Author Topic: Identity  (Read 2857 times)

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Identity
« on: January 02, 2021, 05:20:26 pm »
It’s so irritating to me that we are missing out on some really interesting cultural conversations about identity because we refuse to acknowledge that everyone has one. Like, yes, I am white in that I have pale skin and White in that I am treated like the default skin color and culture in my country, but also I am a White descendant of the Irish diaspora, a White granddaughter of non-English speaking immigrants, and if we could only TALK about what it means to be White, about the toxicity of assimilation, about the arbitrary nature of colorism that allowed my pale skinned ancestors to choose Whiteness where the ancestors of my friends with melanin had no such choice, we could start to tear this fucker down. If we could TALK about how my last name is a thing I was made to feel ashamed of, made to joke about, about how my grandfather would sneak away from the rest of the crowd at family gatherings to talk to the other francophone immigrants to have a moment to speak in his native tongue, a language none of his children speak, a dialect different from the one his grandchild was taught in school as an elective, maybe we could stop this fuckin SPEAK ENGLISH trash. Because we all have family history and we all are crushed into these boxes and it is SO SO SO important if you want to understand why some POC buy into this Respectability and Assimilation thing to ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT what assimilation IS and how it worked out for the cultures that chose it and what was gained and what was lost and who is offered the option of assimilation and who will always always be at the back of the line and why. You can say “Dismantle White Supremacy” all you like but unless you understand what it IS and why people buy in it will be an empty slogan. If you really want to dismantle a thing, you need to know how it works, you need to see how the pieces interact, you need to find the weak spots and critical gears and THEN jam your crowbar in the cracks.

And like, GENDER! Do you realize we haven’t even HAD a conversation about what it means to be cisgender? Is it having a strong internal sense of being the gender you were assigned at birth? Is it feeling like your gender identity IS tied to your sexual organs, or your reproductive capacity? Seriously I have talked with AFAB people who have had hysterectomies and feel like their gender identity has changed because of it, is that grief or mental illness or is that how their experience of gender works? Is being cisgender feeling like the way you were raised is what has determined your gender now? Is it not caring about your gender and just going with the label you were assigned at birth because it causes you no grief and the clothing in that section of the store fits your body better than the stuff in the other section? Are ALL OF THEM valid ways to exist as a cisgender person? Is being cis as vibrant and varied as all the ways a person can be trans? WE DON’T KNOW BECAUSE WE WON’T TALK ABOUT IT. No, we’re still stuck with at most the dichotomy between “all people are born equal in every way and gender is used to oppress vagina-havers” and “Men and Women are the ONLY OPTIONS and they are VERY DIFFERENT and if you don’t like that you have OFFENDED ZEUS.” Fuckin, come on cis people, get your shit together this is embarrassing.

If we could acknowledge that every identity, even the culturally assumed defaults, are actual identities, that they merit introspection and discussion, that none of them are inherently better than any of the others, we could have so much more interesting conversations about who we are and how we want to exist together on this planet. But no. We’re still stuck on “do Black people deserve to get shot on the street?” “are trans people mentally ill?” “should immigrants go home or shut up?” And those questions are BORING and HARMFUL and I would really love if we could GET ON WITH THE BETTER SHIT.

Cramulus

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Re: Identity
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2021, 12:12:58 pm »
:mittens:

yeah, there's no discussion of the default settings

sometimes the gay in the hotseat will fire back at the interviewer, "Okay but when did you choose to be straight?" --- but that's the closest we usually get to discussing the realities of these "normal" identities



I'm white as fuck, American as fuck -- my family was in the country since the mayflower days. Consequently, I feel like I have no ethnic background. We had no ethnic traditions growing up, no living European roots other than a town in England which has my last name. So to me, all ethnicity (even my wife's Italian traditions) seems a little Alien and Other. My whiteness is treated like a negative space, it's background, it's an absence of identity.

I'm Cis and never had to think about it until I met trans people in college and took a bunch of gender theory... but I still do not have any personal sense of what it means for your gender to feel wrong, to construct a gender identity on purpose.


these things remain an elephant in the room


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Re: Identity
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2021, 04:12:27 pm »

Reflecting about identity is the final step in a psychoanalytical process and even within this field its considered heresy to a certain degree.

It's not easy, it's dangerous if forced, but it also has the most potential for benefit.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2021, 06:08:10 pm »
As a child, I believed that Canadians had no culture; presumably, I saw "culture" as the ways in which people from different countries acted differently, and since we all acted "normally", we therefore had no culture.


Gender identity seems...complicated.  Generalization based on abstraction is the basis of how humans think and communicate, so we like to put things in neat categories.  Naturally we want to put ourselves, and even other people into neat categories, even when this is nonsensical, or harmful.

I try to think in terms of continua, rather than binary classifications.  Cisexual/transexual isn't a thing; it's a range of things.

