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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:55 pm 
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POSValkir wrote:
I've always felt that real problem with addressing these issues is recommending fixes "as a class" rather than towards individuals. It reinforces the idea that whole groups of people are the same, which reinforces the stereotypes that are the roots of the problem.

Yes, the class/race is being oppressed, but can't we be a bit more imaginative in our solutions than creating blanket and conformative policies or solutions?

put simply... no. systemic problems can't be solved with individual solutions. they just can't. it's a problem of scale: large-scale groups of people don't behave the same way as individuals do. at an individual level, you can do all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons, but as a collective we'll follow the available incentives every single time. for instance, while we personally can choose to spend a little more in order to reward businesses who treat their employees fairly, we societally are always going to wind up supporting major retailers like Walmart and McDonalds even though we know how terrible and exploitative they are, because the concrete economic incentive of cheaper products is much stronger than the abstract moral incentive of fairness.

also, more generally, identifying classes doesn't reinforce stereotypes, it categorizes experiences. the class of African Americans, for instance, is created by the forms of discrimination and oppression they face. and there are subclasses within that: light-skinned black people will have different experiences from dark-skinned black people, black men and black women will have different experiences, straight black people will have different experiences from non-straight ones. you can granulate as much as you want, and depending on the problem at hand, different amounts may be appropriate, but when you're talking about systemic oppression, you need to consider classes rather than individuals because that's how systems work.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:50 am 
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I'll respond to whatever topics remain after the thread is opened again, but in the meanwhile, let's talk about feminism. Instead of just arguing because I like arguing, I'll try to be slightly constructive. Play with me, if you'd like.
• What are the disadvantages of being a woman or man in modern society?
• Which of these are feminism working towards?
• Does feminism negatively affect society, and if so, how?
• Is there anything within feminism you disagree with, e.g. how it prioritizes certain issues?
• Are there any feminists in particular you agree or disagree with? Why?
• Are there any MRAs in particular you agree or disagree with? Why?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:16 am 
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razorborne wrote:
put simply... no. systemic problems can't be solved with individual solutions. they just can't. it's a problem of scale: large-scale groups of people don't behave the same way as individuals do. at an individual level, you can do all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons, but as a collective we'll follow the available incentives every single time. for instance, while we personally can choose to spend a little more in order to reward businesses who treat their employees fairly, we societally are always going to wind up supporting major retailers like Walmart and McDonalds even though we know how terrible and exploitative they are, because the concrete economic incentive of cheaper products is much stronger than the abstract moral incentive of fairness.

also, more generally, identifying classes doesn't reinforce stereotypes, it categorizes experiences. the class of African Americans, for instance, is created by the forms of discrimination and oppression they face. and there are subclasses within that: light-skinned black people will have different experiences from dark-skinned black people, black men and black women will have different experiences, straight black people will have different experiences from non-straight ones. you can granulate as much as you want, and depending on the problem at hand, different amounts may be appropriate, but when you're talking about systemic oppression, you need to consider classes rather than individuals because that's how systems work.

:duel:
Nothing in my statement indicated that we could instantly change our instinct of group participation/exclusion . It was mostly an acknowledgement that there is no such thing as instantaneous change and treating "African Americans" differently just reinforces the idea that "African Americans" are different. And I don't even understand trying to explain to me the differentiation within a broad class as if I were ignorant to the fact...it's basically a retelling of my argument. Beyond the fact that these classes are generally discussed as if they aren't divided into sub-classes, the sub-classes are oppressed in different ways and a blanket fix for "African Americans" will not work the same for all.

Beyond that, policies based on broad classes create backlash which will reinforce anger, hate, and racism. I'm sure your aware of the fact that many people find it hard to admit when they have performed poorly at work...how many of them latch on to affirmative action as the reason they were expelled? How many ears hear their complaint and agree? Then there is the basic psychological principle of confirmation bias...why would African Americans need this much help if they weren't lazy thugs? Finally, once balance is achieved through class/race based policy, what do we do? Do we leave them in place creating a tipping point giving privilege to the formerly oppressed? Do we relinquish the policies and hope that the group think has gone away? Do we turn them on and off as things overflow and falter?

