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I have no doubt that the internet has allowed the gender ideology to spread more efficiently and quickly than would have been possible without it. I do not believe that my teenage daughter, halfway across the world from the place where this ideology seems to have mostly originated (the US — right?) would be identifying the way she does now if it was not for the presence of the internet in her life.

This is because she simply would never have found the made-up terms that she has. The particular term that she has chosen was not even coined until some time after she was born, yet she claims to always have been that.

That's not what I mean in asking this question, though.

My daughter has indicated that she first "discovered" that she liked male pronouns while playing online multiplayer games. The game avatars are separate from one's physical body, and can be changed at will. However one presents one's self is how one will be seen, coupled with the way in which one chooses or is able to use language.

Those who present in "stereotypically female ways" face misognystic and sexual attacks. It is no wonder that one would choose not use female pronouns or in any way female-looking avatars. Thanks to the internet, that can be changed instantly.

As one spends more time in these online worlds, one becomes detached from one's body, perhaps.

The same might not just be true in video games but also in text-based media such as certain social media platforms.

Is online life separating young people from their physical bodies? Am I off-base here? What are your thoughts?

I have no doubt that the internet has allowed the gender ideology to spread more efficiently and quickly than would have been possible without it. I do not believe that my teenage daughter, halfway across the world from the place where this ideology seems to have mostly originated (the US — right?) would be identifying the way she does now if it was not for the presence of the internet in her life. This is because she simply would never have found the made-up terms that she has. The particular term that she has chosen was not even coined until some time after she was born, yet she claims to always have been that. That's not what I mean in asking this question, though. My daughter has indicated that she first "discovered" that she liked male pronouns while playing online multiplayer games. The game avatars are separate from one's physical body, and can be changed at will. However one presents one's self is how one will be seen, coupled with the way in which one chooses or is able to use language. Those who present in "stereotypically female ways" face misognystic and sexual attacks. It is no wonder that one would choose not use female pronouns or in any way female-looking avatars. Thanks to the internet, that can be changed instantly. As one spends more time in these online worlds, one becomes detached from one's body, perhaps. The same might not just be true in video games but also in text-based media such as certain social media platforms. Is online life separating young people from their physical bodies? Am I off-base here? What are your thoughts?

56 comments

[–] Nediljka_Orwell PITA crone 78 points

Yes. Definitely.

The fact that a lot of people who work in tech keep their kids offline tells you everything. They know how it’s designed and what it can do.

I have friends who work in tech and they’ve said the same thing, including not putting photos of children on social media.

I’ve thought about it, especially when it comes to messenger and other text based services (my husband and I have agreed she needs a phone to text me when she’s old enough as I’m deaf).

[–] Nediljka_Orwell PITA crone 4 points

No photos or even references to kids or wives, depending on how high up you are in the food chain. These people know that you have to be careful not to reveal too much personal info online in addition to keeping their kids on a short leash with it.

I also work in tech, and I absolutely refuse to share pictures of my daughter on the internet. Unfortunately, I have family that doesn't listen. It really bothers me.

[–] crodish 🔪🍠 12 points

They what. Holy shit. Really? And how?

You can also see this in the movie The Social Dilemma.

[–] Nediljka_Orwell PITA crone 14 points

Yes. There have been small articles here and there about that. Or a paragraph or two in biographies of tech giants. No smart phones or tablets for Junior and little Janie. Or no unsupervised surfing or social media accounts. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook are both on record saying that they limited their kids’ tech use. You can bet people in marketing, content moderation administration, legal and other departments that know the behind the scenes ugliness don’t either.

[–] Redmage 17 points Edited

My husband and I work in tech. This is absolutely true. Our kid is a little too little to act on it yet, but we do plan on restricting internet.

I'm looking at Bark at the moment.

Edit: I just realized I had more to say.

I think males on the internet are to blame more than the internet itself.

[–] eris 16 points

Well, men ruin everything. But the reality is - it was designed (mostly by men) to foster addiction.

True, I had many a predator try and say they wanted to "meet up" etc. Luckily I've had a good bullshit detector since childhood.

No, you're not off base. A lot of this bullshit is about people wanting to become their avatars.

