(((beforehand: this probs sounds well egoistic, but I think writing constantly in the first person/experiential is lesssss egoistic bc it shows that a human cannot speak for Humans – I I I – ay ay ay)))
- FINDING GENDER.
I have always had a mix of traits that I didn’t assign much gendered importance to. Post-16 and I was approaching Woman Age so thought I should probably sort something out. Thinking about it, it was a case of ‘finding’ femininity rather than ‘being’ Feminine as such. Now, the verb ‘find’ is interesting here. It suggests learning what femininity could be, ‘discovering’ it and a process of self-making, or even perception adapting.
In this ‘finding’ process, I had to make sure the femininity was consistent, so some cognitive dissonance went on. Anything that *seemed* unfeminine, I would just change the definition of femininity I ‘found’. For example I’ve always felt a bit brutish, but I would find the female version of brutishness. It’s not a trait I would change bc it’s handy so I instead change the perspective of this trait to a positive and ‘seek out’ the femininity of strength, ie. looking for positive role models to ‘model’, and so affirm, a piece of my identity. This took the form of largeness and strength in Amazonian warriors/fertility goddesses/70’s Goddess Movement (not saying I identify as a Goddess, I’m an absolute shit lol). Anyway, this physicality suddenly seemed incredibly feminine to me and so I ‘absorbed’ that into me, or displayed physicality in this new light. This ‘type of femininity’ is quite interesting. Gender is cultural and so I feel it is justified to reject some of 21st C British femininity in order to take on other culture/time’s ‘femininities’ . There is even some ‘gender intersectionality’ here as another part of my identity is ‘hippie’ and so I may reject city feminine traits *because* it is not hippie feminine, like going Brazilian (ygm).
In other instances, I would not adapt my perception of a trait, but just reject the trait altogether. For example, I’ve always been a lil’ adventurer and continue to climb into rocks for da bantz. It is boisterous, but I like it. My dad says it’s ‘unladylike’ so instead I entirely reject the idea that adventuring is gendered at all, and carry on my merry way. (And so the contradictions begin…) Oh and another point, is you might try and align more with one identity if you feel you don’t really fit many others, just sayin.
- DEFINING GENDER.
By their nature, definitions require contrast. Light is only known in its relation and opposition to dark. Therefore the feminine is affirmed only in its opposing relation to the masculine: x R y iff y R x. Being a binary relation, I would even go as far as to say that dualism is inherent to definition.
Therefore I would define masculinity as everything that opposes ‘my’ femininity and of which I can draw some (tenuous) links. So masculinity (to me) would be assertive/focused/dominant *just because* I do not identify as such. I wouldn’t say masculinity (to me) is confident, gd bantz and logical because I identify as confident(ish), gd bantz and logical and so there would be a contradiction. So instead I view these traits as ‘ungendered’. (Notice the MASSIVE pattern of subjectivity and cognitive dissonance here. It’s quite funny tbh.)
I have given one explanation of dualism because ‘identity requires definition requires contrast requires dualism’. However let’s think up some others. One could be the Freudian sex drive. (Reproductive) sex requires dualism to ‘work’, ie. fusion of opposites = offspring. As sexuality develops through adolescence, the need for the opposing ideas seems to become stronger. Why would our motives centre around The Sex though? Bit of biology, but also imitatio dei, imitating ‘the beginning/divine creation’. It is the act of humanity and so participating in said act links you to the rest of the world from the beginning of time, bit like ancestral rituals. Sex is the new ancestral ritual yo #RaiseDatDead xxx
(Ofc a massive objection to the above’s reasoning is asexuality and homosexuality. Discusshun 4 anuvva time mebz?)
- WHY BOTHER THEN?
Overall it appears that I take gender rather subjectively, only using objective standards as and when they suit me. I have subjectively created what I claim to be an objective group reality for my subjective individual self. The whole thing seems stupid, pointless and entirely contradictory. Why bother at all?
The root of all of this is *identity*. Gender just happens to be a more convenient expression of identity. Like, the key to stay warm is clothes, but we focus a lot of attention on jeans as clothes because they are more convenient and universal than bandeau bras as clothes.
Why is identity important? Identity, like clothes, are needed to make us feel warm and snug xoxo Identity gives us self-understanding, acknowledgement, purpose, place, future, past, friends. First on the self-understanding. I never cared much for hippies, but my long wavy hair (naturo-phile?) caused people to associate me with a hippie more strongly. Eventually I absorbed this as part of my ‘identity’ too. Why? Why listen to them? It is primarily a way of self-understanding, but also allows us to know other’s expectations of us and our behaviour. An ‘expectation’ is equivalent to a ‘role’, because roles are ‘expected’ to be performed and fulfilled.
