Author Topic: Genderfluidity  (Read 777 times)

Clockwork

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Genderfluidity
« on: November 22, 2017, 08:05:51 AM »
Recently I decided to up my game on knowledge about people who have issues with gender and issues they've resolved with gender. Finding out about the different states of non-binary mainly but also looking across the more familiar spectrum.  I said to myself, it's sure as hell not going to get any less complicated as time goes on, be a good thing to catch up now and then refresh as and when needed.


Wasn't all that complicated to tell the truth, more than a few people trying to make it so unnecessarily.


Anyway, through my searching I found a state whereby an individual (or not) will change gender over time as they feel I guess. This was the first time during my information gathering I had a problem: Doesn't that entirely rely on having a strictly heteronormative definition of what genders are? I mean, how can you say "I'm identifying as male now" (with the inference then that you used to be something else) without that also meaning 'I believe masculinity is this, that or the other'. If you can definitely say 'I'm feeling more male' then surely you have to have a definition of what male is?


Counter to that: I'm male, use male pronouns, but I don't think it means I have to do, be or act in any particular way at all.


What I'm led to think from further looking is that identifying as male temporarily for genderfluid people just means that at the moment they're using male pronouns. Which in turn means that the state of being genderfluid is pretty moot. Identifying as 'Non-binary using male pronouns' would be exactly the same thing.


Anyone help me out, I'm finding more conflicting opinions.
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Jubal

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 09:24:29 AM »
I don't think genderfluidity requires a heteronormative definition of gender, though it does require some kind of idea of some number of genders to be fluid between. I think how that works, what those are, etc etc will be different from person to person - I've known people ID as genderfluid who didn't change pronouns and were just standard non-binary/used "they". I guess genderfluid folk I've known are perhaps more often those who have what the rest of society would consider a wide range of gender presentation; a lot of nonbinary folk I know actively aim for a presentation of themselves where people don't try and "read" a binary gender for them, whereas someone who's genderfluid will just vary a lot more in how they present themselves.

I guess regarding the heteronormativity of this - I think it is probably in large part reactive to how society defines/pushes gender roles, and the more secure/accepted one's own gender is the easier it is to break out of classic rules etc for that gender. To take the classic silly example of clothing, in many ways easier for a guy to wear a dress and still say "well I'm still clearly/happily male", whereas if a nonbinary person wears a dress people may start assuming/implying that they're either not really nonbinary, or that they're a trans woman, or whatever. I guess a lot of gender stuff is as much about people working out how the way their brain & body work in relation to societal definitions (and what the smallest stretch of those definitions is that they can get to fit): this is why some genders are heavily culturally specific, you get certain gender roles that only exist in eg Native American or Fijian or whatever cultures because people are socialised to expect those to exist.

I dunno if that's helpful, just some initial thoughts.
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Clockwork

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 01:03:52 PM »
Yeah that's helpful thanks :)


I'm getting the impression quite a lot that certain non-binary people seem to focus a lot on what they assume people think about them. A lot of the wiki definitions (where I started) for instance rely on being viewed as something as opposed to defining what someone is.
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Jubal

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 11:21:12 PM »
This may be true - in context, I think that's understandable, when the defining feature of that identity is having been brought up/assigned a gender in a system that everyone assumed would fit them but actually just doesn't. I think a lot of non-binary-ness is often an expression of "people view me as X and have tried to fit me into this category/this system, but I don't, therefore I am non-binary" - it's perhaps conceptually (as linguistically) born as an expression of breaking out of the system and people's assumptions, more than about people trying to define a new set of rules or self-definitions or whatever for themselves which might defeat the point. (As with all these things, take nb folks' word over mine if they disagree anywhere!)
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Clockwork

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 07:15:51 AM »
That's fair. I'm understanding at least the desire to not be binary gendered even if I don't always agree that the supreme degree of specificity helps. Not that I judged before but it was one of those things that I just didn't think about, didn't concern me and I didn't care.
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CheeseChipMansion

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2019, 05:32:44 AM »
I'm going to add my two cents here, but I will keep this simple as I could write a lot about it without getting anywhere. Considering this is the 'philosophers' plaza, I'll start by saying that my background of philosophy is heavily influenced by Eastern traditions, religions and philosophy, in conjunction with much of Western psychology and psychoanalysis, in specifically, the works of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

In Eastern religions, there is a thing that we talk about called the 'ego', which is different from the ego, superego and id defined by Freud in psychology. The 'ego' in terms of Hinduism or Zen Buddhism is simply ones mental image of themselves. Most people in Western society become so fixated on this mental image, as we are constantly being prompted to 'think' about ourselves - what house we are going to buy, which console we are going to play on, our political opinions, Facebook making us feel like 'whats on our mind' is somehow objectively important etc.