The issues are caused by underlying beliefs and broad category solutions meant to create balance are not seen as that, especially when an undeserving member of the oppressed class benefits from that solution. Group think doesn't permit intellectual dissection and the human mind remembers the offensive more than the non-offensive. People don't remember the hundreds of deserving people helped, they remember the one undeserving person.

They aren't solutions, they are poor bandages, and they are short sighted. My post wasn't saying "we need to think better individually is all" and it wasn't saying "stop talking about race, that's the problem", it was saying "Solutions to societal problems and proposed policies need to be tailored to acknowledge and allow individualism rather than provide blind blanket support." I believe focusing on the individualism within the classes has far better potential to destroy group-think/racism over time than discussing a class which is suffering as if all members were interchangeable.

As for economics...I was more saying "class" as a substitute in an effort to include race, LGBT and gender in the concept rather than include the concept of poor/rich. I'm not sure if your Walmart example was discussing proposed solutions to middle class/upper class issues or just highlighting that we follow the crowd and therefore need policies which combat crowd-think. If it was the later...I refer to my arguments above...it's just like supporting someone who's insecure about a huge pimple on their face by pointing it out to everyone and telling them not to treat the person any different. If it was the former...yeah, economics...I don't even want to get into all that nonsense.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:51 pm 
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POSValkir wrote:
Nothing in my statement indicated that we could instantly change our instinct of group participation/exclusion . It was mostly an acknowledgement that there is no such thing as instantaneous change and treating "African Americans" differently just reinforces the idea that "African Americans" are different. And I don't even understand trying to explain to me the differentiation within a broad class as if I were ignorant to the fact...it's basically a retelling of my argument. Beyond the fact that these classes are generally discussed as if they aren't divided into sub-classes, the sub-classes are oppressed in different ways and a blanket fix for "African Americans" will not work the same for all.
it wasn't a retelling, it was an acknowledgement. I was saying that you're right that "black people" isn't an indivisible unit, but that that wasn't particularly relevant because the set of subclasses that make up the class of black people have a certain set of shared experiences, and that recognizing them as a group is valuable, even if outliers exist.

POSValkir wrote:
Beyond that, policies based on broad classes create backlash which will reinforce anger, hate, and racism. I'm sure your aware of the fact that many people find it hard to admit when they have performed poorly at work...how many of them latch on to affirmative action as the reason they were expelled? How many ears hear their complaint and agree? Then there is the basic psychological principle of confirmation bias...why would African Americans need this much help if they weren't lazy thugs? Finally, once balance is achieved through class/race based policy, what do we do? Do we leave them in place creating a tipping point giving privilege to the formerly oppressed? Do we relinquish the policies and hope that the group think has gone away? Do we turn them on and off as things overflow and falter?
is your argument that, if we try to rectify systemic oppression, privileged people will try to fight it through whatever means they can get their hands on? because if so, you're absolutely right. you're just wrong that there's any way around it. people will certainly blame affirmative action for them losing their jobs, but in the meantime people of color will have gotten good jobs, and that does a hell of a lot more towards combating systemic oppression than white people loudly declaring that they don't see race ever will.

POSValkir wrote:
The issues are caused by underlying beliefs and broad category solutions meant to create balance are not seen as that, especially when an undeserving member of the oppressed class benefits from that solution. Group think doesn't permit intellectual dissection and the human mind remembers the offensive more than the non-offensive. People don't remember the hundreds of deserving people helped, they remember the one undeserving person.
again, this is an argument about perception, not oppression. sure, you'll get some grumpy old racists, but that is not worse than the situation we have now, it just feels worse because you're not bearing the brunt of modern oppression. if we as a society take real steps to combat institutional oppression your life will probably get worse, at least in the short term. so will mine. but the world will get better, and in the end that's better for all of us.

