Archive for September 2011

Identity Crisis

Implications of Identity

Personal, Society · · 2 comments

I’ve been engaging in a little bit of introspection regarding self-identity this week. It sprung up from several conversations with a friend of mine, mixed with some comments from the book I’m currently reading, The Feminine Mystique ( by Betty Friedan. These sources sparked thoughts about the way in which people perceive themselves, and how that affects their own direction in life.

Friedan discusses at one point how women in the 1960s were generally identified by who they were rather than what they did. While men were defined by their achievements: their profession, their skills, their victories and defeats; women were instead defined by their anatomy: their ability to become mothers. In other words, women were fulfilling their role by just existing long enough to become pregnant. I don’t think I’m qualified to discuss how such attitudes have changed since the time of Friedan’s writing—I expect that we’ve likely made some progress toward equality in this area, but there is likely still more to be done—but I would like to extend this toward a slightly broader perspective.Continue Reading

Superhero costume

Defenders of Normality

Society · · Leave a comment

The world is full to the brim with limitless variety, and humans themselves have boundless diversity. But many people have some concept of what is “normal” that selects a small slice of this diversity and nothing else. In and of itself, categorizing things this way is not harmful; however, usually the concept of “normal” is accompanied by a condemnation of what is “abnormal”. And when people are pressured to be “normal” and any deviance is denigrated as “weird” or “strange”, the social ostracism and identity conflict that this can produce can bring immense psychological suffering. It hurts to be abnormal.Continue Reading