How to be a Narrow Gender Construct

The curser moves, the words light up. click. I plunge through pages like Alice down the rabbit hole, time left behind as one link leads to another. Home-work, lesson planning, my own writing no more important than the discarded clothes slumped and wrinkled behind my bed.

click. scroll. gasp.

The illusion is shattered. The tiny digits in the corner of my screen read 1:01. So much for the ambitiously early 10:30 bedtime I’d promised myself.


Against my better judgment I follow the link. The new blog page takes a second to load.

Now a choice: Lady’s etiquette or gentlemen’s? I steel myself, the arrow hovering over the final link, the link that will reveal what I already suspect to be lurking behind the pretty, suspiciously innocent font.

A real lady will always:


There are 21 points. 21 things that a “real lady” will always do. Wait…how am I supposed to smell amazing even at the gym?? Good thing I don’t go to the gym I guess, otherwise I’d have to turn in my lady-card.

Ok, don’t despair yet, maybe the list for men and women will be exactly the same. click. Oh dear…

Hey, hello! Bloggers! Internet people! I know how much you like making lists, I admit they can be pretty awesome (who doesn’t want to scroll through the top 20 pictures of bunny-rabbit tongues? Sooo cute!) but, I mean, seriously? Lists on things women and men should always do to be valid women and men?!

Why do we buy into this? Do bloggers promote these stereotypes to show the rest of us how superior they are? Or is it a wall to hide all their secrets behind? “As long as my skirt is always two inches above my knees no-one will notice how intolerant I am!”

All these lists do is drive a wedge between genders, between classes and between cultures. They tell us it’s ok to judge people on appearances, to belittle those who don’t look/act/think just like you. And they’re the perfect way to invalidate and silence anyone who’s different.

Yes gender is performative, we all choose how we want the world to view us, but there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. And telling someone that they’re not a “real” -insert gender here- because of the way they chose to perform their gender is incredibly harmful.

But if you really can’t live without these completely reductive and oppressive lists, I’ll give you one of my own. It might seem overwhelming at first, but just bear with me. We can do it if we just believe!

How To Be a Decent Human:

  1. Don’t be an arse-hole

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