Gender stereotypes and gender roles – they have been around for as long as humanity, though there have been periods in time in which they were not so rigid. Now, it seems like the rules are being bent more and more every day. However, as far as media representation is concerned, heterosexual people are still expected to conform to gender stereotypes and gender roles.
There is this widespread idea that straight people have to conform to the stereotypical idea of femininity (for women) and masculinity (for men) if they want to attract somebody of the opposite sex. But, this mentality is so outdated, especially now that we know how toxic some gender stereotypes can be, and that they can come from a place of blunt sexism.
This is why I felt like Revolianism is needed, a movement which states that straight people should not be pressured to conform to gender stereotypes or gender roles just because of their sexuality. If they feel uncomfortable with doing so, they should not be expected to.
If somebody who is straight and cisgender feels the most like themselves when they defy binaries and are “gender nonconforming”, they can be called revolians, which a fairly new term used to describe this type of people. Even though revolians are still considered exceptions, they should not be told that this is just a phase that they will grow out of it later on. A lot of people who have been “gender nonconforming” since they were young persist in being the same later on.
Sexuality is not inherently related to appearance. Even though femininity and masculinity aren’t fundamental truths, but rather flexible concepts, our society has a clear idea of what they consider to be feminine and masculine at the moment. That being said, the fact that straight women can be masculine, and straight men can be feminine is undeniable, even if the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge that. What is certain is that your sexuality does not change because of the way that you present yourself to the world.
Currently, the media helps perpetuate these outdated stereotypes. This might just be the work of sexist producers, who believe that heterosexual women must always have long hair, wear makeup and rather revealing clothing. The belief is that if they do not, it means they do not want male attention. This is a more subtle form of sexism.
Aside from misogyny, there is also a lot of misandry in the media as men are often depicted as rather aggressive or emotionally inept, and are not allowed to experiment with makeup or stylish clothes. Would this make them less of a man?
Our society has a lot to learn about being inclusive and open-minded. Revolians believe that people should look however they want, regardless of their sexuality. Straight guys can wear makeup or have long hair, and straight girls can have very short hair and wear “masculine” clothing. This is because sexuality is not indicated by the way we approach social constructs such as femininity and masculinity.
All in all, gender stereotypes and roles are a form of social control. There is no true freedom from these at the moment because those not conforming to them are often punished for it, be it by blunt discrimination or social exclusion.
But we need change, and change comes from representation, visibility, and education. People need to see every identity, so that no one has to go through life feeling like an outcast again.