypes, as in how it looks, but I feel that the trophies (especially the type of trophies) in my room would be a way of identifying the occupant of the room as a male.

Katie’s room isn’t really a stereotypical female gender’s room. Her room has just about everything in it. Many of the posters on her wall could be considered unisex, and her room isn’t neat and tidy like society makes you think a girl’s room should be; it’s quite the opposite. If you look closely though you can see things on the wall that would definitely define the room as a female's. There are high heels, the puppy calendar, feather art, beaded necklaces, etc. “With puberty, girls face enormous cultural pressure to split into false selves. The pressure comes from schools, magazines, music, television, advertisements, and movies” (Reviving Ophelia). I feel that this might be a reason why Katie’s room is chaotic and not focused on just one thing, or it could be because, like many people, she has more than one interest.

In both rooms I felt like there were small instances of genderization, and moments where we crossed lines between male-like and female-like genders. My room was clean; hers was messy. I had trophies; she had jewelry. There wasn’t anything major, “The kitchen became his property, it became his domain” ("The Language of Men"). Katie and I had a mixture of both feminine and masculine traits when it came to our rooms.
 

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