Please don't get triggered by my particular choice of nouns below; I don't think they match the standard lexicon, but they're what I've got to work with.  This general model has been lurking in my head for a while; if it's entirely wrong, and I am to be excoriated, then this forum is as good a place for it as any.
---
1. Sex: < Male (0) ... Intersex(5) ... Female (10) >
This is the "physiological / biological" axis; essentially, are your chromosomes XX or XY, and how your plumbing is configured.  It's what you're born with.  It can be tweaked to an extent with hormones, and surgery can have an effect, but without the technology to completely rewrite a person's DNA, you're kinda stuck with this.

Arnold Schwarzenegger might score around 0.  I only have to shave 2 times a week, so I might be about a 2.  Consider that Schwarzenegger's use of steroids may have contributed to his score.

---
2. Gender: < Masculine (0) ... Neutral (5) ... Feminine (10) >
This is the "psychological / cultural" axis;  i.e., a person's gender identity within society.  People who are on opposite ends of the sex and gender axes often identify as trans.  A tomboy might be classified as "female / masculine".  Keep in mind this is a continuum, and knowing someone identifies as cis-female doesn't tell you whether they're a princess who would like to go pony riding, but is terrified she might break a nail (10), or a butch field entomologist who drinks whisky while watching sportsball (2).

I was mistaken for a girl periodically as a child; if you saw a picture, you'd understand why.  It still happens to me occasionally.  I wear my hair in a braid, and (during the winter) wear a long coat, both which are feminine markers around these parts.  Being only 5'7" doesn't help.  The mistake typically happens when a store clerk approaches me from behind.  It's partly annoying, partly amusing.

---
3.  Orientation: < Straight(0) ... Bi (5) ... Gay (10) >
This should be self explanatory.  One of my pet theories is that there are more people close to the middle of this axis than identify as such; "closeted bisexuals".
---


...no wait, I forgot about asexuality.  Let's add another axis to cover that.

And isn't axis 3 an oversimplification of orientation?  What if someone is sex-straight, but gender-bi?  What if I'd rather date the butch field entomologist?

Isn't making masculine / feminine a single axis terribly reductive? There are dozens of factors involved in gender within society, and a simple label doesn't begin to cover it.  How do we take into account gender roles that are reversed across different cultures?

Is that a skirt, or is it a kilt?

Wouldn't it be great if we could just let people be who they want, and dispense with labels altogether?  I'll have a side-order of World Peace, while you're at it.

Gender identity seems...complicated.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2021, 07:13:58 pm »
Gender identity is EXTREMELY complicated. The axes I would most often use for gender identity (completely separate from sexuality OR physical sex) are as follows

Girl --------------- No

Boy --------------- No

Sometimes ------ Always

Yes, this is a three dimensional space that ONLY covers internal gender identity, it has literally nothing to do with physical characteristics, expression, attraction, or anything else that often gets tangled up with gender identity.

On the Girl axis, I rank as a "I guess so," on the Boy axis I'm "only a pinch," and on the fluidity axis I'm "basically always"

My genderfluid friend is GIRL and BOY and SOMETIMES, my agender friend is NO NO and ALWAYS. This is how I understand it at least.

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Re: Identity
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2021, 09:57:17 am »
How about everything is a fetish and we use exactly one axis per fetish? e.g.:

1. Turned on by penises: 0 ... 5 ... 10
2. Turned on by vaginas: 0 ... 5 ... 10
3. Turned on by feet: 0 ... 5 ... 10
4. Turned on by feminine character traits as defined by society: 0 ... 5 ... 10
5. Turned on by masculine character traits as defined by society: 0 ... 5 ... 10
6. Turned on by undercover erotic asphyxiation during important Zoom calls: 0 ... 5 ... 10
7. ...

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Re: Identity
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2021, 01:27:01 pm »
As a child, I believed that Canadians had no culture; presumably, I saw "culture" as the ways in which people from different countries acted differently, and since we all acted "normally", we therefore had no culture.


Gender identity seems...complicated.  Generalization based on abstraction is the basis of how humans think and communicate, so we like to put things in neat categories.  Naturally we want to put ourselves, and even other people into neat categories, even when this is nonsensical, or harmful.

I try to think in terms of continua, rather than binary classifications.  Cisexual/transexual isn't a thing; it's a range of things.

Please don't get triggered by my particular choice of nouns below; I don't think they match the standard lexicon, but they're what I've got to work with.  This general model has been lurking in my head for a while; if it's entirely wrong, and I am to be excoriated, then this forum is as good a place for it as any.
---
1. Sex: < Male (0) ... Intersex(5) ... Female (10) >
This is the "physiological / biological" axis; essentially, are your chromosomes XX or XY, and how your plumbing is configured.  It's what you're born with.  It can be tweaked to an extent with hormones, and surgery can have an effect, but without the technology to completely rewrite a person's DNA, you're kinda stuck with this.

