Illusions

Runner in Two Worlds

One foot in each world. I like this.

What I find fascinating is that, when presented with missing information, given a lack of evidence, or even evidence to the contrary, people desperately cling to their initial assumptions. And nothing is more unshakeable than the gender assumption.

Penrose Impossible Triangle

Penrose Impossible Triangle

Rarely have people corrected themselves (at least in front of me) from making what they deemd was an “erroneous” gender assumption. And when they do, it is usually followed by diffuse apologising. I always imagine something suddenly flipping in their brains, and they blame themselves for not having seen it before, now that it’s so obvious!

My gender presentation behaves much like an perceptory illusion for some. Is it on one side, or the other?

Some people immediately see one – or the other – and latch on to it. It’s very difficult for them to see the other side without goading, prompting and pointing. Others are puzzled by the illusion, and can’t bring any one side into clear focus. Usually once they make something out – however fuzzy it may be – that choice is now locked in. Though some prove to be more mentally flexible, and are willing to bend their brains to accommodate both realities simultaneously. The truly gifted can switch back and forth at will.

Necker Cube Androgyny

Necker Cube – a symbol for Androgyny.

Hopefully I can learn to give people the right cues, so they see the side I want them to see, or can at least be open to seeing the whole picture.

12 responses to “Illusions

  1. In my experience, even transfolk err when it comes to assuming gender, since it is engrained in us. I recall attending a seminar on gender a decade ago, just before I transitioned. There were 250-300 people there, and several classes were conducted during the day. I recall seeing someone I assumed might be pre-transition male to female, and in a later class that day, learned he had actually transitioned from female to male a decade before. I loved the lesson of that, but… it’s still not an easy thing to shake.

    I know we wish others to perceive us a certain way, but the only thing we can do for certain is be ourselves, try to grow as individuals, and help educate others where the opportunity presents itself.

  2. I posted about a similar experience a fair while ago – but I still haven’t figured out how people reach the conclusions they do, contradictory as they seem to me. On better days, I like “testing” it to see who thinks what and try to figure out where the thoughts are coming from, and whether or not they’re “mentally flexible” (as you’ve so excellently put it) enough to go back on themselves if they “need” to. There’s a certain amount of scientific curiosity, a constant presence in my brain, which keeps me seeing the potential for entertainment, if not enlightenment, when I would otherwise be getting irritated…

    But on both good days and bad, I’m usually willing to educate if the person or people have a sufficient willingness to be educated!

    -JC

    • Yes, there were many others that fall under the same category which I didn’t mention: old woman / young woman, witch/woman, eskimo/man, rabbit/woman, etc.

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