The social experience of gender expectation is more than just unfair – it can be hazardous to your health. Exploration of the impact of gender roles has to go deeper than just the social impact – there is a significant amount of work to be done in terms of exploring the relationship between the lived experience of gender expectations and their associated “problematic and largely unacknowledged health risks.” Lead researcher Maria do Mar Pereira concluded that the pressure of performing appropriate gender “produces significant anxiety, insecurity, stress and low self-esteem for both boys and girls,” regardless of their social status in school.
Psychological and psychiatric literature tells us that these effects can have harmful long term consequences on physiology, especially in terms of brain development. This research highlights the necessity of making cisgender individuals central in critical investigations of heteronormative gender ideology, and creates a basis for a discussion between cisgender and gender variant individuals about their shared experience of performing gender. Click here to read the full article.