POSValkir wrote:
They aren't solutions, they are poor bandages, and they are short sighted. My post wasn't saying "we need to think better individually is all" and it wasn't saying "stop talking about race, that's the problem", it was saying "Solutions to societal problems and proposed policies need to be tailored to acknowledge and allow individualism rather than provide blind blanket support." I believe focusing on the individualism within the classes has far better potential to destroy group-think/racism over time than discussing a class which is suffering as if all members were interchangeable.
fundamentally, society-scale problems can't be solved by individual-scale solutions because societies don't function like a collection of individuals. at a personal scale you can make sacrifices for the greater good, but large-scale classes will always behave in line with their incentives. if the societal incentive structure rewards oppression, we will always have oppression, no matter how sad it makes us individually. this is because people in positions of power get there by exploiting whatever incentive set the current system puts in place. if a society rewards oppression, then the winners in that society will be people who aren't interested in dismantling oppression. the only way to change that is to apply high pressure to reshape the system in order to destroy that incentive, not to just personally start living as if it doesn't exist.

in the grand scheme of things you, as an individual, are fundamentally powerless. no matter how you choose to conduct your personal business, you will have no measurable effect on society as a whole. I don't say that as an insult: there are very few people for whom that's not true. it just means that any individualist solution you may attempt will be doomed before it begins because, to a reasonable margin of error, you as an individual do not exist. heck, to a reasonable margin of error, the entirety of your social circle probably doesn't exist. the only way we can make a difference is collectively, and in order to do that we can't bog ourselves down with the useless concept of the individual.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:50 pm 
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I decided it is okay for individual people to be discriminated against positively because of the group they belong to but it isn't okay for individual people to be discriminated against negatively because of the group they belong to.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:02 pm 
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razorborne wrote:
is your argument that, if we try to rectify systemic oppression, privileged people will try to fight it through whatever means they can get their hands on?

:duel:
No, my argument is that you aren't "fixing" oppression by implementing currently discussed strategies. You are just making some people's lives temporarily better in small aspects, patting yourself on the back, and ignoring that a fundamental change in behavior hasn't occurred.

razorborne wrote:
the only way to change that is to apply high pressure to reshape the system in order to destroy that incentive, not to just personally start living as if it doesn't exist.
There is never an "only way". How is it possible to destroy the incentives of oppression if 1) People holding the power to implement these "fixes" don't believe that oppression exists, 2)The wording of the argument makes it clear that the people holding the power are losing power, and 3)The change is forced rather than accepted?

Again, I'm not saying we implement individual level solutions, but that the societal level solutions acknowledge individualism. Societal level solutions are still implemented at the individual level. You don't just round up all black people and push them into Harvard's door saying "give these people an education". We aren't dealing with old-fashioned racism anymore. We don't need a law that says "black people can go to school here" because society believes that as an inherent right now. We are combating stereotypes and underlying racism now. Oppression is no longer overt and therefor many people don't think it exists. When you create laws like "Black people will receive 50% of available scholarships" it just reinforces thinking like "all black people". I just think the laws should be more specific.

I hear no end of complaints about minorities who didn't deserve a promotion/etc. but received one because of a system designed to lift up minorities. I'm not saying that we shouldn't create laws to combat oppression, I'm just thinking that nothing changes if that attitude is the aftermath of those changes. That person now has a personal grudge which will be reflected in other areas of society. You havent positively impacted society, you have positively impacted an individual. And since most of these complaints come from those in the majority...it's likely they will find a sounding board for their grudge. You are just creating a game of tug-of-war and system people will try to bypass rather than work with.

I'm arguing changes should attack the root problem and try to change attitudes rather than just jam random people into random slots in some kind of crazy numbers game.

@Shippo: I don't really agree with that, but its better than nothing. My idealism is a world in which everyone is an individual. Part of the argument above is "of course you can't change how society thinks if you think society can't change and work from that supposition"

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:08 pm 
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Mown wrote:
I'll respond to whatever topics remain after the thread is opened again, but in the meanwhile, let's talk about feminism. Instead of just arguing because I like arguing, I'll try to be slightly constructive. Play with me, if you'd like.
• What are the disadvantages of being a woman or man in modern society?
• Which of these are feminism working towards?
• Does feminism negatively affect society, and if so, how?
• Is there anything within feminism you disagree with, e.g. how it prioritizes certain issues?
• Are there any feminists in particular you agree or disagree with? Why?
• Are there any MRAs in particular you agree or disagree with? Why?

Do you think it will ever be unlocked? Maybe we should just start a sexism thread. I'm not sure I can keep two discussions going on the same thread :P. But I'll think about these.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Well, at this rate, I guess not.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:49 pm 
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If we are trying to create a world in which gender identity is not defined by sexual orientation, personality, or interests, why are politically correct use of chosen pronouns such a big issue?