Mill wrote “there is nothing general except names.” We engineer universals. The first thing our 2 yr old self-awareness is presented with is a name. Our name tells us who our family is (surname): that is, who we should identify with. When our name is said, it is the world’s acknowledgement of the self and therefore the ‘I’ must exist. Who knows, perhaps without labels we would be a mere stream of consciousness: time only exists when we label the hours. This ‘existence’ seems pretty key here though.
Other questions arise as to why we would naturally feel different to an ascribed identity if our identity informs our existence and gives us our life’s path, but cba right now 😉 bc individualZzz
- THE REALITY OF THE ABSTRACT.
Yep, human construct, yep all the rest of it. To humans, does the abstract not make it *more* real and essential? Human ideas about humans are real to humans because they are humans (lol) Marx said “the essence of [21st C edit: woman or] man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations.” I keep coming back to this, but I think this term ‘relation’ is key here to identity. Reality is only a perception and so a human ‘idea’ effectively too. We work in symbols and ideas and so does *our* existence. (This is where I get v sloppy and tired soz x)
Nominalism may make this more clear, where things are understood and so ‘exist’ in terms of their categories and relations to other entities, their names. Why are fish ‘fish’ apart from how they swim under water? But what about dolphins? Mammal or fish? But mammals walk on land? Etc tec cet etc Imagine that things were not defined. What would we see? Would we see the ‘sky’? Would we see the difference between the sky and the grass, apart from colour? Would we immediately understand colour? (This is why I want to do Baby Studies hehe.) Note that here we have the existential verb, ‘to be’. When we say what *is* colour we are saying that colour exists. “That is green” = “there exists greenness.” “That is a woman” = “there exists womanness.” (Tertullian substantia maybe any1?)
(Oh and for some play work for ethics, I was toying with the mathematical concept of identity, where two equations can be ‘identical’ (3 dash equal sign =) but not look or work in the same way. Similarly we could move to a place of viewing humans as equal because the very fact of having an identity makes them equal, if that makes sense.)
Of course the benefit of abstraction is that it is entirely malleable. Stereotype slush, meme mould, category crushin’. So why get so hung up on gender? Idk, it doesn’t really matter, but it has a strong basis in the human ‘fact’ of woman/man ‘existing’, which further justifies the categorisation of gender. It is also universal, as biologically, all humans are either male or female, and anthropologically, all cultures have a concept of gender.
Change in identity categorisation is perfectly possible, and indeed necessary. Identities rely on information, environment and technology. So, in a low birth rate society, there would be greater identity in the sexuality of man and woman to promote reproductive sex/offspring springin up. In a starving society, there would be stronger emphasis on the fed and unfed.
So that’s environment. Talking of information, there are some constant human ‘informations’ we have and we make judgements based on that available information. It is fact that men are taller/stronger and women have children. Categorisation/stereotypes/identities will clearly form around that. We can increase or decrease the extent and emotion of said identity through technology. The more technology (or environment actually) makes these differences less pronounced, the less they will matter and so the less ‘gender identity necessary’ as it were. This is clear to see as roles in society are no longer as based around strength and fertility, but around intellect (or typing 9-5 lol no) which is not gendered. Information and science too! Eg. if it was shown that a child had the same brain as an adult, our view of adult and child roles/identities would change tremendously. Available information and pragmatic importance of that information = identity.
Another way to change is to change cultural values, but I think these align with technology and environment more so, so these are the fundamental things we need to change. Want to reduce the nationalist identity? Stop war and hang in wiv the EU. Want to remove the mothering identity? Test tube babies m9
- ‘HUMAN IDENTITY = UNITY’ ?
Now, we could move past this and have a human identity instead? It would be nice, and it could exist if aliens did, but it contradicts the concept of identity in the first place. Identity only exists in contrast to other things as I have said.
The only contrast that could exist would be between the ‘human’ humans and ‘non-human’ humans. Problems of dehumanisation are obvious. Say we have some ‘human values’ and no other identities. Our only aim in life would be to be as ‘human as possible’ thus creation a monolithic mess. Anyone who deviated from ‘human norms’ would be less human and all manner of terrible things could be justified accordingly. I would therefore always advocate for *more* identities rather than less (though not too many to make group membership meaningless).
Greater identities could decrease conflict. Say, everyone had 20 identities, the probability that you would be *exactly* the same as someone, or *exactly* opposite to someone, is 1/220. This makes it 99.9999046% likely that you would find *some* common ground with everyone in the world. If these commonalities were focused on, there could be less conflict. If the differences within a ‘side’ were focused on, there could be less conflict (because there would be less unity and perhaps some would have even more unity with the other side.) Yay. Peace. Love. X
Identity is the main thing. Gender is one type of identity but a useful form of it. Gender, as an identity category, is made more real by its repetition and value in our society. Change that and gender identity will puff off.