Gender binaries affect everyone in our everyday lives especially in the media. From a young age we are taught that we are a girl or we are a boy and must fit into the boxes of what it means to be these genders. These binaries are socially constructed ways of saying how we should behave, act, and present ourselves in relation to our gender. They are shown in the media with oversexualization of women and hypermasculine representation of men which children are exposed to at a young age.
Women are represented in the media as sexual beings for men to enjoy. In Is Everyone Really Equal they say that, “The message conveyed to girls are that their value depends solely on how attractive they are to men and how well they can please them.” (p 113) This view teaches young girls to try to become an idea of a “perfect woman” which leads to high rates of low self-esteem. This sexist view does not just include women, men are also affected by it. The media reinforces the idea of men having to be tough, strong, and independent. “Iconic ad campaigns are heavily geared toward men, often depicting very tough and masculine men riding horses or driving pickup truck” (Sensoy & DiAngelo p 111) This view is supporting the idea of hypermasculinity or that all men need to be strong and tough which often leads to aggression and hidden depression in teenage boys.
Without these binaries everyone is free to express who they really are without the societal judgement from gender norms. Without these gender binaries everyone could not feel the need to have to conform to a specific idea of what it means to be a gender. Jacob Tobia uses a great analogy with computers in this article. He says, “People don’t work like computers. Our identities, our thoughts, and our beliefs can’t always be sorted easily into two categories. In the world we live in, we set up two distinct categories — man and woman — that everyone must choose between. But that doesn’t actually reflect the full diversity of the human experience.”
Lopez. “A Genderqueer Activist Explains What It Means to Be Nonbinary on the Gender Spectrum.” Vox, Vox, 15 June 2016,
http://www.vox.com/2016/6/15/11906704/genderqueer-nonbinary-lgbtq.Sensoy, Özlem, and Robin J. DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal?: an Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. Teachers College Press, 2017.