Gender Differences and Identities Essay

1485 Words 6 Pages
Gender Differences and Identities

While physical characteristics may clearly define one’s gender, race, or even social status, it is often one significant moment in one’s life when their gender is truly decided. The first five years of my life consisted of my younger sister and I imitating our mother, playing with dolls, and dressing each other up. As my sister was the main person that I played with, gender never really crossed my mind. Even when I started preschool and kindergarten, boys were not boys to me; they were simply new friends and more people to play with. At that moment in my life, I was just Jackie Goldsmith, I stood in the “girls’ lines” at school, and wore pink dresses and ribbons in my hair to church on Sunday.
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My family just sort of chuckled and my dad told me, “honey, you can’t play football; you’re a girl.” I was really confused with this statement. I had no idea what that had to do with me wanting to play a game, so I asked. When I had asked him why can’t girls play football too? He told me that football is a sport played by strong boys, and he wouldn’t want his precious little girl getting hurt. As a little girl, I was crushed. I had never had anyone tell me that I couldn’t do something. Usually at this age all you hear is, “you can be anything you want to be.” But now, here was my own dad, telling me that I cannot do something simply because I am a girl. I had never seen a difference in boys and girls until now, and at this point I had never been more aware of what gender I was until that night. I was a girl, and I was definitely not strong enough to play with the boys. And from this moment on, I was conscious of all the differences that would continually divide myself from others for the rest of my life.Know that I am older and can look back on this situation with a lot more knowledge, it’s easy to understand the feelings that I went through. As a child just learning how the world works, I thought what I had known was right, and as my father showed me differently my whole world was turned upside down. I was confused, confined, and pushed away from something I had wanted to do. Early gender classification often limits many children and their possibilities to
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