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Why do we define people by sexuality and other categories?

 
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munkus



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject: Why do we define people by sexuality and other categories? Reply with quote

I just never understood the need for it, especially in modern times. Lets face it, sexuality doesn't stop you doing your job or living normally. My own belief is discrimination towards people of differing sexuality comes about not just out of things like religious bigotry but also categorization. The more categories the more we can label people, the bigger the reason to discriminate as they don't meet the social norm (if there is one at all).
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Cornelia



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Why do we define people by sexuality and other categorie Reply with quote

munkus wrote:
I just never understood the need for it, especially in modern times. Lets face it, sexuality doesn't stop you doing your job or living normally. My own belief is discrimination towards people of differing sexuality comes about not just out of things like religious bigotry but also categorization. The more categories the more we can label people, the bigger the reason to discriminate as they don't meet the social norm (if there is one at all).


Well, the mind has a natural tendency to place things in categories. After all, if you didn't categorize things as dogs, cats, houses, apples, orangges, etc, how would you function in the world? Imagine having to work out what all these things were from scratch every time you encountered one. It's just that when we move onto a more abstract level, we can easily create categories where none really exist, and imagine connections between events that aren't really there.

Another factor is a well-known psychological phenomenon called 'salience'*. A thing is 'salient' when it is more noticeable in some way than its background, e.g a loud sound is more salient than a quiet one, movement is more salient than standing still. When there is something unusual about a person - statistically unusual I mean - we tend to notice that more than we notice other things, and it can become the basis of our classifications. Also, things can become salient by being constantly impressed on your senses for other reasons. The well-known fear a lot of people have of air travel, when they are actually in more danger crossisng the road, is a notorious example of this. Why? Well, every time there is an air crash, it's on the telly and in all the papers, and thus becomes highly salient. If they put in on TV every time someone was killed in a road accident it would require 24/7 coverage. The same with fear of crime - the type of crime that people are most afraid of, like serial killers, is actually the rarest, but becomes more salient to people because of its unusual nature and because when it happens it's always on the news. So we can stereotype people on the basis of things that are 'salient' about them. Also, we tend to notice it more if someone conforms to a stereotype. So the effeminate, mincing, highly camp type of gay will probably be remembered, and thought of as typical, instead of all the ones that you wouldn't know from Adam. The solution? To question your own mind.

* I fight a constant losing battle against salience when it comes to the French revolution. You'd be amazed how many people think the death toll in the Reign of Terror was the equivalent of the holocaust or something like that. They can be quite surprised to find out that it was approximately the number of African slaves who died every year - every year - in the 18th century on the voyage across the Atlantic alone. But the terror has been in countless books and films and TV shows, while the suffering of the slaves has never been made salient - so I've just done it!
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War Arrow



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're hard wired to make snap judgements distinguishing "us" from "them" as a means of maximising the success of passing on our own genes or the genes of those who may facilitate us passing on our own genes (those who are most likely to share our own perspective, culture etc) except of course whilst such may have been fine several million years ago, it is no longer necessary or even necessarily desirable. Some of this is touched upon in Dawkins' 'Selfish Gene', also Susan D. Blackmore's 'The Meme Machine'. Both worth a look.
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B3



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dawkins on sexuality is like Shipman on geriatrics.
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War Arrow



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B3 wrote:
Dawkins on sexuality is like Shipman on geriatrics.


What a beautifully reasoned argument.
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Chancellor Valium



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

War Arrow wrote:
B3 wrote:
Dawkins on sexuality is like Shipman on geriatrics.


What a beautifully reasoned argument.

It may not be reasoned, but it is revelatory.
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mumbles



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some professional Rugby league player in australia has been sacked for having sex with a dog apparently
Oh and I've heard of people doing it with Camels Smile

Think that generally only animals, kids and dead people are a no go zone for me, what consenting adults do in their own private time is their own business.
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Jimmy Nimbus



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

munkus wrote:
Why do we define people by sexuality and other categories?


Because we're poofs.
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_Liam_
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of people aren't in the habit of questioning their gut reactions
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Snodgrass



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Why do we define people by sexuality and other categorie Reply with quote

munkus wrote:
I just never understood the need for it, especially in modern times. Lets face it, sexuality doesn't stop you doing your job or living normally. My own belief is discrimination towards people of differing sexuality comes about not just out of things like religious bigotry but also categorization. The more categories the more we can label people, the bigger the reason to discriminate as they don't meet the social norm (if there is one at all).


Because defining people by their ethnicity, religion, personal habits and the like just wasn't enough.
Unfortunately, the worst anti-gays often have no qualms about proclaiming their heterosexuality and combined fetishes. Then again, they are also sexist at the same time so... Laughing
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mumbles



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: Why do we define people by sexuality and other categorie Reply with quote

Snodgrass wrote:
munkus wrote:
I just never understood the need for it, especially in modern times. Lets face it, sexuality doesn't stop you doing your job or living normally. My own belief is discrimination towards people of differing sexuality comes about not just out of things like religious bigotry but also categorization. The more categories the more we can label people, the bigger the reason to discriminate as they don't meet the social norm (if there is one at all).


Because defining people by their ethnicity, religion, personal habits and the like just wasn't enough.
Unfortunately, the worst anti-gays often have no qualms about proclaiming their heterosexuality and combined fetishes. Then again, they are also sexist at the same time so... Laughing


Have you noticed that lots of anti-gay bible bashing evangalists over in the US have been busted by having gay sex with some young stud ??

It seems to me that the most ardent homophobic people are probably secretly gay themselves.
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Snodgrass



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Why do we define people by sexuality and other categorie Reply with quote

mumbles wrote:
Snodgrass wrote:
munkus wrote:
I just never understood the need for it, especially in modern times. Lets face it, sexuality doesn't stop you doing your job or living normally. My own belief is discrimination towards people of differing sexuality comes about not just out of things like religious bigotry but also categorization. The more categories the more we can label people, the bigger the reason to discriminate as they don't meet the social norm (if there is one at all).


Because defining people by their ethnicity, religion, personal habits and the like just wasn't enough.
Unfortunately, the worst anti-gays often have no qualms about proclaiming their heterosexuality and combined fetishes. Then again, they are also sexist at the same time so... Laughing


Have you noticed that lots of anti-gay bible bashing evangalists over in the US have been busted by having gay sex with some young stud ??

It seems to me that the most ardent homophobic people are probably secretly gay themselves.


I remember a twat who was "anti-gay". Said twat was male and had a uniform fetish. If you know who the uniform fetish is popular with... Laughing
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