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Gender-Identity,Existentialism & TrueStrength

FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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7/23/2013 4:40:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yeah, that's a weird title, I know. Hopefully an eye-catcher.

"Gender" is often confused with and used interchangeably with "sex", as in whether one is male or female. When really, they are separate things. Gender encompasses a much wider range of identity, including sex, sexual orientation, as well as personal feelings of femininity or masculinity not at all related to sexual orientation. The many colors of the rainbow flag are meant to represent the many shades of gender identity. Not just homosexuality. It includes you.

Pertaining to this, what I'd like to talk about is the degree to which an individual has come to understand their own gender-identity, the level of free volition they have taken for themselves concerning it, both as an ability to understand themselves for who they are and as an ability to decide who they want to be, in contrast to what society has pre-determined them to be, as well as the role that philosophy, as a whole, plays a part in gender-identification.

Wow, that was a run-on-error if there ever was one.

I think gender-identity is a very important question for the existentialist to struggle with, and one that they have not seemed to address very thoroughly yet. When it comes to defining one's meanings for the world and establish a connection between their visceral-self and their physical persona, it is important to deeply analyze and dissect all societal-psychological institutions. Sure, religion and ideology are big too, but gender-identity is nearly as fundamental to our day-to-day lives and yet almost entirely ignored, while the others have been read to death and then to death again.

It's time we break down old arbitrary classifications that have been handed down to us by past generations. It's time we realize that such classifications exist for the purpose of communicating ideas, and not as a way to depict any fundamental laws. These walls are constructed to hold sentences together, not keep us trapped in our own societies.

The primordial urge of the existentialist seems to be freedom. But one cannot truly be free until they have defined themselves. But to define one's self involves tearing down years and years of conditioning put on us by others. We must build ourselves back from the bottom up. So do not leave gender ignored.

Perhaps it's true that your very inherent self is precisely as a social stereo-type would have it. But it's not likely. And it's not worth the assumption. Lets go over some of those stereo-types.

The Female. The female, in the eyes of society, is, of course, defined by femininity. For they both stem from the same latin root, "femella". This is identified with things such as passivity, submission, flamboyancy, daintiness. All unique traits, crammed into a neat box together and thrust upon the backs of females everywhere, to carry with them. Such has been the cause of a long history of oppression. Although not everywhere. Not in small and excluded societies, removed from the impression of these social norms, across a variety of times and places. For such traits may very well be influenced by nature, but that goes without saying whether nature holds the same things out for everyone within a given classification, be it sex, race, class or any other convoluted thing. It seems the posers of the naturalistic argument are the most fundamentally confused about what nature is.

The Male. Defined by masculinity; strong, brave, and dominant. So deeply have men become obsessed with this picture of masculinity in modern times. For the great majority of human history, we lived in small tribes where men and women experienced relative equality. Then, suddenly, within the course of a few thousand years, the world--in mind--was ensnared by the idea of the masculine male and--in body--by growing brute force of many males armed with weapons of death, at the command of their revered male leaders, with the tireless goal of conquering the Earth. So much death; so much destruction, attributed to this idea. But not only death and destruction. Also magnificent wonders, inventions and creations. So many new things built, the likes of which humanity had never seen before. Men began to dream of powerful empires of untold riches and they did whatever they could to get it. Yet again, just as with femininity--with no need to connect the passive with submissive--men created for themselves the unfortunate connection between strength and dominance. It's nothing short of mass hysteria. This is depicted perfectly in the movie Fight Club. It's even quite existential. Some think the movie is actually about masculinity itself. If anything, it's mocking it.

Fortunately, in more recent times, we have managed to expand our gender roles. At least to an extent. We have managed to see a return to the tolerance of people expressing alternate sexuality. And, more importantly, have shown the capacity to accept ourselves for who we really are, rather than live a lie. This is the fight of the existentialist. Yet it's still very far from where it should be. These new gender distinctions, too, have fallen prey to societal stereo-types.

The Gay Male. Now, their roles have been reversed. Since this male has reversed sexuality, obviously they must be effeminate. No room for the strong gay man. You know a gay man when you see one because they wear pink and speak with high voices.

The Gay Female. Now the females befalls the masculine trap. She's a lesbian? She must be so butch! Lesbians all just have penis envy and wish they were men. Watch-out! She's aggressive! She still dresses like most females and doesn't cut her hair short? Oh, she's just a "lip-stick" lesbian. She only does it to impress the guys. All bisexual females are sluts.

The strangest thing about it all is how people who supposedly support gay equality will institute their own oppressive norms. They know people feel disgusted when they think of two men having sex. So they'll make a movie like Brokeback Mountain just for the shock-value. Instant awards! But can you imagine what happens when you have the same movie but replace the men with lesbians? That's not art! It's pornography! You're not allowed to write a real love story about lesbians.

