Personal and social identities
Humans like to distinguish themselves with a personal identity, show their being unique, and they will battle over it when they feel not accepted as such. At the same time they also want to belong to communities sharing the same identities, to feel more included and to have a voice together, make a difference as group. It feels contradicting, but it only shows the difference between personal psychological identities and social identities. Social never can be personal and unique 100 percent, because it always is about more than one person sharing the same kind of values and ideas, but with smaller or bigger differences in it as well. Groups serve and support a feeling of being accepted and can help people who fear to share their identity for sometimes life threatening reasons. For society in return it will become harder to ignore certain identities. Any change in acceptance and/or influence begins with meeting other person’s eyes and ears. A group has more power to do so than an individual. Hence the logic of needing both personal and social identities, even if they seem to contradict.
A personal identity in progress is gender identity. The regular terms of straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual etc. are not enough anymore. We have transgenders, pansexuals, gender-neutrals and a lot more. It no longer is an unquestioned rule that your biological identity also defines your gender identity. Your body can be male or female, or a mix, but your gender determines how you identify yourself. Gender is how you feel in relation to being a man or woman, despite or because of your biological identity. It no longer is ‘What you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG). Instead it has become ‘What you see can be different than what you get’. From EYEdentity to FEELdentity. The unquestioned rule I pointed at probably never worked anyway, it only showed what society (religion being a big part of that as well) could and wanted to handle as acceptable. Now the time has come for more diversity in how people wish to identify themselves. More secularisation, more individualism, more need for claiming one’s own space, more medical options to actually change the body as well if that feels more natural to you. And not to forget, more opportunities in communication to reach others due to the Internet facilitating that. The Internet not only being an innocent partner in that however. It can facilitate good and evil forces both. It can make and break reputations, it can ruin or build minds when targeted well and at the right persons. Scary actually how the Internet can be a place of victory and downfall in matters of a few seconds.
I am in an easy position because I identify with something regular and what can be considered belonging to a majority in terms of gender. So for me it is fairly easy to say . . is that really necessary, all these different gender identities or even body changes. But who am I to question that is what I also know. If people feel different than what is considered more regular, then they feel that. And if they feel it as something existential to also need a physical change of their body to be more in line with how they feel (transgenders), then I only can have admiration and respect for daring to be who you are/how you feel. So yes, no issue at all, except when it is done too hastily or as trendy change to be special and different. Because such decisions are radical changes that probably cannot be undone anymore and that will have a huge impact on someone’s life. It must be freeing as well as incredibly hard, because you also face a world that might not be so kind with you or that makes stupid jokes or refuses to call you he or she (depending the change). Or maybe people simply have no clue how to deal with the new you at all and you maybe also not with them. It is not nothing and not only pleasant I think. Medications and surgery never are fun anyway, so yes, being more you as transgender can be a stressful experience is how I imagine it, while staying the other you is stressful as well.
While I am okay with more awareness and more acceptance of various gender identities I am not very happy with how certain groups try to force awareness for their case in an aggressive way. It is the movement called WOKE. WOKE used to be focussed on racial issues when it started, but has grown into more than that. Read more on WOKE here if not familiar with the term: WHAT IS WOKE. I tend to say WOKE increases the already very present spirit of feeling insulted and attacked over every little thing and with that it kills the feeling of being reasonable for the ones they try to reach or accuse. WOKE often goes over the top with being too sensitive and too aggressive. A society always needs changes and improvements. Just it matters how those changes are being brought to people’s minds. No one wants to be called discriminating or a racist or sexist when using language or other forms of communication that maybe are not perfect but also are not used to provoke or deny other people’s identity. What to some is called better language, more inclusive, makes to others no sense at all and such things need time and debate to know what works and how it prevents occupying each other’s space too much.