Why would a female chose to identify as a male, and asks to be called he/him etc., if there's supposed to be no difference between being a male or female as far as society is concerned?

Apologize if this question offends anybody. Innocent question; honestly curious.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:11 pm 
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Because genderqueers want to push the notion that gender is a social construct, while transgenders don't want their gender dysphoria to be illegitimized, and if you want to be progressive you have to push for both, which results in implosion. Or you just hear from both perspectives by different people within a community that seems to center around similar issues, despite disagreeing on said topic.
Or you could argue that it doesn't apply to current society, but would be acceptable in an ideal society where there are no archetypical traits associated with genders.

Slightly related, this is one of my new favorite things: http://mogai-flags.tumblr.com/archive

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:23 pm 
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Gender has, in the past and among other things, described a set of social roles, perceptions, and qualities that typically correlated with a sex. Qualities of the male gender might be "strong-willed, does physical labor, expected to be the head of the family, hides feelings, leads specific cultural ceremonies", and so on. A gender would be a set of sociological traits that are associated with each other. Most historic cultures have two genders, which generally correlate with sex, but some had more, or sometimes the genders did not correlate as strongly with the sexes in the culture.

Some people who are transgendered do not reject this idea of gender, they just felt the desire to take the position of a different gender in society than the one they were thrust into, which may also come with a lot of other emotional baggage. Specifically, the use of certain pronouns might be part of satisfying this desire.

Gender as a sociological construct is a complex idea. The concept of identity as a psychological construct is something that has been grappled with by philosophers forever, and it means something different to each person, even today. When you mix the two together you get something that is really messy and hard to grasp, especially if there are people's emotions involved.

There are people who reject the sociological notion of gender on some level or otherwise have problems with the position gender or self-identity have in society, but how they want society to treat those things varies.

tldr; There's no good answer to that question. I guess the easiest way to respond would be "if someone wants to be referred to in a certain way, it is respectful to refer to them that way, whether or not it has anything to do with gender", but that is sort of sidestepping the issue.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:59 pm 
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Genderqueer just sounds like the most offensive term ever to me. Like, it would have been an amazing insult in the 90's. I don't understand the fact that it is a preferred term, much like I don't understand why "Little Person" is a preferred term.

@Zinger: "Politically Correct" is just inaccurate in this sense, its more like "Personally Correct". Its not a political thing like trying to get all of society to stop calling black people the n-word, they're just asking people to recognize their desire to be called something. Saying it's politically correct is like claiming that using someone's name is politically correct.

As for chosing...can't really talk about it cause I'm not transgendered, but I believe using the word "choose" would be inappropriate in the same way that homosexuals used to, and still do on occasion, try to fight the idea that they chose to be attracted to the same sex.

And I don't think there is supposed to be no difference between males and females, its that the differences are meaningless at the grand scale where everyone tries to apply them and everyone should be viewed as an individual unique within that group. To re-use an example I used recently to describe profiling: Assuming a man from Kabul, AFG is Sunni, Muslim because the majority of people from Kabul are Sunni, Muslim is not wrong but assuming all people from Kabul,AFG are Sunni, Muslim because a majority of people from Kabul, AFG are Sunni, Muslim is lunacy. And once you realize that, you have to accept the man from Kabul, AFG may not be Sunni, Muslim and modify your expectations to account for that possibility...otherwise you'll spend forever trying to catch the person in a lie and prove they are Sunni, Muslim, often pointlessly and at the expense of more important matters.

So, at least when I talk about it, I try to indicate that while there may be some physical difference in men and women, it doesn't mean those difference exist at the individual level or that those differences even matter...unless you're looking for someone who can physically grow a baby inside them or can physically create sperm within their body...and I'm sure science will level that playing field someday :P

io's answer sounds better though...

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:45 pm 
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Queer is a word that has been treated as both positive and negative by different groups and in different contexts. Its a word that has been used to attack gay people, but it is also a word that gay people have used with pride to describe themselves. It has a complicated history, and even today some people would prefer to avoid it, while others don't.

