By Isis Win
In our world of fast and accessible communicating, often we hear people throwing some new stuff that rings well, interesting and delivers some punch. But I wonder how often this information has been understood, or better, digested. In this age of multitasking, more often than not, it is not easy to delve as deeply as necessary to learn the little idiosyncrasies of what we learned. Therefore we don’t have a good understanding of what contexts we can use these new punchy terms or thoughts. We simply use them as they come, because we feel they make sense, explain what we intend and we use them within the context of our delivery. But, it is not unreasonable to question the source this new knowledge. Take for instance what I am sharing here with you. Is this something I have a decent grasp of it? Or is it something that leads me to deliver my own punch line but fails to truly connect one dot with the other one? Well, the only way to figure it out, is nothing else than digging into any reliable channels that may explain it, comparing it with others’ views or theories and arriving at a sound place. We can use the same concept to either support any idea or to detract it, especially if it is used in the wrong context. How boring to have to open our encyclopedias or reference books! Is it that important? You’ll be the judge. But I hope what I express here is enough to trigger your curiosity and interest to wonder how much of that average language you use is right on the money or . . . how much of that may lead to confusing terms, and as well, a bad punch line. The language we use will have a deep impact when it comes to the results, therefore, it is of utmost importance to know well what we say, how we say it and when. And in order to properly exercise this skill, a sound education is vital. On the long run, the level of education we harvest will have a deep impact on the level of consciousness we achieve. And consciousness will open many paths and doors in life. Otherwise, we’ll be shooting in the dark!
Anima and Animus are the two primary anthropomorphic archetypes of the unconscious mind. Just right there, anthropomorphic archetypes? Unconscious? What the heck are those? Do they have any importance to be considered as part of our personal lexicon? This will drastically depend on each individual preferences, but as well, on the consciousness level of each of us, or wanted knowledge.
In this regard I want to share with you: consciousness will always be one of the largest and most determining tool or skill, anyone can use to grow in life. But let me stick to my title. Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology used anima and animus in his school of analytical psychology. Oh! psychology! Who wants to dig that BS? . . . Psychology is a thing for the mentally insane or derailed person! That’s not me, right? We are OK and need no psychology, correct? Sorry, but in order to deliver my thought, you need to be able to understand each of the thoughts I am suggesting, so you can connect the dots. Otherwise, you would be wasting your time reading me. If you are still with me, let me explain this concept that is so badly used in our contrived culture and in the long run may deliver a totally screwed up idea. Take for instance, gay and straight. What does that have to do with these? Well, if you are paying attention you will be able to connect the dots and perhaps do not get lost in my point.
I will not jump into a psychology text-book explanation, so you understand what this is all about. However, I need to explain my starting point/dot FIRST. Anima is what, according to Jung, the feminine represents in the inner personality in the male. In other words: The unconscious feminine traits in the male. But in females, animus represents the masculine in their personality. What a? Feminine in a male and masculine in a female? Yes, although the average person tends to believe that all feminine is exclusive of the female and all masculine of the male. Well, there are many other science fields that can further explain this duality but we will not go there. It suffices to state that every single human being has built-in traits of both genders. Interesting right? So what are those traits? Perhaps without knowing them, you will fully reject this idea. But if you understand that specific traits in each one’s personality are gender oriented it may make sense. NOTE: both traits as well are composed by negative and positive aspects of the personality. We can look at it as anima-animus is a Ying-Yan and this Ying-Yan has its own Ying-Yan.
In street terms, anima refers to animated, or perceptive and animus to animosity or decisiveness. Does it start making sense? A recognized female trait is how much emotional data a female collects before assuming anything. It is the reason females usually take a little longer than males to take action. But how can this be if the male’s trait is the anima? Well, that is his counterpart but males are mostly represented by the animus in general. Anima is a trait that feels not only the emotional content but as well, considers the content from others. Huh! Do males do that? Well, not usually or at all times but yes, they do! However, they mostly act their animus. Confusing? While the animus simply is assertive and direct to take action making him decisive and taking charge, the anima as well can have an impact in his behavior. This is the part where integration of both shines for its value.
According to Jung (he didn’t invent this thought, this concept has been exhibited in ancient cultures as well), both genders carry both traits, although they may appear to be antagonistic to their gender. This is rather simple to understand since we all experience the female and the male through our parents, siblings, friends, etc. In order to recognize anything, we must have it built-in into our psyche first. Otherwise, how can we recognize what that is? If we don’t know it, we don’t. Everything else we’re aware of, consciously or unconsciously, is something that, at some level or another, we experienced, and can therefore acknowledge. That’s because it is already built-in us.
By the same token, females have their counterpart animus but generally, like men’s case, they represent it when they have integrated it into their emotional since already is in their psyche.
If you still are with me, think about: What would be the most important task to do with this piece of knowledge? To achieve full integration of both traits in a conscious level. A very interesting aspect of this is that gay, lesbian and transgender people have an easier path to integration of this because they allow both traits to operate or take place more often and naturally. But being conscious of it will make a great difference.
Huh! This is becoming more confusing, right? This integration is something that has been changing in the last few decades. Although, most males refuse to allow such train of thought. Meaning, most males will not allow anything that may point them in the direction of having any feminine traits. In fact, the average male will do whatever he judges necessary to represent his male-maleness at any cost. Therefore avoid anything that in his view may resemble female. The obvious result? The macho or machista. Males will not only reject such notion but anything that maybe represented by it or like it, to them may feel gay, sissy, queer, etc. They will refuse it because what it represents to them, even if it would be an asset. It is not common to hear a male publicly stating their refusal to accept it. Just like males sort of refuse to become sentimental, cry, etc. Well, unless in the right context! Such as being with other macho males and talking about it but will avoid talking about it in the presence of a female or a gay/sissy male.
