Before I am human, I am…

Reilly Signor, Reporter

      High school is usually a tough time for everyone on it’s own: friends come and go, there’s the ACT and the SAT, and of course, figuring out what you’re going to do with your life and who you are. Gender roles play a major part in how people define themselves at that age, whether they realize it or not.

      Gender roles aren’t something new. They’re found everywhere in society, but these harmful roles begin in high school. In fact, with the most diverse generation in history, kids today have it much easier than those in the past. Even if that’s the case, having to figuring out who you are at such a young age will never be an easy thing to do. In many cases, students all over the country have been taken away from their studies because how they choose to express themselves “distracts” other students. Apparently, punishing a student for how they look or dress is more important than their education.

      There are subtle and some not-so-subtle expectations as to how you’re “supposed” to act as a girl or boy. For example, teachers tend to challenge boys more than girls during lessons in the classroom. Girls are praised for staying quiet and following the rules while boys are praised for thinking outside the box and being more independent. It’s also been proven in multiple cases that boys are referred to test for gifted programs twice as much as girls are. Boys face toxic masculinity similar to how girls face femininity as well. If boys aren’t athletic or tough, they are thought of as lesser in a high school setting. Double standards are abundant for both genders.

      These situations can be changed by influencing a more gender neutral classroom setting or becoming more diverse as a whole. For example, gender neutral bathrooms and even something as simple as a gender neutral Homecoming Court could make a huge difference in a lot of students’ self confidence and overall high school experience.

      Gender roles are toxic and ever-present. The worst part of these stereotypes is that they begin before most children even know what gender roles are.