I do agree there probably are a lot of habitual ways of speaking we never looked at as possibly harmful, but then again, this does not always and necessarily mean it also is used for being harmful. When going in full attack mode on something that is not meant to harm, you can expect people to not understand your problem and even resist to it. Intimidation and aggression will not meet acceptance and willingness to listen. Plus, not every change is always an improvement for a society as a whole. It is a good thing language mirrors the present identities in a society, but because of the many identities people ‘choose’ it can become a bit too much to handle and a big mess when all regular language has to be replaced with something inclusive. A language will feel less fluent that way and lose its flexibility. Expressing an identity does not rely on words only. The way you dress, act and interact with others will probably be of a bigger influence on society. The use of a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ word matters less when you are accepted as you are. Claiming a space suggests you are not accepted. Where in most cases you are accepted. When not, and yes that exists too much and often in a hostile way, that deserves to be criticised, but choose your enemy wisely and don’t blame the ones who do accept you and who simply wish to use their own ways of expressing, like you wish to use your way of expressing.
So no, I think the WOKE way is not a good way. Most certainly not when done in an intimidating, manipulative and aggressive way. It only will cause more troubles for what someone tries to change and does no good to a discussion they wish to initiate. And as with every discussion you will have to deal with an outcome you could dislike. If that is fair or not fair is another thing, but it simply means you will not always get what you want or need, because such is life. Patience, persistence and non-aggressive ways of communication will lead to more success.
And yes, there always will be a difference in actually being insulted or feeling insulted. You can learn to detox yourself from being oversensitive instead of blaming the whole world for you feeling miserable. Victimising yourself is easy. I intensely dislike it. And no, I do not excuse the groups and individuals who DO abuse existing language with the intention to harm. To call someone a nazi, a whore or faggot, is just horrible. To belittle women with sexist approaches is just horrible too. Same when it concerns women accusing men of toxic masculinity when they just tried to flatter you in a non-intrusive way or maybe are shy or clumsy and mess up with the ‘wrong’ comment. The true macho’s deserve a punch on the head yes, but don’t make all men look like a bunch of pigs because of others who misbehave. Power feminists tend to use an aggressive WOKE kind of style as well in this. Just blame all men and the world will be a better place when women take over. Yeah sure. As if all women are angels. Bitches and harmful women enough as well. . . sorry ladies.
A while ago a group of students demanded a change in a news magazine from the Maastricht University here in my country. They disagreed on the magazine defining monthly periods/menstruation to something that concerns women. They wanted it to be changed in humans/people with monthly periods/menstruation. The editors refused (with fair and good reasoning) and that was the start of a big conflict, even resulting in a cyber attack at the magazine’s website. I really do not see how such aggressive approaches are helpful for wishing language to be more inclusive. I will post a link to an article reporting on the issue. And it is not just an incident. It seems to become normal to force, threaten and attack as way to insist on changes. I call it rude and spoiled. If you find to have a good cause then make sure you prepare better and do a better job. Instead of lowering yourself to cheap and disgraceful tactics at the cost of others who work hard for their cause as well, grow up and talk normal. In short: Learn to discuss instead of threaten.
WOMEN VERSUS PEOPLE WHO MENSTRUATE
A link to the original article is here: OBSERVANT ONLINE (Dutch only)
So what am I in terms of identity?
It maybe is handy to first look at all what is there. According to this site there are 68 Terms That Describe Gender Identity and Expression and I have to admit that quite a lot of them were new to me, except the more ‘common’ ones we all know probably these days. It almost feels as if you have to choose a certain identity to have a license to exist, where identity is something that I think is nothing so absolute as we like to believe it is. It is and should be a never ending journey and I am always aware of how I could maybe change in what I believe I am, when circumstances and society change. That being said, here are the results of the jury: I officially define as a CISGENDER FEMALE in the newer terms. I am born as a woman and I feel like a woman. I am super regular yes. Almost boring ! ; )
It does not tell you about my sexual preferences no. Gender identity is not the same as a sexual identity. When we shift to that things often become more fluid because of what we like or are curious about. I would call myself heterosexual with a curious mind for exploring my sexuality. So also in this I am very regular. I feel attracted to and fall in love with men. But my triggers for attraction depend on more than a man just being a man, meaning I will not fall in love with any man of course. That would be quite a dramatic and problematic situation. And now you want to know what those triggers are of course. All right, fasten your seatbelts and buckle up? Who knows finally something less regular? Hmmm, probably not ; )
I think there is nothing uncommon in what attracts and triggers me. But you decide for yourself on that. My mind is attracted to someone that feeds me and inspires me with curiosity and intelligence and with a certain feeling of authority in it. That authority does not necessarily point at something like being an alpha male. It can be someone’s knowledge and wisdom as well for instance. Or someone’s life experience. But I do have a pretty strong mind myself and I know I need someone ‘back’ with a strong personality. I need a certain counter-weight and someone able to give feedback that feels like not too easy. I like complexity in someone’s character. It is more challenging and adventurous, less predictable and more surprising. And humour humour and humour . . . plus a fair amount of being able to laugh at oneself. Self-reflection is a must. Creative and independent help as well. Wow . . I sound picky now. I guess I am, but also not when it comes to looks for instance.