Now, I'd like to close with what this all means to me. As a straight male, I'm conditioned under the masculine stereo-type. When I ask my self about what it means and how it relates to me, it turns out I love the idea of strength. I want to be a champion. I want to achieve and over-come all. As I'm sure the great majority of straight women, indeed all humans, would feel if they truly asked themselves about it and broke free of conditioning. Yet, if I had to pick between masculinity and femininity--be it a false dichotomy--I would choose femininity. I deeply enjoy the sensation of passivity. I like being touchy-feely. I like to dance. I like to skip. I love the color pink. I love to watch romance movies. And--goddamnit--I'm going to! And you can't stop me!

This brings me to the concept of True Strength. As set apart from the strength of the popular conception of masculinity. It involves the ability to take command of one's own soul and throw off the chains which we all grow up sharing. It isn't defined by anything except what you choose to define it with for yourself. It may, in fact, be aggressive. But I don't think most human beings really want that, deep down. Most humans are meant to live in peace and to reach for the stars while they're at it.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Jack212
Posts: 572
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7/23/2013 6:26:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I disagree, we need to use as few definitions as possible. To demonstrate, here are 5 facts about me:

1. I have a penis.

2. I am attracted to women but not men.

3. I have light-colored skin.

4. I doubt that there is a God.

5. I do not want to cut off my foot.

And here is how I define myself based on those characteristics:

1. Male.

2. N/A.

3. N/A.

4. N/A.

5. N/A.

I am male. 3 words, all you need to know before starting a conversation with me. I see no reason to keep a label for the rest, as I don't build my identity on it. I like facts 2 through 5 about myself, but I couldn't give a sh!t that they make me a straight, white, Agnostic non-foot-cutter. Having more labels and definitions makes stuff complicated.
Raisor
Posts: 4,459
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7/23/2013 6:40:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/23/2013 6:26:21 AM, Jack212 wrote:
I disagree, we need to use as few definitions as possible. To demonstrate, here are 5 facts about me:

1. I have a penis.

2. I am attracted to women but not men.

3. I have light-colored skin.

4. I doubt that there is a God.

5. I do not want to cut off my foot.

And here is how I define myself based on those characteristics:

1. Male.

2. N/A.

3. N/A.

4. N/A.

5. N/A.

I am male. 3 words, all you need to know before starting a conversation with me. I see no reason to keep a label for the rest, as I don't build my identity on it. I like facts 2 through 5 about myself, but I couldn't give a sh!t that they make me a straight, white, Agnostic non-foot-cutter. Having more labels and definitions makes stuff complicated.

Even if you want to try and rely only on biological characteristics the gender binary is difficult. There are xy chromosome males with no penis, individuals with both penis and vagina or neither, individuals who have surgical alterations to genitalia. Thats before we even talk about how gender roles are mostly social constructs.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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7/23/2013 9:40:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
"But to define one's self involves tearing down years and years of conditioning put on us by others"

Or, as a converse claim, the self is defined by our groups, and to find the self independent of our context, subtext, and community is meaningless (a la Nagel and Sandel).
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Jack212
Posts: 572
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7/23/2013 6:28:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/23/2013 6:40:54 AM, Raisor wrote:
At 7/23/2013 6:26:21 AM, Jack212 wrote:
I disagree, we need to use as few definitions as possible. To demonstrate, here are 5 facts about me:

1. I have a penis.

2. I am attracted to women but not men.

3. I have light-colored skin.

4. I doubt that there is a God.

5. I do not want to cut off my foot.

And here is how I define myself based on those characteristics:

1. Male.

2. N/A.

3. N/A.

4. N/A.

5. N/A.

I am male. 3 words, all you need to know before starting a conversation with me. I see no reason to keep a label for the rest, as I don't build my identity on it. I like facts 2 through 5 about myself, but I couldn't give a sh!t that they make me a straight, white, Agnostic non-foot-cutter. Having more labels and definitions makes stuff complicated.

Even if you want to try and rely only on biological characteristics the gender binary is difficult. There are xy chromosome males with no penis, individuals with both penis and vagina or neither, individuals who have surgical alterations to genitalia. Thats before we even talk about how gender roles are mostly social constructs.

"I'm a hermaphrodite."

"I am transsexual."

"It's complicated."

Problem solved.

Gender roles are more complicated than that. It starts at the neurological level, where men's brains are wired differently than women's. That extends to psychological, men and women think differently. Then comes behavioral, they act differently. Then social, we identify with role models and emulate their behavior. This is all normal and healthy until you reach the legal/philosophical level, where people try to dictate and justify gender-related behavior instead of just accepting that it exists.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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7/24/2013 12:28:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/23/2013 6:26:21 AM, Jack212 wrote:
I disagree, we need to use as few definitions as possible.

This really doesn't have anything to do with what I said.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord