Propensity to Self Subversion The Politics of Identity
It is almost instinct for people who share similar likes and interests to bond together and form a group more easily than those with nothing in common. It is for this reason that girls who love certain types of fashion bond together, while science geniuses form clubs, all of which are easily seen in most schools. Dentists form their own associations in the same way roller coaster engineers have their own organizations. The basic need of wanting to belong is a fundamental component of most people’s genetic make-up, and it is through this desire that many collective identity groups are formed. Unfortunately, while this may seem beneficial at the onset, there still runs the risk of self-subversion, even within these circles.
While it is true that most groups formed are because its members share a similar interest or occupation, it does not necessarily follow that all the members have exactly the same likes and dislikes, and therein lays the problem. While it is true that two people of the same gender, race, religion and age bracket can share a common experience, it does not always follow that they share an identical experience. Unfortunately, many people tend to generalize and lump all these experiences under one category without giving much through to further distinguishing one from the other.
To illustrate – there are many gay rights organizations where homosexuals advocating equal rights belong to, and it is assumed that they all have the same definitions regarding what it is to be a homosexual. Subsequently, if the majority of the members prefers men, but still exhibits many masculine traits characteristic of a typical straight man, then this becomes the dominant precept that everyone within the organization should follow. If one of the members exhibits traits that are more feminine or is a transvestite, then that member can be ostracized, even in the community that he shares common interests in. This is the problem of the politics that arise in determining one’s identity.
As a result, the member is not given a chance to voice his own opinions and thoughts, even within the community. The fact that most similar organizations are formed in order to combat the inequality they perceive to be experiencing or have experienced with other members of society, this is, ironically enough, a form of bigotry in itself. The organizations seek to establish acceptance within society, yet is unable to tolerate one of their own for exhibiting qualities or interests that most of the group do not have.
In consequence, a homogenous culture is inadvertently established among the member of the community. People are forced to conform to the views of the majority; making a stance against them will result in their being alienated. With this in mind, it is still very important to be able to associate distinct and distinguishing personalities even within a certain organization, as no two members are ever alike. Setting boundaries based on the majority’s opinion will only result in excluding other people.
Sadly, enough, many people choose to keep quiet about their differences and participate, because the need to belong to a society where you can be tolerated supersedes the need to express yourself and risk being ostracized. This is in fact, the reason why many homosexuals choose to keep quiet about their sexual orientation, or why some people take drugs if the people all around them are doing so. Self-subversion forces you actually believe that it is okay to sacrifice your personality for the sake of finding acceptance among your peers. It becomes important to find enough self-confidence to stand up for what you believe in, and perhaps even exact changes among the members of the collective you belong to, in order to get rid of the many misconceptions that can lead to personal identity crisis.