I hardly care or even not at all care for looks. I fall in love with a mind and not with a body. I attract to honesty, even if blunt and direct when no other way possible, because it gives clarity and prevents fake appearances for the sake of whatever harm not intended. I am not an adrenalin junkie at the same time. I like harmony and feeling safe and secured. I like both serious and silly, intimate and detached and I like promises being kept. I can go on with things I like and dislike and need or do not need, but the point is that all of those things do not exist in all males and also not in males only. My love style, let’s call it that, theoretically also could apply on women with the features I like and need. But I never will fall in love with a woman. Women will become besties at the most. Never a lover.
On the other hand I can imagine to like sex with a woman. And watching sex of all kinds of preferences can arouse me in an equal way. Does that mean that me defining myself as heterosexual is not correct? You tell me . . . All I know is that I only fall in love with men but can be sexually aroused in multiple ways. But if I would have to choose I always will choose a male as partner, same for sex. My fantasies also always will include sex with a male. I actually don’t care what kind of gender and sexual identity would define me best. I just follow how it feels and it needs no name for me personally. For the relational aspect I would be okay with just calling it love and attraction between humans as far as I am concerned. That’s pretty inclusive language yes. I know it will never be like that, but just to say how I feel myself towards not needing a fixed identity in words. Can we just be happy to exist and love? Apparently not ; ) But yes, again, I know, I am on the easy side, because not identifying with something less common or less accepted, both on gender and sexuality, and not having to struggle for who I am and how I identify.
Alpha males and females
On alpha as ways to identify oneself I struggle a bit with how it often is used. To me there is nothing wrong with the word alpha when someone feels to be an alpha. Just the term is not always explained the same by everyone. Some see it like it occurs in animals, an individual being a natural and by everyone accepted leader of the pack. But that mostly refers to groups and families. Others see it as something more sexual. Quite a lot see it as a power thing, a bit macho. And that’s where I start to dislike it. Even more when it is shared in a kind of (written) statement to be an alpha. I am alpha and I therefore have authority is how it feels to me and that’s not really working. You want and need that authority maybe yes, but you still have to earn the respect that comes with authority. I wonder however if authority can be learned and earned like you can improve certain skills. Authority I do not see as skill so much. I think it is something you own by nature. And natural authority can be sensed, something hard to describe. But also by witnessing someone’s acts on how they deal with complex situations will show the presence or lack of authority. You are alpha or you are not, and if you are you do not need to make a statement about it. This applies to both men and women.
Alpha simply is not about power statements. Alpha is about being able to take control when needed and feeling a responsibility to make things work in the right way. That’s a strong force yes, but a different one than showing off with words like alpha and not being one for real. I guess it has to do with thinking about alpha as the most desired feature, especially in men. As if not being an alpha means you are weak, or a loser. Not attractive and not popular. That is an odd believe however. Imagine everyone would be alpha. What a mess that would be. It’s all about balance and alpha or no alpha has nothing to do with how valuable you are as person. Some like to live with alpha’s, others do not at all. Simple as that. And in essence we often are a bit of a mix probably, having alpha sides and less alpha sides.
Submission (in a sexual way) also can be a bit of an issue. It lost part of its acceptance in how it is judged more as something not good for you, especially the female submission towards a man. Too paternalistic, old-fashioned and abusive. The toxic masculinity accusations on submission have become quite strong. I think such accusations just miss the essence of it because the ones opposing to it do not feel it as attractive themselves and link it to unwanted suppression. They however miss how sexual submission has nothing to do with toxic masculinity, but all with how it adds to a sexual relation with someone you like to trust in how he (or she) takes a lead and how it adds to desire, pleasure and arousal to be able to let go of control yourself more. How two or more people relate sexually does not tell all or maybe even anything on how they relate in a non-sexual way. It will differ and vary with every single person. I myself like submission but only can be like that with someone I feel it with in a natural way. It is there or it is not there between the minds that meet. If not I will be very not submissive because then it makes no sense to show that side.
