Stupid Rules Normal People Follow – Part 3 of 5

Rules [Note: I’m using the word “normal” in this post. Those who are not normal—myself included—should not take offense; I am using this term in the mathematical sense of “near the mean of a normal distribution,” as in within one standard deviation of the mean; in the context of cognition another word is “neurotypical,” but this is less common and less general, and many people are unfamiliar with its meaning. In the vast majority of possible systems, most will be normal and some will not. It’s nearly inevitable. See also Stupid Rule 4, for our fear of being “abnormal” is very much a Stupid Rule.]

 

Introduction

 

A major part of what makes life difficult for those who are rational, especially those on the autism spectrum, (in the interests of full disclosure: I’m on the near end, just shy of Asperger’s Syndrome) is the fact that normal people follow certain rules on most occasions, rules that don’t really make sense—but that we all are expected to follow, because otherwise it forces us to confront issues that we feel more comfortable avoiding. They are all stupid rules, rules that are rationally difficult or impossible to justify; but they are universally present and strongly enforced, and we ignore them only at our own peril. Perhaps we ought to challenge them, find the places to attack them that will most weaken their grip upon humanity—but we cannot be sure to win such a fight, and we certainly cannot simply pretend it is already won.

Stupid Rule 3: People are supposed to fit neatly into boxes of gender and race.  

Apparently, this is so that it is never difficult to make these sorts of assessments. We should always be able to distinguish Black women from White women, and White men from White women, in all cases, with no overlap, no intermediates, and no ambiguity. The standards for what counts as a “race” change over time and place; currently in the US there are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Arab, and Other. Previously in the US, “Arab” and “Hispanic” were considered “White,” and “Irish” and “Italian” were separate races; in Japan “Korean” and “Okinawan” are races; in China “Taiwanese” and “Tibetan” are races. By the way, “Other” is the worst possible category; it makes you inferior to even the races otherwise deemed inferior (imagine the “Redskins” baseball team being called the “Blackies” or “Yellowfaces”; but Native American, unlike Black and Asian, is not an official “race” category in most American minds, so it’s all right). Most people have no idea what to do with people who are clearly intermediate between these categories, so they simply deny the intermediacy, usually adopting a metric of hypodescent. (Obama is considered our first “African-American President,” when clearly he is not at all African and in fact about as “biracial” as one could ever be.)

“Gender” is more fixed, with “man” and “woman” being universally understood in all places and times; still, in recent years in the West the categories “gay man” and “lesbian” have taken on gender-like status. “Shemale” is also approaching this status thanks to fetish porn, much to the chagrin of the truly quite diverse transgender community. It’s also been a mixed blessing for gays and lesbians, since in reality the common conception of “gay man” is more like “femme flamboyant sub bottom gay man,” and the common conception of “lesbian” is more like “butch ambitious dom top lesbian”; this leads to bizarre statements like, “Yeah, I have sex with men, but I’m not gay“—which translates to “Yeah, I have sex with men, but I’m not femme, flamboyant, submissive and a bottom” (A lot of us aren’t, actually. And some of us are really bi, which throws the whole thing out of whack.) Another example is “Well, she’s a total lesbian, except she has sex with men”—which translates to “Well, she is butch and ambitious, maybe even dominant, but she is heterosexual.” (There are a lot of those too, you know.) For this reason, any male who acts in any way “feminine”—this includes wearing pink, playing with dolls, avoiding team sports, and many other activities with no apparent connection to actual physiology, as well as generally being kind and empathetic, which you’d think would always be good—is automatically perceived as “gay,” regardless of his actual sexual orientation. It is universally considered “deviant” to transgress these arbitrary boundaries, since apparently you’re making it difficult for everyone else to maintain the illusion that the categories are real. Since so many worldviews involve beliefs about race and gender, there is clearly a connection here with Stupid Rule 2.

Do you believe this rule to be true?

 

 

 

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0 thoughts on “Stupid Rules Normal People Follow – Part 3 of 5

  • July 2, 2010 at 6:45 am
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    Thanks for making me feel ‘normal’. I’m the ‘sportless sensitive type’.

    I can thing of no worse way to spend time. money, nor have so much interest in chasing a little white ball all over creation on a shadeless lawn…getting emotional about whether it hits a hole a thousand feet away. Think about the forest and wildlife once there. Social game? Meet me at a nature park or  bar. Not a sports one though.

