There is no pure Within

Jo Bartosch writes:

The markers of masculinity and femininity are not ‘inside us’, as internal essences which we express, and then demand that the outside world recognise as our true selves. Rather, gender identities surround us, in the messages, images and expectations we are born and then socialised into, as social animals. We may be born male or female, but we become feminine or masculine.

That. It’s one reason it’s so annoying when people drone on about their inner sense of being the sex they’re not – this clueless, childish lack of awareness of socialization. How can anybody possibly know that her/his “feeling” about something external and factual is 100% internal as opposed to being a product of many years of being socially embedded? How can people possibly know their “gender” comes from within unless they’ve been raised without social media, tv, radio, movies, books, education…friends, siblings, parents, human contact of any kind? They can’t. There is no pure Within for people raised among other people. The self is always mediated by other selves. The cult of the self is a dead end.

The words we use to describe ourselves and others rest on a consensus as to their meaning. Male or female, like short or tall, or black or white, are words that reference an objective, shared reality. The moment we give in to those who insist they identify as such and such, we violate that linguistic consensus and sense of shared reality.

A different aspect of the same point. We can’t have a pure uncontaminated self unless we’re raised by ants, and we can’t have a personal language unless we want to communicate only to our precious uncontaminated selves.

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