My Words Are Mine

There was another Super Ma’am freak-out this week, and this time from a black trans woman mocking a “no neck bitch” after she was called “sir” in a place of business. As many who follow me know, I spend a fair bit of my time attempting to refute the common anti-trans stereotypes that are so often thrown around, and it’s frustrating to see “my own people” willfully playing into those stereotypes instead of challenging them.

We do a great disservice to children by not teaching them the proper place of emotions, as they can be used for good or destruction. The power of raw emotion, and the critical importance of tempering them, is something that I discuss frequently, and will always discuss when the opportunity rises. An emotion can be either a fire that burns or a piece of steel to be forged. Isolating that emotion to a concrete building and letting it burn itself out is certainly a valid choice, but it isn’t my preferred one–instead, use the anvil of reason and the hammer of creativity to turn the lump of steel into a sword. Don’t let it be a fire that engulfs you; use it to create, like the song above, “Your Fall From Grace,” which I wrote while in the throes of anger–and it shows, being the most angry song I’ve ever composed. 

But more to the point, we need to discuss perceptions, word choice, and human interactions, because the “Learn your pronouns!” stuff has to stop. 

Anyone with even a passing interest in psychology or economics (the study of human action) will realize very quickly that words like “he” and “she” are selected by the user automatically, with little or no cognition put into them at the time of usage. From very, very early ages, we are taught when to use “he” and when to use “she,” just as we are taught when to say “please” and when to say “thank you.” No one has to put any thought into it to determine whether to say “please” or “thanks” when the occasion comes up; it happens automatically and without deliberate selection. When making a request, one says “please.” When receiving something, one says “thanks.” 

The power of the human brain is that it’s capable of shifting much of our interactions into auto-pilot like this. We don’t have to think about whether to say “hello” or “goodbye” when we run into someone, which frees our brain to think about other things (while it also controls our breathing, movement, heartbeat, and other necessary functions). Just ponder for a moment how exhausting it would actually be, when faced with any person, to have to dedicate any amount of thought to whether you’re supposed to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is a useful feature, and one would hope that everyone would be aware of it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Whether to say “sir” or “ma’am,” or to refer to someone as “he” or “she” is similarly automatic. When we ask someone to call us a different pronoun, we are asking them to dedicate part of their conscious thought to casual conversation–we are asking them to do work. We are asking them to throw a wrench into an automatic process in the course of a conversation and to instead deliberately ponder whether to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is not an easy task, even for the most “woke” person out there, and we should never be upset when someone slips back into auto-pilot in conversation. Neither should we be upset when someone does it intentionally, of course–at least, we shouldn’t simply allow that emotion to burn uncontrolled in the forest of our life. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times: I get called “sir” every single night at work, most commonly over the phone. Sometimes, though, people do it in person. As accepting as my co-workers are, and as visible as they are putting aforementioned deliberate effort into calling me “she,” the truth is that if I got bent out of shape and went on a wild, emotional tirade every time this happened, I wouldn’t still have a job. No one wants to work with someone so unpredictable, unhinged, and uncontrolled, nevermind that it would also mean that I regularly lashed out, chastised, and drove away paying customers. I work as a female and live as a female, and my coworkers are among the most accepting people I’ve ever met (realistically, probably more accepting than I am), but a lot of this acceptance is due to the fact that I’m not an insufferable cunt. 

That’s what this is really about, of course. While “he” and “she” are programmed into us at very early ages and are selected automatically and unconsciously, this doesn’t change the fact that the other person’s perceptions of me are what their brain uses to determine which to use. Rather than forcing that person to put in the work to consciously choose which pronoun to use, if am the one who wants to change their speech, then the onus falls onto me to alter their perception of me. If their brain determines I am more masculine than feminine, they will say “he.” If their brain determines that I am more feminine than masculine, then they will say “she.” Why does this need to be pointed out to any adult?

I am not entitled to make them think about me a certain way, or to make them use certain words when referring to me. This is true in general, but it must be recognized in particular with those people who intentionally use the non-preferred pronoun. 

An ordinary occurrence, to be honest. Also of note: there is no chance I’m going to be kicked from LRN.

But, as mentioned previously, why would I give “Pussy ass leftist” the power to make me upset? This would require that I care about his opinion, and I don’t have the energy to care about the opinions of random dipshits. Who does? There are a few people who could genuinely hurt me by intentionally misgendering me, and they’re the people least likely to do so. They may still slip occasionally, but if they can make the effort to call me “she,” then I think it’s only fair that I make the effort to adjust their perception of me, and to overlook any accidents. It’s generally called “being an adult.” 

I firmly believe that the greatest threat facing western society today is that we have stopped teaching people how to temper their emotions, or the value of doing so. What else can I think when congressional officials talk of being “morally right, but factually incorrect?” What else can I think when a person sees a photograph of coal miners, acknowledges they are coal miners, and then writes a lengthy article about how upset they are about the “blackface,” despite acknowledging that it isn’t blackface? What else can I think when, following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 on largely jingoist slogans and emotional appeals, there was an onslaught of people recording videos of themselves crying and flipping out, and sharing them for all the world to see? This is the Era of Unbridled Emotion, and that’s dangerous, because emotion has not ever been a valid pathway to truth. Feeling something is true won’t make it true. Emotion doesn’t keep the jet in the sky, or the automobile moving. 

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” they say, and we similarly see this playing out in New York following its Minimum Wage increase, with restaurant owners forced to raise prices, and customers shocked at how much more expensive it has become to eat out. The result was both predicted and expected: fewer people eat out, so some of the wait staff is fired. After all, the Minimum Wage is a direct price floor on the cost of labor, and price floors always create surpluses; a surplus of labor is called “unemployment.” When you raise that price floor, you simply get… more unemployment. This is basic economics, but many adults today simply don’t want to hear it, and instead truly believe that their feelings on the matter, that “everyone deserves a ‘living wage,'” will somehow make all this work out. 

I digress.

An emotion is nothing more than an internal reaction to external stimuli. It is our own proclivity and inclination that determines our reaction to the external stimuli, and even if we can’t actually change how we feel, we can and absolutely should limit the scope of those feelings in our behavior and beliefs. It isn’t easy, but I don’t know why anyone thinks that it should be. It’s supposed to be more difficult to resist animalistic impulses and overcome them. But it isn’t just for “the good of society” that we need to relearn this art; it’s far more important than that, because…

Controlling one’s animalistic tendencies is what it means to be human. 

 

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