I personally like the word.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:53 pm 
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Yeah I know, I just don't like it. Makes me think "you are a weird gender" when I hear it...probably because "queer" was the go to word to disparage homosexuals growing up and, before I really knew what sex/gender/etc meant, the term basically just meant "inappropriately weird" individual...like when we'd play "Smear the Queer" which involved chasing and tackling anyone who had the ball (and therefore was the queer)...like a horribly offensive game of tag.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:51 am 
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POSValkir wrote:
@Zinger: "Politically Correct" is just inaccurate in this sense, its more like "Personally Correct". Its not a political thing like trying to get all of society to stop calling black people the n-word, they're just asking people to recognize their desire to be called something. Saying it's politically correct is like claiming that using someone's name is politically correct.

I think it's pretty politically incorrect to address a trans or queer as something other than their preferred pronouns. Personally Correct would seem to imply that pronouns is actually something that is up to the individual to decide, which while could be true in a future society, I believe is still debatable.
POSValkir wrote:
As for chosing...can't really talk about it cause I'm not transgendered, but I believe using the word "choose" would be inappropriate in the same way that homosexuals used to, and still do on occasion, try to fight the idea that they chose to be attracted to the same sex.

Disregarding the common phrase of "I choose to go by X/Y/Z", I don't think that's necessarily a valid comparison. You may not choose to be homosexual, but you still choose whether you have gay sex or not. In the same way, you may not choose to have gender dysphoria, but you still choose to go by another gender, albeit how valid said reasoning may be. I'm being kind of pedantic here though.

My latest approach to gender is kind of equating it to color. I see gender as something as stereotypical traits derived from common behaviors between the two sexes in society, and I currently don't see it as a meaningful concept outside of discussing gender dysphoria. However, I don't like the trending concept of labeling it as a social construct, and meaningless because it exists on a spectrum and "there are infinite genders". In the same way that color exists on a spectrum, there are still a range of colors other than #FF0000 that are categorized as red, even if people might disagree on whether a particular color is red or orange. In the same way, you can still be a man even thought you have typically female traits.

Queers are still a concept I am pretty skeptical towards. By their definition, I am non-binary, because I don't see gender as something that is individually decided, in the same way I don't decide for myself whether I am beautiful or intelligent. However, it's also a subject that I'd like to explore more properly, it's not something I can claim to have the full picture on. It seems like a discussion that comes primarily down to discussing what the definition of gender actually is though.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:23 am 
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Hmmm, I find it interesting that society could choose your gender for you...although I guess using biological traits is basically society determining your gender. Never actually heard that theory. I'd agree that the conversation nearly always comes down to how you define gender...if its a discussion at all and not someone screaming about mental illness.

I mostly agree with the social construct argument, if for no other reason than it helps people get to that future society where profiling is used as an educated guess rather than definitive information. There are definitely differences between the biological genders, but the social aspects of those genders are highly debatable and even the physical expectations of the biological differences are highly varied and not incredibly definitive.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:09 pm 
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I don't know if you're arguing that gender is a social construct (which I personally believe it isn't) at that point but rather that defined gender roles are actually highly malleable and to define person by gender is discrimination and keeps a person from realizing their potential.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:36 am 
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io wrote:
tldr; There's no good answer to that question. I guess the easiest way to respond would be "if someone wants to be referred to in a certain way, it is respectful to refer to them that way, whether or not it has anything to do with gender", but that is sort of sidestepping the issue.


I'm not sure how it's side stepping the issue by showing respect to someone's choice in this matter, I use the word choice because the person in question chooses to go by something. Not sure if that made sense, but for me it does come down to the issue of respect.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:37 am 
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Its side-stepping the issue because Zinger's question was about society moreso than what was to be gained from referring to anyone in a specific way.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:54 am 
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Wow thanks for all the detailed responses.

Rag is right in that I was more concerned with society than what was to be gained from referring to someone a certain way.

Like, my question was basically: "if a girl wants to be referred to as a guy, doesn't that just encourage all the gender stereotypes we are trying to get away from enforcing?"

I was thinking about it from the perspective of being a heterosexual male in theatre who has many friends that are all over the gender identity/orientation spectrum (Mown, awesome link btw), and though I am quite comfortable with who I am (in those respects) most of the time, I do feel the pressures society puts on me to be a stereotypical alpha male all the time. I don't appreciate those pressures and when I see females who want to be associated and identified as males (or vice versa), I wonder if it just encourages those stereotypes.

That's all. Thanks guys for the very thoughtful responses and perspectives though.

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