Thursday, 24 September 2009

The screaming neurosis of normal

I've been wanting to write about this for a while. It's been brought to my mind by sweet machine quoting a lady called Thea Hillman, who is intersex and identifies as female.

Ms Hillman talks about "normal as a weapon of mass destruction" in the context of it being aimed at the bodies of people who do not fit mainstream idealized notions of sexuality or gender.

Normal though imprisons us all. One of the more shocking things for me, and it seems to be very much an American thing to date, is the fight for normal. No one is allowed to describe themselves thus, no matter how conventional their experience. This is seen as a major infraction. An assault against those who are unusual or rare, because somewhere along the line, it was decided that normal must be for all.

There are different ways of seeing the norm. In terms of overall number and in terms of your own personal norm. They aren't the same thing. No one should oppress others with the idea that they do not fit in or are substandard due to not being what everyone's used to. Or is expected.

Yet, I cannot help seeing this need to be called normal when you aren't or the sense of threat toward those who are as an ominous sign. It feels like the wrong target for so much energy.

Embracing difference fully feels like the one. Coming to terms with the idea that it is as real and as vital as similarity. It is inevitable. To see that every person has a place and it isn't nor does it have to be the same as others. One sees in the cosmetic surgery, and even to an extent the fitness industry a slide towards an excessive uniformity that can be quite eerie.

Normal is itself a conglomeration of many things. It is a range even more than it is a specific person. Many are faking, playing normal and their neurosis about this often screams so loudly, showing at times even more distress than those deemed misfits. Fueling the aggression against aimed at others. Thus submerging the evidence of what they wish to hide in themselves.

Wishing to be included in the norm is probably an extension of that impulse. It is a part of us, but we should consider resisting its pull. Normal should not mean the same as accepted.

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