We don't know what we don't know, so how can we understand the gender stereotypes of men and women? Yes, men and women explain to each other the sexism that they face, but how can we fully comprehend it if we've never experienced life as the opposite sex?
Transgender people have the unique experience of living life as a man and a woman, giving them a valuable insight into how the sexes are treated differently.
The TED talks below, given by a transgender man and woman, give us a taste of how differently genders are treated.
Paula, a transgender woman, humorously explains the more minor differences between the sexes, e.g. the tiny pockets on women jeans and the extortionate prices of women's haircuts.
She then goes on to talk about how women have to work twice as hard for half the salary of their male colleagues, how she's seen as 'stupid' as a woman and is often subject to 'mansplaining'. Paula noticed that she is often treated as if she doesn't know what she's talking about, which explains why women tend to doubt themselves, especially in the workplace. She understands that we need more men to empower women.
Paula gives a heartfelt message to women; 'I want you to know, you are far more capable than you realise, you are more powerful than you know and you are the best parts of what it means to be fully human'.
She also sends a message to men; 'I never thought I had privilege [as a man], but I did, and so do you. What can you do? Believe us when we tell you we might have equality but we don't have equity. It's not a level playing field, it never has been. You can be a part of the solution by elevating us to equal footing. You uniquely have that power.'
Diane hosts workshops for women who want to experience being a man and for men who want to experience life as a woman, not necessarily because they're transgender, but because they want to do things that their gender makes it difficult to do.
The women in these workshops dressed as men so that they could go out without being harassed, so they would be taken seriously in the workplace, to learn how to stand their ground in male-dominated environments or because they wanted to become a man.
These women noticed that they were given more space, were listened to more, were served faster and were freed of typical feminine behaviours.
The men were slightly more reluctant to experiencing life as a woman in this workshop, not surprising as society doesn't let men express themselves as much as women.
These men noticed that they were able to express themselves more through body language and were able to show their emotions as a women.
These TED talks are really interesting and to be honest, pretty relatable from a woman's point of view.
What are your thoughts?
Founder of Rani & Co.