I use male pronouns online. In the sense that if someone calls me a "he" in a forum or group chat I won't correct that person. From that, I get good feelings. A feeling of relief. A feeling of hiding in plain sight. I feel if I was much younger this could easily be twisted at me as "gender euphoria", that me wishing to hide my femaleness on the internet, meant I wasn't really female at all. Nah I just knew I had a target on my head and still know that. Furthermore, that phrase "the internet: where men are men, women are men, and little girls are the fbi" (who made that up? No idea) rings true: the more someone presents as female openly the more suspicious I am that they're a man and so on.

The aloofness of boyhood is attractive to misfit girls. I was a weird girl. I wonder now, if I had received more access to this time of visual social media instead of growing up on BBS boards, which really this tiktok thing only missed me by a few years - would i have misinterpreted these feelings of wishing to be safe and wishing to be left alone as wishing to be something I'm not? The internet would have facilitated it quite easily.

Is online life separating young people from their physical bodies?

Yes - but also just accelerating a shift that can happen in the mind. Or giving idle thoughts a place to grow wild and fester. There are a lot of sci fi pieces about whether we will need the body or not past a certain point; the internet made this a more apparent question.

I definitely think the technological goal is to ultimately separate us from our bodies in some ways. There are "good" motivations for this. For example if I had been permanently paralyzed, perhaps i would enjoy being able to walk again in a simulator. But there is obviously a high cost to this techno-dissociation, which is thinking that in the "real world" you can do and become anything or whatever is going on. And the "bad" motivations for it are to turn people into a product, to divorce us from the flesh, to deny us actual life.

I use male pronouns online. In the sense that if someone calls me a "he" in a forum or group chat I won't correct that person. From that, I get good feelings. A feeling of relief. A feeling of hiding in plain sight.

I think this basically encapsulates the different motivations men and women/girls have for adopting a trans identity. While a lot of girls do get into fanfic and gay porn, a big part of their "gender euphoria" is simply relief that they can be treated like a "person" instead of woman. I've read a few say that, almost verbatim.

Agreed.

I think a lot of TIFs are just trying to hide from misogyny.

I think the majority of TIMs have a fetish or are porn sick.

You can see it in how they dress. TIMs dress in sexually provocative ways. TIFs dress like men and wear black. Black, also, is a color many women often use to "hide" themselves, like hiding their weight (black is "slimming") or hide like a wallpaper ("emo" style).

I think that a lot of lesbians and even some bisexual women from that I've heard get into the gay male fanfic because it gives them an outlet for a same-sex fantasy where the female version is totally forbidden. It is a way of reconciling that in their minds when the portrayals of female same-sex couples are often seen through a male gaze that makes them disgusting, dangerous and unpalatable in a way that the gay male ones are not. I totally get why a lot of female same-sex couples are using that as a conduit and therefore are becoming TIF-TIF couples in the process.

[–] Medusa91 2 points Edited

There’s also quite a few straight TIFs, I think in their case they stumble across it when they’re first really getting sexual urges. You don’t want to be the object of list the way women are portrayed in pornography. Even when I read fanfiction straight coupled erotica was almost always god awful.

In male/male fanfiction the focus is squarely on the men, and it allows the straight woman to explore his body free of expectation. Porn teaches her how she’s supposed to look and behave but nothing about enjoying the man she’s with, it delves into details of kissing, touching, enjoying and learning. There’s a heavy focus on the relationship between the men and the love between them. This is a genre that is almost exclusively written by women.

You can tell the difference. Anything you find online that it straight or lesbian is so heavily written by men, it’s purely for the arousal of men. Short and snappy, to the point, never things that are actually arousing to women, just things that excite the male reader every straight erotica I’ve ever read from the perspective of the girl completely focused on the man’s penis and basically nothing else just how excited she was to be there for him. Every lesbian erotica focuses on what will excite men, the girls doing things they just don’t read in real life like rubbing their breasts together and inviting men in to have sex with both of them

I think a lot of straight women who heavily consume this kind of porn but still want relationships with men hope that this is what it’s going to look like. It’s not, it’s the same wham bam Thankyou ma’am that all pornified dolts are raised on

I'm also "a man" on the internet and always have been. If you have any hobbies or interests that are seen as "male", it's the only way they will let you participate in the discussion. It also prevents them from messaging you creepy questions about your body. It was like this pre-reddit as well.