    Gordon Sumner (Sting), once said is there really no just male and female gender in black and white gender as the west insists upon, only degrees of orientation, maybe 30 or more. Some cultures have many names for these degrees…the west only a few and considered those considered ‘deviant from the norm”.

    I consider myself ‘trisexual’. Try anything once…if I like lt, maybe again.

    Also some of my best friends are true thesbians. hahahaha 

    Reply
  • July 2, 2010 at 6:44 am
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    Great Writing BTW

    Favorite Rules to question
    All get up early-fight traffic to work and parking
    All go to lunch the same hour-fight crowds for food
    All go home together-fight more traffic home-
    Weekends? Go to the beach the same time together-fight traffic and parking
    and so on and so on and scoobee doobie doobie

    “lemmings in tiny metal boxes” Sting again=Synchronicity.

    Reply
  • August 28, 2009 at 4:04 am
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    YES, I agree with this rule. I think it keeps women safe. As the line between the sexes dims, our world becomes more animalistic.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm
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    Lol @ the “Afroromance” ad I just saw. “Love is more than skin deep.”

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm
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    I think it’s much harder for males to break through gender roles than females. These days, what with women’s rights lobbyists and whatnot, it isn’t necessarily seen as bad when a girl is heavily involved in sports, or prefers to wear non-form fitting clothing. That’s not to say that if a woman acts completely masculine she won’t face the possibility of ridicule, but I think that females can slide further into the masculine role than males into the feminine role. As soon as a male breaks one of the ‘guy codes’ he runs the risk of being labeled girly or homosexual regardless of his own sexual orientation, as if only girly guys can be gay.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm
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    i don’t know if i see gay or lesbian being used as gender terms to describe how someone is perceived. while i do believe that there is a stereotype and that all gay men are viewed as effeminate and all lesbian women are viewed as hyper-masculine, i haven’t heard anyone use the orientation to describe a straight persons appearance. i have however heard people make assumptions concerning someone’s gender based solely on one’s appearance. 

    i hate the gender binary because it forces everyone who does not fit them to become an “other” and like you stated with race, it becomes an attack on that persons value as a human. 

    i think we all need to realize that any time we try to put something in a box there is ALWAYS an exception. i wish as a whole we could leave prejudice and judgement behind, but lets be honest, this is next to impossible.
    STUPID RULES IS RIGHT.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm
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    @PeanuttJones@xanga – Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same….blah blah blah….and they’re all made of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same? 

    That the song you’re thinking of? 

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm
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    Uhm…yeah.
    Androgyny pisses alot of people off.
    There have been countless people who have assumed that I was an extremely short boy.
    Live and let live. No one is going to completely conform to an ideal. No one -can-.
    People are people.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm
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    i hate boxes.  there is a song, search for it on youtube. little boxes, little boxes and all come out the same. I can’t remember exactly. i’ll ask my wife.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 8:50 am
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    @BobRichter@xanga – Actually, I don’t think he has ever said he was “Black.” The only words I’ve heard him use are things like “mixed”, “biracial”, “multiracial”, “mutt”.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2009 at 5:31 am
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    There are a lot of neurotypical folks who don’t follow this rule.

    Obama’s black because he says he’s black. The media uses “African-American” because that’s what you’re supposed to call black people these days.

    Gender varies a lot with place and time, actually. It’s pretty much entirely a cultural construct.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2009 at 12:10 am
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    Definitely stupid rule and I think it’s very stereotypical. I’m male, I used to have long hair (am regrowing it acutally), I wear kilts and VERY short shorts. I’m not much of an athlete (unless you count golf and men’s fastpitch softball…which fastpitch is perceived as a women’s game anyway). I like some chick flicks and musicals and I even enjoy opera a little bit. I’m very affectionate when I want to be…I love to hug, pat on the back, rub the back of your head, run my fingers through your hair, and even a peck on the cheek. 

    Of course, as an Aspie, I have no regard for standard protocol anyway.  EDIT: By the way, I’m not gay. 

    Reply
  • August 26, 2009 at 12:01 am
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    I don’t expect people to fit into race and gender boxes…or sexual orientation boxes.  I am not sure how “normal” you would consider me, or the people I know, but most of the people I know don’t expect people to fit into nice little boxes either.

    Reply

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