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Living Without Labels … and Boundaries

Blue for boys and pink for girls... if you think that’s old fashioned, think again because we’re all still being shaped by old fashioned gender-specific marketing and until we say that’s not what we want, we’ll go on being defined by what’s in our pants and not what’s in our hearts, writes Lush Life columnist, Mahesh Hayward

What makes us who we are? Is it our minds, our bodies, our skin colour, maybe our religion or is it much much more than that? I mean do we consider to be what's in our pants and define ourselves by what we see in there, or could what we see just be an instrument of reproduction and that’s it! Does the word 'gender' mean much to people beyond the pigeon hole it places us in? Can we live without the male/ female labels? Are we ready to just be... human?

Now all this might seem strange coming from a man who works in a men-only barbershop, but this is the reason I work in the place I do. Let’s just say I’m working in a social experiment and the study is producing some rare insights into the human behaviour we all display. I’m really becoming more inclined to believe that gender is really an illusion, a marketing tool if you will, and we are suckered into this parody that we play out for corporate giants so it’s much easier to sell us crap we don’t need. Let`s say I’m right and the world we live in is really one big shopping mall that we can’t escape from... is there a way we can stop living this Truman Show existence and live without boundaries?

As a man born in the 1970s this would go against everything I’ve ever been told. or taught about; my family, school, TV, film and radio will have me understand that men and women are like chalk and cheese. I think as a young adult the only role models at the time I can think of were in the music industry. As I grew and found my own taste in music, those early 80's icons gave me an unfamiliar glimpse to another life, people not like my mum and dad.

I started to watch and listen to people like Boy George, George Michael, Madonna, Freddie Mercury, and David Bowie - these people were breaking the mould and “Relax” T-shirts were making people mad and causing a riot. But all the while in 'normal' households across Britain, boys were still wearing blue, girls pink and dads brown. Boys played football and girls netball; metal work was in place of home economics and action man was always going to save lovely little Barbie. How much have we come on?

Let’s have a look online at a page in the Argos catalogue to see we how well we are doing in the evolution of the human race when it comes to sex…. Gosh not that well! You can buy a pink “little Hetty’ toy vacuum cleaner, that came up first under the search 'kids’ toys for girls”. This is how we condition our future. In the same way that I was in the 70s and 80s when we were selling guns and cars to boys, we’re still selling household cleaning equipment to girls as toys. What my spotcheck online search shows is that we haven’t stopped letting consumerism lead the way we see one another.

As a father I want to connect with my children and let them know I understand the world I have placed them into. I can only do this by being watchful and mindful of the world around me, by becoming like a chameleon and changing with my surroundings.

Understanding and loving my family is the key to not becoming a dinosaur within modern culture. The world we live in seems so different to my upbringing, but it really hasn’t moved along as much as we would like to kid ourselves. For a parent like me it gives me a chance to pull up my socks and catch up with what is expected of us all as peers and teachers for the future generations.

We all would love for one another to openly be who they want to be, live without prejudice, walk tall and feel proud to just be part of an evolving race of beautiful beings. Let’s start by letting our children choose the games they play without a fear of judgement. Hold the hand of your younger siblings as they traverse the difficult road to adulthood, and let’s give our love and compassion equality to both our daughters and sons.

Start today by not allowing the big corporate companies to choose how you spend your money. Instead, walk amongst a store with neutral eyes. Spend your time looking at how similar we are, as males and females, not how different. Only then can we start to see the world as non-gender. Only then can we define ourselves as human beings; as souls with a body that have been placed here to learn lessons on how to evolve…

Love one another, see yourself in the others around you and love them as you wished to be loved. Teach your mothers and fathers and grandparents; help them to understand how younger generations wish to be seen and heard. Open the mind to those around you, let them see we are all one. Be well my dear friends, until next time, take care.

Mahesh Hayward is our new Lush Life columnist. He will be exploring issues of Modern Living and Well-being in his regular columns


‘I’m really becoming more inclined to believe that gender is really an illusion, a marketing tool if you will, and we are suckered into this parody that we play out for corporate giants so it’s much easier to sell us crap we just don’t need’

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