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Little Game Illustrates Gender Games

About a week ago, 15 year-old musical artist Benny released a music video for his song “Little Game.” Benny, whose full name is Ben J. Pierce, created almost every aspect of this video. What he came up with was a hauntingly honest video about gender roles and society’s pressures to fit into them. This stunning video is up to 300,000 hits on YouTube, and is expected to continue receiving more.

“Little Game” deals with society’s gender roles and how people are pressured to fit into their born biological sex. Categorized by royal blue, the boys in the video are seen wearing jerseys and expected to reach for sports equipment and trucks. In bright pink, the girls are expected to constantly apply makeup, wear high heels, and monitor their waistlines.

Trying to defy this for something he is interested in, the boy reaches for one of the bright pink Barbie dolls, and is then judged and cornered by the other boys. Similarly, the girl attempts to read a book, rather than using it to practice her posture. Both the boy and girl shunned and implied to be physically assaulted by their gender counterparts. Following their attacks, they see others who have been in the same place as them, exiled and attacked for trying to go against social norms. The end of the music video makes a powerful statement, showing the different genders mixing together, through the use of blue and pink paint.

“Little Game” offers a stunning commentary on how harmful enforcing such strict gender roles can be. Society puts such strict borders on what girls and boys should do. Boys have to be tough and play sports, and girls have to be pretty, delicate objects that should focus more on their appearance than expanding their minds. A boy wanting to play with a doll or a girl wanting to be more than her looks does absolutely no harm to anyone, but is totally unacceptable according to society’s standards.

If a girl wants to play with Barbies and is happy doing so, that is perfectly acceptable. It is also perfectly acceptable if a boy is more interested in Barbies than he is with a toy truck. People should not be forced to change who they are or what they enjoy just because some people might be uncomfortable if they are not exactly following society’s ideas of gender. Everyone’s gender identity is their own.

Gender is not a concrete thing. It is fluid, and different for every person. Strict gender roles should not be forced upon a person. While it is necessary for a biological gender to be assigned to babies for medical purposes, there is no harm in people circumventing typical gender roles if they so choose.

While many are saying Benny’s age should not matter, it does offer an important part to the conversation. Even at the age of 15, he is still acutely aware of how early gender roles can hurt people. Particularly in high school, students are forced into fitting certain roles. At my own high school, girls were forced to wear uniform skirts, while boys had to wear pants. Girls were not allowed to tryout for the football team, and boys were absolutely not allowed to be cheerleaders. Boys had to wear suits to prom, and girls were not allowed in if they weren’t wearing a dress. Standards such as this enforce the notion that something other than being your given biological sex is wrong.

Many times high school is when people are learning more about themselves and discovering they may not fit into society’s typical roles, whether that be in interests, gender, or sexual orientation. Forcing students to remain within strict borders causes them to begin thinking there is something wrong with them, that what they are feeling is not normal.

“Little Game” also deals with the notion that acting in a way that is not conforming to society needs to be hidden. The chorus features the lyrics “hush boy” and “hush girl” repeatedly, emphasizing that it is not safe for people to express themselves without being assaulted, like the two characters in the video. People should not have to live in fear simply because of what (or who) they like or what gender they identify with. No one should have to hide talents or interests they enjoy simply for the sake of making someone else comfortable. Toys, shows, movies, activities, clothes and anything else non-living don’t have a gender. It is given by society. Anybody, regardless of biological sex, can wear whatever they want or do whatever makes them happiest.

Videos like “Little Game” are a great help in showing people that there is nothing wrong with them. The real issue lies within society. People should feel free to express themselves in any means they choose, whether those are typically female or male. The powerful message “Little Game” gives helps begin this conversation and hopefully will reach young people in a way they haven’t had access to in the past.

By getting videos like this on social media websites, people will have a better chance of seeing it and learning how society forces everyone into strict gender roles. This will help emphasize that it is never okay to consider someone less of a person just because their identity is different from what is thought to be normal.  Any gender identity is normal, and it is okay to not fit into a given biological sex, or any identity at all.

Gender is not pink or blue. It is whatever color you want it to be.

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Comments (1)

  • Luisa Lopes

    Great text on gender stereotypes, wonderful analysis!
    As a teacher, I will show my 15/ 16-year-old students both Benny’s video and lyrics. Your text will surely help me tell these kids that it’s OK to express themselves and fight all types of discrimination. Thank you!

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