chimerically: (Default)
I've been told often enough throughout my life that I need to "get out there" more -- be more assertive, be more aggressive, be more social, or just plain talk more (dammit!). However, when it comes to teaching, presenting, hosting a party, or interacting in other social situations, I can do just fine, and I even enjoy public speaking (as evinced by my years teaching planetarium shows at Holt Planetarium and dance lessons for UCBD). But being "out there," especially for long periods of time, and especially in unstructured social situations such as parties, sure does wear me out. I've never been a partier: I often get to know more of the books on my party host's bookcase than strangers at the party. In high-school psychology I realized I was just introverted, and throughout my life I've learned to "cope" with my "impairment." Well, a couple of years ago, an introverted writer decided to speak out. Nothing's wrong with being introverted, he said, and there's a lot that's right. And further, introverts are rather inconvenienced by the smalltalk and sociality that is expected of them. "Remember, someone you know, respect, and interact with every day is an introvert, and you are probably driving this person nuts." And from a later interview: "Extroverts should understand that if someone is being quiet it doesn't mean they're having a bad time; it doesn't mean they're depressed; it doesn't mean they're lonely or need psychiatric help or medication. A lot of the battle is making the extrovert world more aware."

In the article and follow-up interview, the author stated that we live in a world that favors extroverts. I would agree completely for the physical world. (I've been lucky in that pretty much all the people I've been close to have been introverts. As an aside, a high-school classmate of [livejournal.com profile] dag29580863's once said that he'd only ever heard D say three words in all of high school. D, in his usual inimitable style, retorted, "Make that six.") But I would argue that the virtual world can be as well suited to introverts as extroverts. Online I can take my time responding, walk away, or sequester myself completely (... at least with most of my friends). It lets me stay connected to friends, but on terms I am more comfortable with -- less intense and more ambient, like the occasional connection one has when working independently but with someone else in the same room.

Are you introverted too? Do you also like the affordances of online communication? Does it also help you extroverts out there feel more connected?

Halloween

Nov. 2nd, 2005 08:23 pm
chimerically: (Default)
Halloween is an interesting holiday in that it lets people experiment with their identity in ways they normally cannot. (However, many only "experiment" in stereotypical ways. For instance, women's prepackaged costumes are almost universally sexy.) What I really don't like - a sentiment I adopted from my dad - is how people use it as an excuse to abdicate restraint and responsibility. The usual social controls are absent or lessened. As I thought about this yesterday, I was reminded of all the research done on online identities. Online, people can "try on" different personalities different from the ones they usually have. In fact, they're even less constrained than they are on Halloween (or many other historical and current holidays, such as Mardi Gras, Robynne reminds me): though people's traces may be recorded permanently, they can interact anonymously (or pseudonymously). Somehow, while Halloween bothers me, this doesn't, though I suppose there are aspects of online interactions that I do find particularly odious.
chimerically: (Default)
Women's magazines are sold by what I call the "uniformity" fallacy - on the erroneous belief that we can all be made to look like one another, given the right creams and clothes and diets. This is a fallacy because it induces us to ignore the unavoidable variation in body type, skin type, hair type, genetic predisposition, and so on. No matter how hard I try - short of major surgery, and maybe not even then - I can't have flawlessly tanned skin or silky-straight hair or a 36-24-34 figure, because I have freckles and wavy hair and narrow hips, and that's just the way I am. What I CAN do is be the healthiest me that I can be. Believing this is my first step in sloughing the media beastie; now I just have to truly LIKE what I've got. :~) (For a start, I think it would be incredibly boring if we really COULD all look just like one another!)

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