Steph's Place

2nd December - My Feelings do not care about your factlings

by Freda Wallace

Much is often made of the idea of 'feelings'.

We use that word a lot as human beings. It's not high-minded or imbued with a depth of intellectual analysis, but it is primarily through feelings by which we describe our navigation of the world.

Twitter mouth-on-a-stick, Ben Shapiro once said, "Facts don't care about your feelings". Very simple in terms of sound-bites but flawed in its ignorance of genuine human experience.

Feelings might be a short-hand for that part of ourselves we trust philosophers or psychotherapists to interpret. It's why we seek out art or music, in the hope we might be more than just monkeys with car keys.

When Shania Twain sings 'Man, I feel like a Woman' (a great work of art if there ever was one), what does she want to convey there?

What does Aretha Franklin feel when she sings 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman'?

Chaka Khan is 'Every Woman', and we understand her joy completely. A true spiralling, soring dance anthem!

The sentiment in these songs is the essence of being a woman, an abstract concept that transcends the physical form. These songs represent a kind of transubstantiation of the trap of our flesh. It is the liberation and emancipation of all the gravity holding us down, and it is why l relate to them.

Feelings.

When I first expressed my thoughts of being a girl to my mother, l was too young to think about sexual phycology or existential ideas of the 'self'. I just knew when l looked at my older sister and how she danced and how she expressed her feelings, they made sense to me in a way my brothers didn't.

I played with my sister more and allowed her to dress me and dance to her records. It was fun. It was no more than that in my tiny mind. It just felt right.

I would say the usual cliché things as l got older. The things l had heard from radio or TV. "I feel like a girl in the wrong body", etc. There was already a bit of limited language around transgender people in the media, and it centred around 'feelings' only. The science of psychology felt like a closed-door behind which experts you'll never understand write books you'll never read for people you'll never meet.

No wonder trans people find it so hard to find the language to convey what is really happening to them.

It's one of the few areas of psychotherapy where the condition isn't necessarily the problem. The problem is societal because we are trying to navigate gender by a set of predetermined parameters.

A lot of the language around non-gender conformity is decades old and in the hands of those with lofty positions in academia (and funding) to write theses' about us.

Facts might not care about feelings, but facts are ever-changing.

Science isn't fixed by its very nature; we add new words to the dictionary all the time.

While some might claim words are being edited out to fit a nebulous idea of sexuality, what is actually happening is language continually evolving to match our human experience of the world.

My feels don't care about your factlings.

Authored by Freda Wallace


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