"I'm no longer interested in assigning everything to categories"

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Gender stereotypes accompany us from an early age. And it's high time for a change. PhD student Miriam-Linnea Hale and rapper Maz on toxic masculinity and superfluous categorisations – and how we can do better.

Blue is for the boys, pink for the girls. The latter put on skirts and dresses, and those who identify as male naturally keep their hands off makeup and handbags. Our society functions according to this thought pattern. If you think about it, it quickly becomes clear how arbitrary such ideas are. At some point, someone decided that it is also typically masculine for people read as male to wear their hair short and prefer cars to dolls. Feminin people, according to this logic, are the weaker sex, have long hairstyles and are the ones in charge of the household.

These are social constructs that have been initialised through constant repetition. Let's imagine that it was decided that boys wear skirts and girls have short hair. Then behaviours, outward appearances and identities that go against this apparent normality would be questioned and perceived as strange. Yet our society still works like this to some extent.

"I call bullshit", Maz counters, shaking his head in denial when asked what he thinks of such gender ideas. The young artist is no stranger to the Luxembourg rap scene. He has been known to the public for a few years now, and with success. Recently, the 22-year-old released a new single. Nothing too unusual for a musician, but the song Eyeliner is different: Maz wears a pink jumper, has eyeliner on his eyelids and coloured fingernails. He raps about a world that told him his thoughts were "problematic, weird and wrong". And concludes, "No matter if you like it, cos for the first time I feel pretty".

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