As Clockwork previously said, the majority of all terms of genderfluidity are nearly explicitly to do with what other people are thinking about them - and perhaps even more significantly, what they think others are thinking about them.

Irrespective of whether a dress is being worn, or if someone chooses to apply (or not to apply) makeup, in other words, separately from all extraneous expressions of identity, someone who is seeking to impose their mental image of themselves onto the external world is going to be tainted by all sorts of depressive, anxiety and neurotic disorders. It is impossible for this sort of person to not be suffering immensely from at least one of these sorts of mental disturbances. This is because there is a divide between who they see in the mirror and the person they think about when they visualize who they want to be in the future. These 'future' images of oneself are likely to have all sorts of projections placed upon them, and are likely to have all sorts of unconscious factors contributing toward the total of that image, because it is the current ego (how you think of yourself now) which is the origin point of these 'future' images. A child who grows up with an overbearing and aggressive father, and a gentle and nurturing mother may seek to continue to avoid their father's aggression whilst clinging to their perception of gentle femininity into adult life - wearing women's clothing, and seeking to be a mother to oneself, not out of a natural incline towards one's own feminine and nurturing nature, but out of sole rejection towards the extreme forms of destructive behavior witnessed by a father during earlier years - again, as Clockwork had said, every term that arises seems to stand in conflict to something else - in other words, it is dependent on conflict for its own survival. It is not a road that may reach its own conclusion without first transforming into something else.

There are many other factors, and this topic is something which I cannot fully express in only a few paragraphs. I do feel that our current form of society rewards the victim. We are looking for someone to punish, hence why Christianity is so prevalent, with its followers being able to feel as if they do not have to learn from or take responsibility for their own mistakes because they have all been neatly tucked away in Christ's grave with him. So with nihilism on the rise, and the new generations of kids jumping on board with anti-Christian movements (LaVeyan Satanism, Wiccan beliefs, New Age beliefs etc.) and scientific notion which seems to imply the Universe is expanding and we're 'all going to die alone' , there is a tremendous amount of guilt associated with human history which needs to be addressed in order to properly understand why people are becoming so motivated to find someone, something to blame for their mistakes... What could be more shiny, more desirable than a universal victim title? If you're the victim, then society owes you something, because it's society that f*cked you up so bad, and so nothing that's wrong with you is your fault, you're a good person and it's just a damn shame that someone as wholesome and innocent as you was born into such an awful world.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 05:47:43 AM by CheeseChipMansion »

Clockwork

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2019, 11:28:15 PM »
Hi CheeseChipMansion, welcome to E,

I realise you're new but this particular forum is open for all kinds of debate so prepare to be argued with here, no matter the topic or stance, as my friend and frequent partner in what I hope can be called debate Jub will tell you, I'm an asshat with strongly held notions  :)

I'll take a stab here and believe for the moment you're most familiar with the world-enriching USA or booming African continent as Christianity is certainly not prevalent insomuch as declining in Europe and not increasing at any significant rate anywhere than the aforementioned.

Also being somewhat familiar with Freud, Jung, a philosophical, theological and psychological layman - As you say, ego is the self but isn't the ego an obstacle to overcome in eastern religion? I thought that you had to 'get over yourself' to find true compassion and whatnot? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I disagree with your idea that someone exhibiting anti-normative behaviours is at least part of the cause of anxiety and depression. Just anecdotal evidence from me I'm afraid but the (self-titled, in somesuch language anyhow) flaming queens I've known have not thought of being any other way and as such it doesn't cause them distress.

In addition to this, femininity in males or masculinity in females doesn't mean necessarily that their identity is confused. Personally speaking, I am an effeminate male in at least some respects and my sister is a more masculine female than all I've come across but both of us are very comfortable in our male/female gender respectively.

I also didn't quite say that the terms stand to cause conflict, I actually (perhaps erroneously) think that the terms arise because people don't think through objectively enough what they mean to say because they're already to close to the issue but that's a whole other kettle of fish. I agree it's a slight difference but it's important enough to me to make the distinction.

