Lucrece wrote: A woman can't truly be just someone. The narrative is always about how she's a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, etc. There's never integration of nontraditional tasks with female identity. The female identity is split.
For barbie it's even worse, she's everything! and all at once!
Philwelch wrote:If I can't make assumptions that aren't 99% true, than I can't get up in the morning. Because, even though I observe that there is a floor next to me, I cannot assume that it will not collapse as soon as I apply the slightest weight to it. Even though I observe that there are stairs leading from my floor downwards, I cannot assume those stairs will not collapse, either. Even though I observe a clear fluid coming out of my shower head, I cannot assume that fluid is water, and not, for instance, hydrochloric acid.
Thats a good point, but that has to do more with things a bit less complex than human personality (although many have argued against logic itself for being unable to define why, exactly, we should think anything should hold true from one moment to the next. And even if it does, there is no reason to expect it to again, since we have not observed the next moment in time for ourselves. This is what you'd have a problem with mostly i would guess.)
I do think it would be wonderful if we didn't make these generalizations about gender, because i see no reason we must. The primary necessity of separating what is male from female is a genetic interest in procreation, but such an interest needs not be segmented in such a way, especially in the direction society is moving. Babies can be born of almost any relationship (some needing a surrogate mother, at least). We don't need to be attracted to someone more because they are the opposite 'sex,' because we have the capacity to be attracted to anyone at all. If someone is attractive to us, if we truly have no control over the process, then they will have a set of characteristics that you will be looking for, but these characteristics are less unique to a sex than to that type of person you are generally attracted to.
i think its entirely possible to do away with generalization with regards to sex, gender, and race. Perhaps im just too optimistic, because no one seems to agree . I've got at least a few 'feminist' thinkers to back me up though, so i'm not entirely dejected.
Philwelch wrote:And yet, if I'm working on a crime scene, pick up a pair of bloody gloves used by the murderer, and find blood with XY chromosomes mixed with a separate DNA that we've already matched to the victim, it's going to save me a lot of time to narrow my search to male suspects.
Well, that's absolutely true , but forensic teams and policing forces make extreme generalizations on purpose. They say "5'4" white female" because they want to lump as many similar people together as possible on their first inspection in order to whittle down their suspects from there. In your example, the police shouldn't be surprised if the person they find isn't exactly who they thought they would be. That's what they expect, to get more suspects than they need. They should not, off hand, expect their final suspect to be anything at all like what they were searching for
In everyday life, we have no need to make such crass over-generalization (The police do it at their own risk: this generalization often gets them in trouble for racial profiling, a form of bigotry very similar to the one we're discussing here). Making a search requires generalization, and its usually safe because you are essentially making your best guess as to all of a persons qualities only in order to find them.
Generalization is used, however, in interpersonal interaction more than anything, and this is the environment which breeds bigotry. When its used, it often takes the context of the opposite of a search. One sees an individual and associated them to the notions one has about a group that may be vaguely similar to them. Instead of having many and extracting one, they have one, and extract the personality of many. The personality of many does not exist, however. Therefore, we must cease such generalization, because it is stereotype.
Simplified(because i like stupid analogies): Methodology must be used to find a needle in a haystack, but one can't look at that needle and say that it was obviously found among other needles.
So, one makes generalizations to make a search in expectation of shedding their preconceived notions as time goes on. Such is a noble search for you do not nurture your generalizations, you expect them to eventually be disproved in some manner or another, because the necessarily must be.
You never need, however, to look at an individual and assume many. This would be calling upon generalizations you've nurtured in the past and expecting them to be constant. And many times, such generalizations include "Blonde: dumb, Woman: overly emotional, too weak, Black: criminal, Hispanic: Illegal," those common stereotypes which lead to normalized hatred.