I have transgender dysphoria disorder. I feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body and it’s ruining my life to the point where I’m going to have surgery to correct it.
Everyone would understand If I really meant that. Most would empathize and those that didn’t approve would tread carefully and politely around me. But let’s take a simpler more common sentence:
I hope strangers like my clothes and like me for wearing them.
This would be met with faux-bafflement. Along with indignation, no confession of empathy and perhaps a bit of an insult.
We live in a culture that celebrates and idolizes rebellion and outsiders. To a point. You know, totally social acceptable safe rebellion and charming fun outsiders. Now of course everybody’s being different in the same ways and there are no insiders for us to be different from. Hipster is a dirty word because it means trying to be an outsider by knowing what’s cool and not doing it, a tacit confession that you care what’s cool and that’s not cool.
We do all these cool things, play in bands, go dancing, take photos, get tattoos, wear clothes, etc., but have to deny we think it’s cool. Like we’re supposed to believe that haircut is just super comfortable and you fell out of bed that way, all that dye and product is for you in the ten seconds you might see your reflection today and not for anyone else. Okay, you say, you admit you’re aware of cool as a construct but you don’t care what other people think is cool you’re just doing your own thing. So you’re either a liar or a narcissist, pick one. Unless you’re rocking a shaved head and a disposable one-zy you’re out there in the game like the rest of us. You are broadcasting in your choice of clothing and action the identity you want to display to strangers. We’re just all afraid to admit it. Why? Because if we admitted we wanted others to like us that gives them power over us. We’d rather stand stoic than give a stranger the opportunity to think we’re lame. Yeah we’re all totally individualist rebels who won’t move away from the cross-armed statues to go have fun until someone else does it first.
Then when they do we’re all grateful and think they’re really cool.