There are many reasons for a society to favour the victim, usually because of balance of power favours the victimiser which gives them the confidence to create victims. Punishment is great, two consenting adults, a feather and a cat-o-nine-tails, go for it. But in a justice system? Justice is about redressing the balance, how badly did someone portugal someone else? $40,00 worth? Okay we can work with that. Since time immemorial and unto time everlasting, what society thinks doesn't matter to the individual (in a 'do I actually care what someone tells me I should be'). They can blame that, sure, they can cry injustice and protest but in the end it doesn't matter, who we love and what they think matters. And it's about finding people with compassion and the time to show you that the small does matter. All opinion but I've yet to meet anyone who lives actually by what society thinks of them and not what they've read or watched which gives them a false notion from a small group of people that this is the ideal they should be working towards. And yes I think this is largely because I've so far only had any major interactions across Europe.

Just my 2c as well  ;)

Rob
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 11:48:21 PM by Clockwork »
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Jubal

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 11:50:15 PM »
I'm also going to push back briefly on what you suggest about neuroticism etc being linked to trying to join up your mental image of yourself with your current one, which you seem to be suggesting is generically undesirable. I disagree at least from a personal level: fundamentally, it is my drive and goal to build the person I want to be, as separate from the person I am, that gives an essential level of purpose to my life. It would be nihilistic to think that at any time, I am all I can be. Of course I'm trying to impose my mental image of myself on the outside world (as well as trying to impose my mental image of the world on the outside world) - I do so because I believe that I, and the world around me, is not something to be simply accepted for the sterile status quo of what it is, but that these are things that we can learn about, shape, build. If people didn't think that their inner self ought to have any impact on their outer self, we'd frankly still be banging rocks together.

As for your last paragraph:

Quote
our current form of society rewards the victim
Citation needed. I'm pretty sure that last I checked, the victims of society's major injustices were not being rewarded with any level of efficiency I've noticed. I'm not sure how the hugely higher homelessness rates and higher vulnerability to crime experienced by trans people, to keep with that example, classify as "rewards". Even if you consider people who are better off and have larger voices in communities like that, you find that many of them have had to experience long and protracted hate campaigns against themselves and their families. Where's the "reward"?

Quote
its followers being able to feel as if they do not have to learn from or take responsibility for their own mistakes
Again, citation needed. Sure, philosophically some Christians (though specifically, Calvinists & a number of other protestant branches, so you're already counting out Catholics, Orthodox, etc) believe nominally in salvation by faith alone, but a) most followers of religions haven't read let alone verbatim believing their sect's nominal theological tracts, and b) even among those who have, this is not an attitude I've ever encountered. I mean you may see it more in the US, I dunno, but I have never come across a European who actually believed this.

Quote
So with nihilism on the rise, and the new generations of kids jumping on board with anti-Christian movements (LaVeyan Satanism, Wiccan beliefs, New Age beliefs etc.) and scientific notion which seems to imply the Universe is expanding and we're 'all going to die alone' , there is a tremendous amount of guilt associated with human history which needs to be addressed in order to properly understand why people are becoming so motivated to find someone, something to blame for their mistakes...
Citation needed again. I don't know the exact stats on new generations uptake of Satanism or Wicca but I'm pretty sure they barely register as a blip in the statistics. Also, the Universe does seem to be expanding and I have no idea how this relates to anything else you said here. I'm also not sure how you jump between nihilism, which is by definition about the uselessness and senselessness of existence, and e.g. Wicca, and I don't know where your logical connection appears which takes you from that to "guilt associated with human history". I don't actually think most people are particularly fixated on guilt related to human history, and I don't really see how that relates to people blaming others for their mistakes. You seem to be sort of spitting a set of vague assertions as a connected sentence here, and you'd be better off picking one and trying to substantiate it I think.

Quote
What could be more shiny, more desirable than a universal victim title?
Having enough money to live on seems like a start here?



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Pentagathus

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 01:04:35 PM »
Do we have anyone of the fluid persuasion on exilian? I've never met one before, would be interesting to hear what it actually means to someone to change gender. Is it like having multiple personalities? Would you simply associate different emotional states with a different gender?

comrade_general

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Re: Genderfluidity
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2019, 01:07:30 PM »
Well all of us are nearly 60% water doesn't that mean everyone is fluid folk?
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