Deviant Art is very nice web site featuring all sorts of artwork -- from stunning photographs to digital creations to anime fan art. The other day, I stumbled across a work called The Princess Protector. It featured a male dressed as a princess (complete with a little crown) with a real, female princess standing in front of him. The female princess held a sword, protecting the male princess. The look on her face seemed to say If you feel lucky, just try to give me your best shot! to some unseen enemy.
The artist then included some notes as to the inspiration of the work. The inspiration was a documentary on gender roles. In an experiment, a box of costumes was given to a group of three boys and three girls in a kindergarten class. The costumes included knight costumes and princess costumes. All the boys grabbed the knight costumes and began playing with the toy swords. The girls all grabbed the princess costumes and put on their pretty dresses. Then the teacher walked in, a male teacher, who was wearing a princess costume. All the children were confused.
One of the boys told the teacher that he could not be a princess because he was a boy. The teacher said boys could be princesses. At this point, the boys began harassing the teacher and attacking him with their toy swords. At this point, the girls each grabbed a sword and stood between the boys and the teacher, protecting the teacher. They defended the teacher, telling the boys he could be a princess if he wanted to be one.
I find I am now just as curious about other people's behaviour as my own. I see myself as a woman. I dress like a woman. I act like a woman. I see no problem with that.
It is typical human behaviour to be afraid of something that is different. The argumentative and even violent reaction of the boys in the experiment is regarded as normal and even encouraged by some adults.
A common psychological debate centers on nature vs. nurture in the development of a person. That person then plays a role in the nature/nurture of another person. None of this happens in isolation. We are all interconnected. My actions affect others, and vice versa.
Hmm.... Peaceful people living their lives as they see fit versus people physically attacking them because they seem different. Variety is the spice of life. Poison has no place in the human diet.