I grew up with brothers and know well the sensitive dorks they are before they disappear behind a veneer of machismo. Maybe that's why I never saw them as aloof.

I think dissociation can totally occur, I think I experienced it when I developed almost a second persona which was based off of a guy I actually respected, we even have similar heights and build. In this case, it was actually advantageous to have a split personality as I learned to be more aggressive and eschew the sheer submissiveness to my own fate, though I would consider this a rare case study. Primarily I have a diagnosis of ASPD which is remarkably rare in women. The free access to mountains of porn definitely has a massive effect on male's development these days, I think we're reaching this accelerationist point where society is deteriorating ultra fast and hylics do not understand dialectics enough to stave off the urge to get addicted to more extreme pornos. These are truly hellish times and things are going to get worse before they get better.

Also — any sense of self (identity) that depends on the validation of others to continue existing is unhealthy. I do not, for instance, need others to validate my identity as a woman, a member of a certain ethnic group, or a socialist. These are things that I am whether anyone else recognizes it or not. Neither do I need anyone to validate my love of certain foods for that love to be solid in my mind. Gender identities depend on constant outside validation, however, and this is something the internet offers in abundance. Thereby, the world of the internet can maybe perpetuate gender identities that would otherwise have waned over time.

By the same token, there's a constant stream of trans content that prevents young people from really forming their own sense of self through lived experience, as the way they should feel or interpretations of preexisting feelings are constantly fed to them by others.

I read this earlier today which is excellent and horrifying on the malign influence of the internet.

https://gurwinder.substack.com/p/the-perils-of-audience-capture

People are literally destroying themselves for the approval of strangers who couldn’t give a fig about them and see them as disposable commodities rather than human beings.

WOW, that is an excellent article.

Seeing the before and after pictures of that young man. He’s basically the modern equivalent of a freak show exhibit and his audience are just there to laugh at him and ignore his humanity. It’s desperately sad and makes a mockery of the claim that a lot of Gen Z make that they’re more ‘socially aware’ and ‘kinder’ than older generations.

Have you ever seen the movie, "The White Ribbon"? It is set in Germany and is about children who are quite bad. And given the year the movie was set, the audience knows that that particular generation of children is going to grow up to be Nazis.

[–] Len 3 points

I don't know. I do think that some children and young adults are probably more susceptible to that kind of separation. I'm in my 40's, so my teen/young adult internet experience was probably vastly different than what teens experience now. While I was an avid gamer (played text based MMO's in high school) and used early versions of social media at the time (icq, irc chat, myspace, etc.), I luckily didn't experience any misogynistic attacks beyond the standard stuff that I would encounter in the real world (basically, guys being stupid, gross and occasionally creepy), so I never felt that I needed to create characters/alter egos that were a different sex. Most of my online personas/nicknames were copied from strong female characters from fantasy/sci-fi novels that I loved to read as a teen. I also didn't have the frame of reference that a girl with non-stereotypical feminine hobbies (gaming, D&D, Star Trek/sci-fi, fantasy, anime fan) was anything other than just a girl with atypical hobbies. No where was I given the idea that because I liked these things, I was really a boy. I'm not sure what my teenage self would have thought if society was pushing that narrative at the time.

Thanks, that's an interesting account of what social media was like in the early days. I didn't have access to the internet until later (just after the turn of the Millennium). At that point, I mainly used it to search for information. I was aware of the existence of forums and lurked. When I started participating, it was in idea-based forums. I did not grow up with cellphones either.

I was surrounded by strong and gender non-conforming women who basically said "fuck you" to gender, more in terms of what they did that how they dressed or felt safe dressing outside of the home, as a child. Never did I get the impression that defying gender stereotypes must mean I was not a woman either. I was just an apple falling not far from the tree.

I wonder if my daughter had grown up in a similar way, if she would still have the feelings that she now does (identifying as trans). I very much doubt it. Then again, I grew up surrounded by a community, and she has not had the same pleasure. Maybe it is the combination of the internet and relative social isolation, ethnically-motivated bullying, and so on, that is the catalyst here.