Arnold Schwarzenegger might score around 0.  I only have to shave 2 times a week, so I might be about a 2.  Consider that Schwarzenegger's use of steroids may have contributed to his score.

---
2. Gender: < Masculine (0) ... Neutral (5) ... Feminine (10) >
This is the "psychological / cultural" axis;  i.e., a person's gender identity within society.  People who are on opposite ends of the sex and gender axes often identify as trans.  A tomboy might be classified as "female / masculine".  Keep in mind this is a continuum, and knowing someone identifies as cis-female doesn't tell you whether they're a princess who would like to go pony riding, but is terrified she might break a nail (10), or a butch field entomologist who drinks whisky while watching sportsball (2).

I was mistaken for a girl periodically as a child; if you saw a picture, you'd understand why.  It still happens to me occasionally.  I wear my hair in a braid, and (during the winter) wear a long coat, both which are feminine markers around these parts.  Being only 5'7" doesn't help.  The mistake typically happens when a store clerk approaches me from behind.  It's partly annoying, partly amusing.

---
3.  Orientation: < Straight(0) ... Bi (5) ... Gay (10) >
This should be self explanatory.  One of my pet theories is that there are more people close to the middle of this axis than identify as such; "closeted bisexuals".
---


...no wait, I forgot about asexuality.  Let's add another axis to cover that.

And isn't axis 3 an oversimplification of orientation?  What if someone is sex-straight, but gender-bi?  What if I'd rather date the butch field entomologist?

Isn't making masculine / feminine a single axis terribly reductive? There are dozens of factors involved in gender within society, and a simple label doesn't begin to cover it.  How do we take into account gender roles that are reversed across different cultures?

Is that a skirt, or is it a kilt?

Wouldn't it be great if we could just let people be who they want, and dispense with labels altogether?  I'll have a side-order of World Peace, while you're at it.

Gender identity seems...complicated.

Yes, growing up in an a very average town in Canada, watching primarily American television (except in rare circumstances) and no noticeable ethnic traditions of my own family, I became obsessed with the USA because it seemed like “real life” - which I realize is counterintuitive.

Also, I also personally identify is No No Always, but rarely bring it up because decades ago I defaulted to an almost aggressively male “look” and am too lazy to change at this point. Me inside is very different from what I generally present outwards.

Great topic.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2021, 04:47:15 pm »
We live in our heads. Our genes, [or even jeans,] and their contents are on some level irrelevant. That's the whole problem with identity. It isn't really real. You can't measure it, you can't touch it. We live in a material world but so much of the way we perceive it, [and our place in it,] is posited on the totally notional and the utterly fictitious . . .
“The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make and could just as easily make differently” David Graeber

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Re: Identity
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2021, 06:02:34 pm »
And yet, it still affects us, and others.

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Re: Identity
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2021, 06:14:56 pm »
We live in our heads. Our genes, [or even jeans,] and their contents are on some level irrelevant. That's the whole problem with identity. It isn't really real. You can't measure it, you can't touch it. We live in a material world but so much of the way we perceive it, [and our place in it,] is posited on the totally notional and the utterly fictitious . . .

I live in Tucson, which is absolutely fictional.  This is the same as living in my head, which is ALSO parched and empty and ugly AND cannot be measured, but you can touch it, and it WILL in fact touch you.

There is nothing real about Tucson, at least from an outside point of view.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2021, 05:31:19 am »
I live in Tucson, which is absolutely fictional.  This is the same as living in my head, which is ALSO parched and empty and ugly AND cannot be measured, but you can touch it, and it WILL in fact touch you.

There is nothing real about Tucson, at least from an outside point of view.

Having lived in NM for my childhood, and been all over the Southwest, can confirm nothing's real. The jewelry falls apart when the vendor goes home, the pretty buildings are all facades, and every flowering bush hides a dead jackrabbit.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2021, 02:32:41 pm »
I live in Tucson, which is absolutely fictional.  This is the same as living in my head, which is ALSO parched and empty and ugly AND cannot be measured, but you can touch it, and it WILL in fact touch you.

There is nothing real about Tucson, at least from an outside point of view.

Having lived in NM for my childhood, and been all over the Southwest, can confirm nothing's real. The jewelry falls apart when the vendor goes home, the pretty buildings are all facades, and every flowering bush hides a dead jackrabbit.
The entire Southwest is what it looks like when the carnival has left town.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2021, 05:23:45 am »
The entire Southwest is what it looks like when the carnival has left town.

Yeah, that.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2021, 03:54:41 pm »
This thread is now about the American Southwest.
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Re: Identity
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2021, 03:55:40 pm »
This thread is now about the American Southwest.

Or Canada.
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