The meanings that we give to being a man or a woman are significant in how we look at ourselves, and how we perceive and relate with others in the world. Traditionally, the meanings given to gender were predominantly defined by the social roles associated with one’s sex. However, advancements in technology have influenced social fabric in a way that has considerably reduced need for one’s sex to be a significant determinant of these roles. The polarities here are traditional values and new possibilities, for the self and collectives. In other words, our social identity is becoming increasingly gender neutral. This brings in a welcome relief from the traditional stereotypes of gender roles. It is therefore not surprising that many people today feel more comfortable being a ‘person’ rather than being a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. However, since this transition is not seamless, people also find themselves struggling with values that have been inherited and new ones that are being
Beijing was originally called Peking and then the name changed to Beijing, only to be changed again and reverted back. It has an interesting history of name change with the change in the political scenario. Our first glimpse through the aircraft window revealed a rather brown and desolate looking landscape. We were arriving there towards the end of winter season with temperature hovering around 3 degrees centigrade (at 11.30 in the morning and below – degrees in the night) and hence the flowers were not in bloom. The winter is rather severe in most parts of China specially in Beijing and the surrounding areas. My heart sank a little without the usual greenery that one is used to seeing in India.