[–] Len 2 points

Yeah, even as an introverted kid, I still had to deal with people in the real world, so social isolation could be a factor. I was bullied (non-native speaker, funny accent, etc. ) in elementary school and was never the popular kid. I remember having this whole elaborate plan on starting fresh in high school (we moved to a different area where I didn't know anyone) and joining sports so I had a group to belong to. It worked well enough, but it very much meant that I was a "closet nerd" for most of high school, since that wasn't a popular social group to belong to. Once I got to college, I felt more comfortable expressing my interests and not feeling like I needed to fit in anymore. Changing sex was...just never an option that crossed my mind. Being called "gay" was considered an insult at the time...and this was in a region that is ultra progressive by today's standards. It just wasn't part of the discourse that kids were having at the time. If my childhood had been like what kids go through today...I can imagine probably playing around with the various gender identity labels and pronouns. I don't think I would have ever gone the medicalization route though. I hated needles and while there were definitely body parts that I swore I would change once I had enough money (nose job), I never did end up following thru with it. Having surgery just seemed like a very unpleasant thing to experience under the best of circumstances and not really worth it.

Yeah, that basically describes my daughter ("I was bullied (non-native speaker, funny accent, etc."). As someone who came to where we are now as a refugee, I've struggled with identity stuff too and never really managed to assimilate. This kid is smart. It baffles me that she cannot connect the trans thing with gender identity stuff related to being a second-generation immigrant and trauma that rubbed off on her. I brought up the possibility and she's so very sure that this has nothing to do with that.

I definitely think it’s been an accelerant more than any other form of mass media. Even TV and movies usually had TIPs portrayed as something abnormal and to be mocked even as portrayals of LGBs became more humanized and sympathetic. It was always “there” and discussed as an issue in feminist and LGB circles particularly with the advent of the women’s and gay rights movements of the ‘70s (i.e. Janice Raymond, Germaine Greer) but nowhere near as mainstreamed to the point of a ubiquitous contagion until the always-on Internet of the late 2010s and, thus, an always-on gaming and porn environment (and pornified gaming, gamified porn).

There was that New Yorker cartoon dated 1995 that lampooned the sort of dissociative identification of online interaction (“on the internet nobody knows you’re a dog”), with two dogs sitting at the computer pretending, supposedly, to be human. But even then it was viewed as a cautionary tale. It wasn’t until this kind of disembodiment became the accepted norm (because the Internet became as commonplace in homes as flush toilets— with similar “content” traveling through the “series of tubes”) that, I think, a certain generation that never knew a time before it, just came into knowing this “virtual reality” as being real life.

Tech bigwigs are really big on promoting genderwoo, and a sort of mind-over-matter philosophy of “trans humanist evolution” where we are our avatars, so the theory doesn’t strike me as being off the mark of what their bizarre mission is. They are predominantly middle aged little boys who never outgrew hating their sisters for beating them at Nintendo games or mom pulling the plug so they would go to bed or do their homework, so they’ve embarked on creating this misogynistic tech-addled society where the worst thing anyone can be is a girl, unless it’s to get inside her avatar and custom-design her body. And they have bajillions of dollars at their disposal, to make their VR fantasy into something crudely resembling “real life.”

1000% yes. Like most things, the seeds were already there. The internet is like super fertilizer that made all these horrible ideologies grow steadily over time.

[–] Owl 15 points

I think at least partially this can lead to dissociative behaviors and social contagion. And the ongoing sexism and misogyny that goes largely unpunished in online spaces doesn't help girls. You might find the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma" interesting. It covers several social networking sites and discusses rising rates of self-harm and suicide in young girls.

I mean FecesBook was literally created for the purpose of judging the “hotness” of Zuckerfuck’s female classmates so it’s no wonder the explosion of social media has made life even more of a living hell for women. These guys really took the panty raid scene from Revenge of the Nerds (or really, the whole franchise) and ran with it to a globally destructive extent.

as someone who was on the internet before it was called web 1.0 and we are in web.30 post net nuetrality now.

The internet allowed pedophiles a community outside of the Vatican and other world religions;

it was a combination of the tech industry, where there are many men who are diagnosable so the tech industry

along with the university ending women's studies for gender studies and rolling out projected mental illness as if an academic idea which demands - like religion- to not be questioned - and both deny ordinary human senses along with all individual rights to own ideas and most importantly, to a no. or be able to protect own person

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