In What Ways Do You Defy Gender Stereotypes?

Society has some pretty well-established gender stereotypes. In what ways do you not match up with those stereotypes?

Gender stereotypes are pervasive, starting with people’s behavior towards infants. Boys are given blue blankets; girls pink. Young boys play with action figures, while girls play with dolls.

These assumptions continue to adulthood. Men like cars and sports, and are emotionally distant. Women, on the other hand, wear dresses and makeup, and tend to be flighty.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes you you?’


Of course, in reality, each and every one of us is an individual, and so we may find ourselves in agreement with all, some, or none of these commonly-held gender expectations.

Are there any ways in which you feel you don’t fit in with conventional gender roles? How so? And what does that difference mean for how you see yourself, and how others in the community might see you? In what ways do you defy gender stereotypes?

Related questions: How are you a non-conformist? How do you think others see you? Individual or society? What role do sports play in our society?

 

How Are Your Body And Mind Intertwined?

We tend to think about our mind as something apart from our body. In truth, the two are linked. Can you think of examples?

It seems natural to separate the mind and the body. If you fall, say, and break your leg, your mind is not overly impacted. You still have your full range of cognitive abilities.

Similarly, as we age, our body and our mind often do so at different rates. A ninety year old who can barely walk might be mentally sharp, while an otherwise healthy older person may be unable to remember the names of people he or she has known for years.

However, this division is arbitrary at best, and actively harmful at worst. The brain is a part of the body. They use the same blood supply. They are impacted by the same hormones. There is every reason to believe that what happens in one has an impact in the other.

This is obvious in certain ways. When the blood sugar drops, for example, it can make it difficult to think cohesive thoughts. Many people know to carry around a candy bar or other source of sugar to ingest in an emergency.

And yet, we may not recognize how the two are linked. Studies have shown that the physical act of making your mouth smile, even if you don’t feel like doing so, can brighten your mood. Changes in diet can be reflected in changes in attitude.

Are there other examples of ways in which you have noticed that your mind and your body are actually two sides of the same coin? How are the two intertwined?

Related questions: Mind or body? What do you do to clear your mind? What does it mean to be healthy? How can you change your attitude?

What Do You Miss?

One constant in life is change. And when things change, invariably you lose some of the things that bring you comfort or happiness. What do you miss?

The types of things you miss can vary quite widely. It might be a material object, like a child missing a favorite teddy bear.

Others might miss a person, like a particularly meaningful teacher, or a family member that is far away, or deceased. You might even combine a physical object and a person, like a shirt reminding you of your father.

Maybe you fondly recall your favorite meal at a restaurant that has since closed. Or attending a concert of a band that has broken up.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘How can we maintain wonder?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How do you think others see you?’


There are also more abstract things to miss. Maybe you wish you were carefree like you were as a child, before you gained adult responsibilities.

On the other hand, you might miss things simply because you have grown older. Do you remember when you were skinny, or had all your hair, or didn’t need glasses?

Adding to all of this, of course, are the restrictions that have been in place over the last couple of years due to the pandemic. Some of us haven’t been traveling, or spending time with friends or loved ones. Our lives have changed in many ways since we went into lockdown back in March of 2020.

So what is it for you: a object, a person, a memory of days gone by? What do you miss?

Related questions: Who do you miss? How have you changed? What was the best time in your life? What is the best part about getting older? The worst?

 

What Are You Mad About?

Of all the things in your life, or in the news, what makes you the most angry? What are you mad about?

Emotions are complicated. It might be difficult to separate feelings of, say, sadness from feelings of anger. Sorting through those issues might make you evaluate what, exactly, anger is.

We seem to have an excess of anger these days. People are mad about nearly everything, as politicians and media outlets use anger as a tool to manipulate voters or viewers. If you can convince someone to be angry, you might be able to convince them to vote the way you want, or to stick around through a commercial break.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘How much of our thoughts are our own?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How much is enough?’


Not all anger, however, is manufactured or unjustified. In some cases, people are right to be outraged over some injustice or bad behavior on the part of someone else.

How can you tell the difference? Is the difference between legitimate and manufactured anger emotional, logical, or is there any difference at all? By examining where your anger comes from, and who stands to benefit from your being angry, can you protect against being manipulated by someone else?

What makes you mad? What does your anger make you do? How can you tell what  you actually should be mad about, as opposed to what other people want?

Related questions: Angry or afraid? What is the right amount of emotion? How does media manipulate you?

How Do You Stand Up To A Bully?

Whether it is on a playground, in a board room, or in international politics, you are likely to find yourself, at some point, faced with a bully. How should you handle it?

There is one school of thought that the only language a bully understands is violence. The best way to deal with one on the schoolyard, as this theory goes, is to bloody their nose.

Of course, this is not universally applicable. If you punch a bullying co-worker in the nose, you are likely to be fired.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘Where does authority come from?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What does your favorite music say about you?’


Another possible way of dealing with a bully is to ignore them. Don’t let them goad you into an action you may regret. However, if an aggressive action goes unanswered, it might embolden more abusive behavior.

So what is the best way to handle this situation? How should you stand up to a bully?

Related questions: Why do we put up with unhappiness? How can we build confidence? Hold firm or compromise? How much power does an individual have?