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  • Marina Ballarim Targa Cavalari

Gender Identity: Our Weekly Meeting

The most recent meeting of Garotas Pelo Mundo, last Sunday (16), had as its main topic gender identity and other related issues. We sought to understand how certain patterns emerged and were established, the need to transpose them, which are perpetuated until today, and other differences, related to the binary, that we noticed.

A question that was discussed a lot was why certain things, such as the color blue and the area of exact sciences, are constantly related to the masculine; while others are extremely feminine, even if this happens unintentionally. Such binary, present in almost every aspect of our daily life, perceptibly or not, has not always existed. How, then, did this awful way of thinking come about?

It was pointed out by one of the group's participants that in many of the best known ancient civilizations, the differentiation between what belonged to the spectrum of each gender, that is, a concrete establishment of binarity, does not exist. As an example, we can mention the indigenous people who lived in North America. In these peoples, these concepts were only really introduced with the arrival of the Europeans and, still today, they mention the "two-spirited" identity.

It is obvious how harmful these prejudices can be. If we teach children, from an early age, that some professions are for boys and others are for girls, for example, they will grow up with limited horizons, often unable to fulfill their real desires.

The same happens with sports, where we can observe many gender biases. Soccer, mainly, was an example; due to its great popularity in Brazil, it is possible to notice a lot of this preference for the 'male'. Variations in the meaning of words according to the same criterion are also common and equally harmful, in this case, in most situations, for women.

We also discussed the theme of gender neutral language, how to use it correctly and its importance for the representation and acceptance of everyone.

To end the meeting and relax, we played our beloved “Ethical Dilemmas” game, in which we present ethical questions (such as the trolley problem) and everyone talks about what they would do in each situation. One of the dilemmas discussed was: you accidentally run over someone. Somebody else, who was close to where the accident happened, thinks it's their fault and turns themself in. They get a life sentence for the incident. You have two options: turn yourself in to the police, freeing an innocent person but going to jail for life; or pretend nothing happened. What would you do?

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