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Tony Grist

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Identity [Jul. 14th, 2004|11:04 am]
Tony Grist

I've been reading a lot about Identity lately- mostly on LJ. So what's my indentity then?

I've done a lot of shucking of carapaces in my time. Most recently I wriggled out of the witch thing. I guess I was never that comfortable with it. So what kind of butterfly or moth or draggle-tailed fly has emerged?

And do I care? No, not really. I am what I am and I do what I do and if I am an identifiable type then fair enough, but I'll leave the classifying to others.

besideserato  asked me if I conformed to any particular stereotype of Britishness and I racked my brains and came up with eccentric old goat.  I thought some more and offered Jane Austen's Mr Bennett as my exemplar.  But I'm not rich and I've only got the one daughter. She then asked me if I eat buttered crumpets; to which the answer was, "not any more".

Britishness is a nebulous thing. The newspapers keep running features on it but they never come up with a definition. Since Wales and Scotland got governments of their own the old Union is derelict.  People are calling themselves English, Scots or Welsh rather than British.

My shaky grip on identity extends to my spelling. I write so much with Americans in mind that I find myself no longer knowing whether it's "recognise" or "recognize".

Then there's sexual identity. I find that a large proportion of the people I want to be talking to on LJ define themselves as bisexual or gay. I don't use that as a criterion of selection, it's just how it's turned out; these are the people who have interesting things to say and with whom I want to interact. 

My own stance is that I'm crazy, crazy, crazy about women. I love women, I like women, I identify with women. I'm in love with a woman and most of my friends are women.  If I write fiction I normally write from a woman's standpoint. So what does that make me?  I went with the "new man" label for a while, but that's out of date.

I'm fascinated by androgyny, but I'm comfortable enough in my own male skin and I don't care enough about clothes to want to cross-dress.  A change of gender would alter me very little I think.  If I were a woman I 'd be a  bespectacled lesbian and I'd dress in jumpers and jeans and sit in front of the computer screen all day-  just as I do now. 

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: balirus
2004-07-14 10:59 am (UTC)
Identity involves role definition. If one has no role or does not know the role they perform, (do?) they lack identity.

I ask this since so many people equate their occupation with their identity. The certainty of what we do between 9-5 often becomes dominant in our definition of what role we play. What does that say about our identity?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-14 12:24 pm (UTC)
I'm a hausfrau, I write, but don't make any money at it and I watch a lot of movies. Construct an identity out of that!

So no, that occupation-as-identity option isn't really open to me. And you're right; It causes problems. If I'm meeting a stranger I have problems introducing myself.

I'm Tony and I.....




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[User Picture]From: balirus
2004-07-14 02:36 pm (UTC)
A famous psychologist, Albert Ellis perhaps, had the opinion that you could loosely gauge the depth of a person's identity if in the first ten minutes of newly meeting them the topic of occupation never arises.

Sometimes I play that test on people I meet. My experience has been that very few people resist introducing themselves apart from what they do (or have done) for a living. Neither good nor bad, just telling of what we first think of when we consider who we are.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-14 03:10 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I'll remember that little game next time I'm introduced to somebody new.

By the way, I went on their site and listened to Guster. The meowing song is cool. I might just buy that CD.
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[User Picture]From: balirus
2004-07-15 10:40 am (UTC)
Yay! Another convert!
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-07-15 02:33 am (UTC)
Sorry to butt in, but that's really interesting. I think part of my happy hour identity crisis occurred because I have no connection with any particular or culture (besides maybe the world wide web and e-culture) and I have no definitive job description.

Hey, come to think of it, internet junkie, jack of all trades has a nice ring. Hey, poliphilo, that's you, too!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-15 02:53 am (UTC)
I like it.

"Hello, I'm Tony; I'm an internet junkie" Yes, it has a nicely defiant ring!



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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-07-15 02:59 am (UTC)
It certainly does. Crisis solved. Pass the croissants!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-15 03:15 am (UTC)
I've already had mine. Croissants, I mean. That's what I always have for breakfast- croissants and strong tea.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-07-15 07:57 am (UTC)
Ooh, mmm. In about ten hours, I'll be having mine. It's almost 1:00 a.m., now.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2004-07-16 07:54 am (UTC)
The Scots and Welsh identify themselves as such but the English tend to get mixed up with 'British' and don't always know the difference. I find this very interesting.

The university (so I read in the alumi magazine) did a psychology thing. Children tend to have very defined group identities. When they grow up these do not alter. Britons who were fair minded and didn't have the 'my football team right or wrong' attitude were regarded with some wariness while foriegners who didn't were regarded as being admirable!

Do you love women as individuals or as a species?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-16 08:25 am (UTC)
The smaller the nation, the fiercer the nationalism? No, that doesn't quite work because the Americans are more nationalistic than the British and the Swiss probably less so.

I think the English confuse Englishness with Britishness because they thought of the Union as an English take-over of the outlying nations.

I love individual women and I love women as a species. I just think women are nicer and more interesting than men.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2004-07-19 04:30 am (UTC)
I think it depends on how secure you feel AS a dfdfghkfg-er.

Really? I find a lot of women very boring! And we are VERY bitchy (which Is why I often prefer men!)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-19 04:40 am (UTC)
But men are boring too. Cars, football, beer- Oh my God!

Bitchy, yes, but mainly with other women- so us men don't suffer from that too much.:>
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2004-07-19 04:52 am (UTC)
I think it is interesting that no matter what stides feminism has made women still desire to please men. I am unusual in calling myself a feminist, most femailes of my aquaintance don't for fear of frightening males!

I think feminism is about the empowerment [urgh vile word but the only applicable one]of men as much as of women.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-19 07:12 am (UTC)
I agree with that.

I just checked my info page to see whether I've got "feminism" listed as one of my interests- and, yes, I have. I've been a feminist- at least as much of a feminist as it's possible for a man to be- since the 80s.
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