Mi Latina Feminist Voz

Opinions & Perspectives From My Life

May 12, 2017
Rocio Fajardo, Ed.D.

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Recognizing Gender Expectations

When I was little, we often took trips down to Tijuana, B.C. in my dad’s small Toyota truck. We spent weekends visiting with family and I can recall enjoying spending time with my cousins. I have one specific memory from these trips, however, that is perhaps one of my earliest recollections of recognizing gender expectations. I must have been around 4 or 5 years old, so of course

I did not at that time understand completely the expectations that would be bestowed upon me simply for being female.

I remember it as a hot day and us being in traffic. My older brother, who is about 5 years older than me, decided to take his shirt off because of how hot it was. I don’t know why, but I often looked up to him, but as I see my nephews now I see that the little ones often admire their older siblings. Of course, when we’re that young we don’t always know how to differentiate from right and wrong, or at least what society or perhaps our parents tell us is right and wrong.

I remember that when he took his shirt off I wanted to take mine off too. So, I looked to my mom and told her I wanted to take my shirt off just as my brother had. At that moment, I remember him saying to me that I couldn’t take my shirt off because I was a girl. I don’t know what I said, but I do remember being bothered by it. I also remember my mother coming to my defense and telling him to leave me alone. I was about 4 or 5 years old for crying out loud! I can’t recall all the details, but yes, I do remember some significant moments from my life (believe it or not).

What I believe bothered me was being told that I couldn’t do something because I was a “girl.”

Growing up I can recall instances that would seem unfair to me and would upset me. I strongly dislike being expected to fit into the mold of what society expects of me simply because I am a woman. I am by no means perfect, but I make an effort to understand the experiences that have shaped me to become the person that I am today. I can say that it is going against expectations that has taught me the best lessons in life and molded me into a strong individual.

 

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