Gender refers to socially constructed roles that are considered to be appropriate for individuals of a given sex in a given culture. Such gender “roles” stereotype individuals into a binary that we believe cuts out a whole range of gender identities and expressions.
Radhika Radhakrishnan, an engineering student at MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology and an active parliamentary debater, has been a vocal crusader for taking down the patriarchy. She felt that a large number of students belonging to technical universities do not understand the nuances of gender, sexuality, and their associated movements and demands in status-quo. This complaisance is largely due to the fact that engineering curriculum does not mandate the understanding of these critical issues. A direct result of such complaisance is the internalization of ostracization, which further leads to the tacit perpetration of a misogynist culture. Common instances of this include differential hostel curfews for the sexes on campus, the clubbing together of every identity that’s not Male/Female as “Other” in university forms, and colloquial usage of gender-bashing slur (such as ‘pussy’ to mean ‘weak’).
She was inspired to set up the MSRIT Gender and Sexuality Forum (GSF). It is an initiative to normalize the spectrum of gender and sexual identities, and enhance their understanding of relevant issues surrounding the same. At the GSF, they primarily hold talks on gender and sexuality related issues, and provide a platform for reporting and redressing complaints against abuse faced by students on campus. They also collaborate with dedicated initiatives that are experienced in dealing with these societal issues, and can help organize workshops, campaigns, and further debate.
In light of this, #GenderBender campaign was organised to embrace the gender spectrum and encourage individuals to break free from gender stereotypes (let’s all make our own sandwiches!). Students as well as people outside form MSRIT sent in entries for the campaign. If you’d like to participate in the campaign, send love, kisses, hugs or any other brick bats, connect with the organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m a guy and I cook and shop for veggies while sporting a stylish blue handbag.”
– Sukrut Gejji
“I am a woman, and I love my beer! Why should men have all the beer?”
– Samyuktha Iyer
“I’m a man, and I cried in front of 500 people at the Worlds University Debating Championship when I didn’t qualify into the knock-out rounds. Let men have the right to cry. Stereotypes hurt everyone.”
-Partha Sarathi Sharma, IIT-Bombay
“I’m a woman, and I follow the latest books, not the latest fashion trends.”
– Sharada Srinivasan, National Law School
“It is tragic how certain facial expressions are only imputed to a particular gender. We are men, and we are more than happy to pout for the camera and break another gender stereotype. And we do it in pink!”
– Shobhit Singh Ranawat, Girish Ashok, RVCE
“I’m a man, and I enjoy watching ballet and listening to Taylor Swift. Art appreciation is not gender-specific.”
– Arjun Jagdish Ram
“I recently cut my hair to a short length. I was having a normal day at office until one of my colleagues came up to me and said “Hi bro,wassup?”very unusually. I took it lightly but what pissed me off was when he went on to say that he’d call me brother till I grow my hair long. I cannot accept anyone addressing me as a boy because of my way of dressing, hair, or habits. “
– Neha Nair Payyur, MSRIT alum
” I keep growing out my hair now and then. And I’ve gotten used to the ‘It looks so girlish or gay’ comments.”
– Sanath Gururaj B, PESIT
The length of our hair doesn’t define our gender orientations. Meet Tanmay Dangi and Manasi Iyer who choose to defy the stereotype attached to their respective genders in society.
“I am a man and my girlfriend drives a car better than I can. She taught me how to drive a car and till date takes the wheel when we are on more challenging roads.”
– Sayan Sanyal, RVCE alum
“I love wearing pink kurtas and Pink shirts. Not because I’m Gay. Not Because I’m feminine, but because I like it. Pink is a color, not an identity.”
– Vignesh Hariharan, MSR Law
“I’m a man, and I like my pink bicycle!”
– Darshan Dorai
“I like pink. It’s a soothing wavelength.”
– Tanmay Dangi, NLSIU
If two girl friends kiss each other, they’re oh-so-cute and besties and the world is XOXOXO about that concept but if two guy friends kiss each other, they’re gay and uncool.
“There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of bromance.”
– Rushil Zutshi, Vellore Institute of Technology
Us women need to stop being amused about our supposed super-power of ‘withholding sex’ in a relationship. It reinforces the societal view that sex is a transaction – something that woman have and that men want. It reiterates the idea that women can use the promise of sex as an incentive, or the threat of withholding as a bludgeon. By allowing such a narrative to exist, we buy into a culture which justifies rape by painting male sexuality as a barely restrained animal instinct, and women as mere facilitators of this male instinct.
It is not true that women hardly enjoy sex and that there isn’t any emotional connection involved in sexual acts for women. It is also not true that men are driven primarily by hormones and will do anything to ‘earn’ sex.
DISCLAIMER: It is within the rights of any person to refuse sex at any time for any reason or for no reason at all, and that must always be respected. However, treating it as a disproportionate privilege of one gender over another has serious societal repercussions.
“In a society that pressurizes men to be in control of a wedding proposal and follow a two-month salary rule for the ring, I’m a woman, and I proposed to my husband, and bought my own wedding ring.”
– Esha Agarwal Gejji
“Through most of college, I’ve had to delve into a lot of domestic work including sweeping, mopping, dusting, watering plants, laundry and even folding clothes. I must say I’m now wickedly good at all of the above and can turn professional. I’ve also begun to slowly take over the kitchen. I can now successfully cook for at least 10 people. And I love doing crochet work. (They call me domestic goddess). The domestic sphere is as much for men as it is for women.”
– Tanmay Dangi, NLSIU
“People keep telling me that I need to learn how to cook only because I’m a woman. I don’t like cooking, and I don’t want to learn how to make round rotis, just Maggi. A woman’s place is not just in the kitchen.”
– Poorna Mujumdar
“I’m a man, and I’m physically weaker than most people, men and women alike. That doesn’t make me less of a man, or ‘fight like a girl’. “
– Deborshi Goswami
“I am a woman, and I’ve trained in kick-boxing. And yes, I throw a punch like a girl.”
– Mital Suresh Modha
Parenting done right!
Credits: Humans Of New York