by Dr Gonzo
Usernames can be tricky, and if they fail to correct us on gender, isn't wrong? Or is it?
|I know...check the bio. And if there's nothing there, or, like me, you take people on face value (there's a sucker born every minute), then the conversation will give them away sooner or later. Or so I thought.|
Certain usernames create an image in the mind (at least in my mind). What guy would use, Daisy Duck? Or a woman, He-Man? But, some usernames are right there in the middle of these two extremes. I put forth that some are deliberately done to preserve the gender of the person who, for their own reasons, don't want gender to become involved within the context of conversation.
Now, I get that in a perfect, politically correct world, I have no right to know this information, especially if the person wants to remain gender-neutral. But, I have a problem with this: Why would anyone want to begin, or continue a conversation, when it is based on a lie?
Well, it isn't REALLY a lie...at least not straight away, and besides, whose business is it, except the person who feels they have something to hide, in the first place?
Is gender reveal important, in the context of things, here on WdC?
I assume, that if we were to take a vote, we might see if this is, or is not, the case. But, in all fairness, and to get a true reflection of how each individual feels about this, it would be imperative the vote was held as a confidential ballot. The reason being, is that political correctness doesn't like any form of...well, any form of anything, unless it assists a minority or underrepresented group or gender.
Look, I'm not here to debate that contentious issue anyway, and in all seriousness, I wouldn't touch that issue with a barge pole.
No, I'm here because this gender non-disclosure has happened to me...twice. Where I've been talking to someone, whom I had assumed was a fellow. A person who had kindly reviewed something of mine, or visa versa, and we had struck up a conversation. Then, after several, or a lot more than several emails later, I discover that my new bro isn't, in fact, a brother at all, but a sister.
Should I have anything to complain about here? I guess if the conversation is brief, and there are no direct lies (omissions aren't lies, but they aren't truths either) going on, then perhaps not. What about a year after meeting someone and believing this friend, a mate as we call a close friend here in Australia, isn't a man at all, but a woman?
I'm almost embarrassed to say that this was the case for me. How could I not know? The bio was correct, and I have no excuse except I am naïve and didn't think to check. And the BIG question is, should it matter?
The answer is no, it shouldn't matter if who I am speaking to is male or female. But, the reality is, that it very much does matter to some people, myself included. The problem has nothing to do with any male/female thing. The problem is that they lied to me.
The first time I found out about this male/female deception, it was very short-lived, and when this person placed a pink heart to sign off an email, the proverbial penny dropped. And, even though we had only exchanged six or seven emails over the course of a couple of days, I felt a little disappointed that I hadn't found the friend I had hoped I would. Hurt that I had been deceived. Angry and confused because I believe it was a deliberate act, for purposes I didn't understand.
For someone who doesn't, in general, tell people things that are not true, and would point out, if the roles were reversed, "Ummmm, sorry, I'm not a girl, I'm actually a boy" when being referred to with an incorrect gender association, means that I am not only gullible but could, in some future meeting, be set up for the catfish.
I don't believe this person was being deceptive in a mean way, or trying to take advantage of me. But, I imagine it could be a bit of fun for a woman, who is being spoken to by a man, who for all intents and purposes BELIEVES her to be a man, and so, finding out what we men REALLY get up to when no women are around. The truth of the matter is that I was the fool in this particular situation, for making assumptions based solely on a username.
I can see why a person would play along with this scenario, but it still doesn't make it OK. And, if it becomes obvious that I haven't checked their bio to see what gender the person is (remembering that in this case, the person had a username that gave the impression that she was a he), then why not string me along and call it their right not to clarify one way or the other.
Of course, there are two sides to every coin, and to take a quote from one of my favourite movies, 'Pulp Fiction, "Allow me to retort." Samuel. L. Jackson (Jules).
When I meet someone here on WdC, and have a rapport, my naïve little brain thinks it could be a friendship that lasts a lifetime. Perhaps I have my head in the clouds, and in reality, it's just a pipe dream. I mean, no one ever meets people online and develops a REAL friendship, do they? (please read the last and following sentences with a hint of sarcasm).
The best we could hope for is something superficial...a type of here today and gone tomorrow association. And then, like ships in the night, we meet, exchange a few kind words, and never speak to each other again.
But, does that make it OK to lie to people about who we are?
Is it OK for me to set up a fake email, use a female username and pretend that I am a woman? (For God knows what reason anyone would want to do this).
And so, is it OK for a woman to confuse a man in the same way? (For God knows what reason anyone would want to do this).
I went to the port of the first person who pulled the wool over my eyes, let's call her Mx Pink Heart. I probably should change that I said 'she' and 'her' to use the politically correct, no-gender specific honorific, 'they'. So, they had a whole essay/monologue based on their right to remain gender-neutral when meeting people online. This indicated to me that our mistaken gender identity situational thingy was not an innocent mistake (on their part) at all, but deliberate deception. Used because of their belief in a right to non-gender disclosure.
I read their essay and didn't understand the message it was trying to convey.
I can see some possible reasons why a woman would want to pretend to be a man, but some possible negative results such as the loss of free drinks and no more married men who are willing to spend a small fortune on a fantasy fling may ensue. But in all seriousness, the tactic of pretending to be the other gender when online, sucks...in my opinion.
From what I could gather, the gist of their essay is that it isn't important to disclose gender if there will never be a meeting or any chance of having relations (thanks Bill) with the author of said piece. Point taken. But, what makes a person assume anyone would want to have relations with them in the first place?
I mean, isn't that a little presumptuous, and might I say, ridiculous? To think that any and all men want to have relations with any and all women online...seriously?
A lie is a lie, and calling it whatever we feel comfortable calling it, doesn't change that fact.
In my opinion, we should embrace who we truly are, male, female or somewhere in between. The thing I take offence with is when someone leads me up the garden path because of their own doubts and fears, which while understandable, does not excuse lying to someone, especially when it is done over a long period of time or when it is done in an investigatory way...or simply for a few laughs.