Male and female
I strongly believe in every one of us always carrying both masculine and feminine features, just to express it in precise words is difficult. It needs precise descriptions of what masculine and feminine is and I do not have those at hand. It is not a hard versus soft element for me. Males and females can be equally hard or soft. It is more the handling of emotions and feelings I tend to connect with male and female differences. How they can be accessed and how they are allowed space in someone’s life. And I also believe that such a balance is never static and varies per period of time, depending on the actual challenges of someone’s life. When in survival mode we act different than when relaxed and free. Sometimes less emotional and less feelings can help us to move on. It also has to do with Yin and Yang a bit for me, dark and light, shadow and sun. Etc.
Androgyny, in my case, I consider a way to express myself in looks. I always liked playing with androgyne looks in SL. Not sure why, but probably because I also like to show my other less feminine sides sometimes. To show I am not the typical angel or girl stereotype. It also always makes me feel different when I walk less feminine. Especially when wearing short hair or even male hair. More independent I suppose, feeling better protected against unwanted attentions that often exist in SL when you walk a bit more sensual and feminine in public places. Not that I cannot handle it with denying the attention, but it is just boring in most cases. Also in RL I really like androgyne faces and appearances. David Bowie I loved for that. It opens ways for being creative in how you express yourself and being creative is something I always like. I am sure when digging more deep there will be more reasons why I like it, but it won’t change me feeling a girl and woman even so. It is more a playful thing and exploring certain aesthetics probably. Something with symmetry, testing visual effects on a mind and how it can influence behaviour of myself and others as well.
So, for this reason I will add something funny. I combined the faces of myself and the one I love in SL. It is interesting to see how looking at only a half face makes it easy to see it is a female or male face, and how combining their faces shows a resemblance more of human features both faces have, taking away the difference between male and female more. I hope I will be forgiven for (ab)using my lover’s profile picture for this blog, but hey . . . . it can be seen as tribute as well. My inseparable love. My other half. But if you dislike me you also could call me double faceted of course. Since I use the name 99 faces that is a given anyway :P
Second Life identity versus RL identity?
Are we different in SL and RL is what I mean to ask. I think you cannot really be different than yourself, except when really into playing a role, or faking an identity you are not for real (for whatever reason). I think it eventually will fail to stay pleasant when having to play someone you are not, but maybe you still can feel you enough as compensation for the part that is not you. I could not do it is all I know for sure.
One thing I do believe is possible more in SL yes. To explore your own identity, needs and desires, in a general and sexual way. Because such things can be more complex in RL for many reasons. And the always endearing process of feeling less inhibited in SL with sharing feelings and thoughts, allow emotions to breath and develop a close connection with another mind. That I think is a typical benefit of virtual connections which I really cherish and would not want to miss. It adds to a life and happiness when meeting a mind that fits. Unless or until shit happens yes. But shit can happen everywhere, also in RL, so that’s nothing unique for SL. SL however is a place where shit can happen more fast and easy I suppose yes. A lot of options to end up in troubles, especially when it concerns a love connection, because virtual love seems more vulnerable to either feeling suffocated or ignored, as well as expectations and (alleged) cheats. Balancing SL love with RL demands and/or love ask for flexibility, trust and good communication.
Best to keep your independency high when also sharing a need for each other as lover. Easy? No. Wise? Yes. Can I do it? Mostly yes. Though sometimes I am just human as well and feel less good with love in SL, thinking I better stay out of it. That probably will be the eternal challenge, to love or not to love intimately in SL. But once you’re in, you have no choice really anymore. Love happens, just like shit happens. Monthly periods being one of those shits that happen to women. And yes thank you, I know that shit happening with a monthly period is technically not correct. Don’t WOKE me on that! It’s how language is. Well, mine at least. And you should be happy to be a male in the perspective of such shit happening to us women. All of these facts being biologically correct for me. If it’s also political correct I am less sure about. Probably not.