STEREOTYPES ARE BOXES, AND WE AIN’T BOX-TROLLS

Box trolls is one movie i think i’ll never forget in my adult life(unless amnesia or old age comes calling though). For the first time i was more concerned with the connotation of the boxes which served as some sort of covering which they cannot leave home without, than seeing it as a genre enjoyed for its harmless sarcasm. I saw the boxes as stifling, somehow torturous. I mean how can every single personality be contained in a box, even the boisterous ones, and the professional mad people? It’s totally insane!

It reminded me of how often we try to put people into boxes and pressurise them to live such limiting lives. Like the constant “imaro na ibu nwanyi, don’t you know you are a woman” i get from my mother whenever she wants to berate me for a wrongdoing. I always try to reject that though, much to her chagrin. I mean how can my gender sum my entire personality (with reference to biological and social construct) which includes the job of being a mother and an ‘organiser’. And the struggle does not just end here, moving away from home to other places of social interests like the school; the church, or even among peers, the “boxed-up” syndrome always manages to spring up. People stuff you into personalities boxes like sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic, imposing the corresponding traits on you.

Under the premises of gender, you are expected as a woman to be compassionate, be slow to anger, be accommodating, always cheerful, and be dependent on a man, anything other than this is termed abnormal. Then as a man, you are expected to be stoic, to be manly, to possess phallic arrogance, and not be expressive, an aberration means you are something below a man, a woman.

For appearance, what business does a girl have with muscles and biceps? you are only exempted if you do sports, and this exemption automatically disqualifies you from being called beautiful. As a woman, you are expected to be delicate and smell like flowers, i mean what man would like to hold your fibrous hands or muscular thighs and feel as if he is not romping his fellow man? Then as a man, the muscles and the abs are all for you, anything other than having a hulk figure is null.

And the list continues, delving into ethnicity, race, religion and even preference(mostly sexual preference)  Muslims are terrorists.

Black men are often criminals.

Every effeminate man is gay, or guys who like pink are gay.

Feminists are unhappy men-haters.

Bini girls are mostly prostitutes.

Calabar girls are nymphomaniacs.

Yoruba girls are dirty.

Every tomboy is a Lesbian. And the too-numerous-to-mention list continues.

Haaa! These things are suffocating. People are tired of carrying these boxes around. Little wonder some folks now identify as gender non-conforming, or even queer.

Humans are too spontaneous and too awesome to be boxed in dingy stereotypes. Stop the ‘boxing’ please.