23 June 2011 – Journals From Ghana

Ghanaian society is very communal, people as a whole are one.  Male and female are are both one.  Pink and blue are no longer divided.  When asking one of the students what his favorite color was, he replied “pink.”

Today, I went to school to see Bernice; when I came, there Bernice was with two Barbie dolls.  And then there was an older student with the third one—just standing there brushing Barbie’s golden synthetic hair.
Talk about taboo right?

There is no way a 13 year old boy could walk in the streets with a Barbie doll without being stared at or considered queer in the eyes of others in the States.  Let’s break this down further.  Even in a non-public setting: In one’s own house, a concerned father may throw the doll across the room yelling at his boy to “act more like a man,” while a mother sobs in distress, “Where did I go wrong?” Who sets these societal bounds? Who labeled blue for boys and pink for girls or sissy boys?

Tim and I were one day talking about graduating college and despite Tim’s older age, he was not in any rush to graduate early.  Many will look down upon that in misjudgment that the “super senior” is just lazy or unsuccessful by society’s standards.  But I told Tim that I believed that was completely fine.  In Bentley, I always hear my peers frantically signing up for summer classes and winter intensives so they could “graduate early” or “on time”  On time? What does “on time” mean? Whoever said on time meant an inflexible four consecutive years?

Again, who sets these societal bounds?

This can severely cause harm, self deprecation, and misjudgment of others. A guy brushing a Barbie’s hair is not “gay.” Liking pink is not because he is not a man. 
Skinny is not a size 2.  Fat is not a size 6.
Setting these bounds is so harmful to our society.  We have such defined positions and boundaries for virtually everything in society.
Just look at the typical American neighborhood—your lawn is your lawn and mine is mine.  Let’s draw the lines of borders of white picket fences like the Northwest Ordinance.

I sound really bitter haha but I’m not actually as sour as I may seem.  I know that in the end, these things are bound to happen. The human mind works in such wondrous ways.  We can’t help but rationalize things and put our mind to certain beliefs according to cultural and socioeconomical development. 

At the same time, I wish people weren’t so judgmental.  In the end, we have the power to control our minds, to choose what to believe, and change humanity.

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