Gender Binary

In the beginning of the semester, we were asked to identify the pronouns we prefer to be used when being referred to in class. It came to my attention that not enough teachers put their students preferred gender into consideration. Gender has evolved throughout history and is no longer black and white.


Across different religions and various societies, the subject of gender binary is interpreted through various lens. Gender binary is the social construction of gender in most societies in the world where gender is a contrast between male and female. Male and female gender expectations, roles, and functions are very specific. The presence of alternate genders is ignored, or made oblivious. Health, body, sexualities, education, family, work, money and law are the more predominant subtexts in culture that aid in defining gender roles. As a society, we must begin to break the stereotypes and educate one another on what the gender binary is how to conquer its strict canon.


Cultures throughout the world partake in the specific separation of the idea of only two genders. Throughout the past, gender has been seen as having only two spectrums, male and female. But as a society we are slowly adapting to the idea of the existence of more than two genders. Currently there are up to 58 ways to classify one’s gender. An example of modern day society adjusting to the shift in more than two genders is, Facebook allowing their users to customize their gender along with allowing their users to select from three different pronouns, “her”, “him”, and “their”. Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison told the Associated Press. Harrison, who worked on the project, is in the process of gender transition, from male to female, “there’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world”. With this slight adjustment, it helps humanity be more aware of the fact that more than two genders can exist. Another modern-day example of the slow modification of the belief of more than two genders is the creation of gender neutral bathrooms. Although gender neutral bathrooms exist, society did not react as positively as planned. Howard Blume writes in his article, “anyone looking for confirmation of the nation’s cultural divide can add education and gender-neutral bathrooms to the list of proof points. North Carolina sparked a national furor by requiring transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates, citing risks to children in schools as a primary justification”. Gender neutral bathrooms are simply open to all genders to make the user more comfortable without putting stress on other users. Gender separation is a major factor to the constant assumption of only two genders. However, certain college campuses are taking a stand on banning gender separation. Freya Preimesberger states in her article, “Harvard instated a ban on all gender-segregated groups such as fraternities, sororities and single-gender clubs. UT research shows that this ban is well-founded — separation by gender is detrimental to students”. Gender separation in various cases can have its benefits along with its non-benefits. Society as a whole can work together to try and rid the idea of the existence of only two genders.

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