【VOICE OF HER】Gender Norms in Society— Pearlmi Tam

Society has rigid expectations for men and women, and these are accompanied by high demands and standards.

 Pearlmi Tam

In Hong Kong, traditional Chinese thinking heavily influences societal perceptions of gender, often favouring men over women and constraining women into passive and fragile roles. Anecdotes like Pearlmi’s experience in motorbike lessons illustrate the pervasive nature of gender expectations and stereotypes. Rigid ideas about what “men should” and “women should” do create unrealistic and unfair situations, making it difficult for individuals to break free from traditional gender roles.

Despite progress made towards challenging gender stereotypes, society’s journey remains a long one. 

Gender expectations are imposed on everyone, regardless of gender identity, leading to pressure and distress for those who don’t conform to traditional gender expressions. Pearlmi speaks candidly about her resistance to gender stereotyping, from childhood dislikes of “girly” things like pink, sweets, and flowers.

Luna Is A Bep, a Hong Kong rapper song《麻甩系》depicts a girl who rejects “glittery items” or looks and just wants to live life on her own terms. However, is this type of girl living to please others, or else? Feeling good about yourself and not conforming to societal norms. Gender is a complex issue that cannot be easily defined or labelled, and individuals should not be restricted in their identity or sense of self by societal expectations.

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