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Modern Social Constructs and How We Limit Ourselves

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Cami is a highschool student, interested in sociology and writing.

Basic Knowledge

Social Construct: (n) A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.

Once we understand what social constructs are (a concept that is not necessarily real but that a large group of people agreed on so it is perceived as real), we can see how they shape our lives. We humans have managed to create language, which is essential for, and has improved the way in which we interact with each other. We have also created gender, that stands for the roles, behaviours, etc. that society finds appropriate for each person to have according to their birth sexes.

It is important for us as a society to understand that we have the power to alter social constructs as we plase, and we could use them as a tool to improve instead of a dead weight that limits us to pre-existing concepts that do not apply to all of us.


Question E v e r y t h i n g That Doesn't Let You Be

While, as I have mentioned, not every social construct has a negative influence on most of us, there are a lot that can and have to be changed, updated.

For example, gender is a huge barrier that only prevents us from being our true selves. When we say "It's a girl!" and expect her to wear dresses, and like pink as well as boys. No, it won't hurt her to wear a dress. Yes, she may genuinely like pink. But if she chose a blue bedspread with boats, would you let her get it? What if your 3 year old boy wanted to wear lipstick?

When we really think about it, that 3 year old boy is hurting absolutely no one, and even if others someday mock him because of his choices, isn't it better to teach him how to stand up for and trust himself, instead of not letting him be?

We often accept the things that are imposed upon us without questioning them, without wondering if they are compatible with our best selves. It is a mistake many have tried to correct, from LGBTQ+ rights activists trying to tear down the wall that the social construct of love is to the many powerful women in the fashion industry that have said 'No' to the impossible beauty standards someone decided to impose upon us.

We do not need these rules. Girls do not have to wear pink, boys do not have to be tough, everyone deserves their rights to be respected, everyone deserves to love as well as be loved.

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"We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world."

— Gabor Maté

Not Everything Is Lost

We can change the rules, because we have created them. We can raise our children to be whoever they want to be, and we can start raising ourselves to live and let live.

Everyone has the power to change things, and it starts in our own minds. I'm not saying all of you reading this should radically change the way you live, but never again should you let society decide for you what you do with your life.

We can improve social constructs into a positive ally of the human race, rules that dictate us to love each other instead of going to war with one another.

We can tear down everything negative in our world, simply because we have put it together. We can cross out the words that make a gay man God's enemy and keep the words that say "Love is patient, love is kind. ... It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. ... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.".

We have the power to alter all religions and make them solely positive.

We have the power to alter all our lives and make them solely positive.

I'll end with a quote by the beautiful Janelle Monáe at the Grammys this year:

"Just as we have the power to shape culture,

we also have the power to undue the culture that serves us wrong."

© 2018 Cami

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