So what about females and the animus? Women in the contrary had been embracing, either consciously or not their animus. Women had been achieving a large level of assertiveness and drive at least during the last century. Therefore, their role in society, family, work, etc, is much more participation aimed than ever before. But for the sake of “justice” I must add that in the last decades males are getting more in touch with their feminine. Today, we see males staying home, taking care of the chores of the case, nurturing and caring for the children, etc. Something that four or five decades ago was largely considered feminine, therefore . . . gayish? Are we agreeing so far?
Now, let me connect the dot with another further more convoluted issue: sexuality and preference. Men by default are more reluctant to accept male gayness but have no problem with female gayness. In fact, males that reject male gays find lesbians arousing. On the contrary, women have been more accepting of both gay and lesbian sexuality. Sexuality has been through our history one of those things in life that is very delicate to discuss, and much more so to concur on. There is a heavy stigma attached to gay sexuality! Wait, sexuality, period! Of course, changes have been occurring for a long time now in males and females, but there are men and women that still refuse to accept gay sexuality, or even recognize it. But invariably we can look at this case as the result of religious or moralist roots, or close mindedness.
OK, I feel at this point you may grasp my point, hopefully! So it is time to connect the dots between anima-animus and straight and homosexuality. By the way, using this term (homosexuality), even up to date, is a no-no even among some gay people. There are so many people who refuse to use the word homosexuality, which is no more than a technical term to describe sexual orientation. It is a not-so-transparent way to see where the lack of integration of anima-animus is for that individual.
Excuse me for going through this lengthy explanation to arrive to this but it is necessary to make my desired point: LGBT, lately converted into LGBTQ. Something that in my view and as well many other advocates and activists does not favor our battle for civil rights. What does this have to do with all of the above? Well, I really hope you already grasp the idea but in case you don’t, let me explain. Although being gay or lesbian is a matter of sexual inclination, preference or whatever you wish to call it, our civil rights should not be pending on our sexuality. Isn’t sexuality a private matter that 99% of the people refuse even to talk about? So why are our rights defined by our sexuality? Something to think about it and I am sure most have an answer to this question and likely will be very similar if not identical.
The battle for our civil rights should not be about what preferences or lifestyle we have or choose. This battle should not be anymore than the civil rights granted and “protected” by the US constitution towards all sorts of diversity that exist in our country, period! The Constitution clearly states that no American can be excluded from what the founders of our nation fought, removed and protected by creating our constitution.
The addition of bisexual, transgender and now queer to our umbrella flag (LGBT) actually does some damage among the ignorant in our main-streets. How is that? you may ask, especially if you are bisexual, transgender or queer. Simple: We are adding something to what should be no more than the innate right to choose and live a life according to our preference and enjoy all those rights that should be observed and enforced by our constitution and . . . human decency, even if those that disapprove are reluctant to integrate their compassion and understanding to every single human being. Why do they do that? Because they clearly disapprove of sexual diversity that in their eyes, is not more than a case of choice and such choice is wrong. What a?
bisexual and transgender were included in the gay and lesbian advocacy and activism movement because bisexuals felt excluded from the fight because they are troubled by being singled out as only gay when they are not. They just happen to be gender unbiased. A case of anima-animus integration. Transgender people were included as well because the need to include them in the fight towards achieving non-discrimination towards them and doing so separately would add to the cost and possible gains of the gay and lesbian efforts. An interesting trivia fact in this regard is that gay and lesbians disapproved of the inclusion of transgender people and transgender people did the same because they do not recognize their “issue” as a sexual preference issue. Both showed antagonism towards the integration of fighting discrimination jointly. However, practical matters left no other alternative. Still, transgender people and gay and lesbian reject this fact. But now we are facing the inclusion of queer and cisgender people into our acronym. We are diluting it by doing so. And what is the true reason for that? Whatever fight is carried out by the existing advocacy and activism organizations will benefit everyone that is discriminated. Does having a specific wording on the legislative have an impact on any possible passed law? I don’t believe that could be the case but what can be is that the addition of queer may stir the existing efforts and pending legislation. That was a serious problem not long ago when activist organizations refused the exclusion of transgender people in their working legislative momentum. This delayed the process until finally transgender was included. But that case made sense since what is at stake is another layer of diversity that didn’t necessarily fit into gay and lesbian and its character differed with the case. But adding another letter to the acronym will create another can of worms. OK, I give away this case since at this particular point advocacy organizations are not including the Q, yet! But the acronym is proliferating across the board and we see queer and cisgender people demanding to be part of the acronym.
Let me rephrase my case once more: The true issue is about a group in our American diversity that has suffered and is suffering the results of discrimination and the denial of civil rights that every single person in our country deserves, the very same rights that any American is granted but LGBT do not have because we are different! That discrimination and denial should be removed for good. How we live our lives, what partner we choose, what we do in our beds, how we dress, etc, are things that do not belong to anyone else but the with-holder! It is not that LGBT people are advocating against those that are different from us to receive such denial! We are talking about bigotry, an unlawful action; ostracism is an inhuman act, all the bad things that arise from a lack of understanding of the true nature of human diversity. Those human components cannot be tailored at will! And much less so because others leave us no other option. Jews were hiding during the Inquisition times in Europe during the 17th century, otherwise they would have a horrendous pile of dead in a fire! Many were killed that horrendous way. Those times are way over! So why do we need to be closeted so we can live a “normal” and safe life according to others?
I am not suggesting to change our umbrella name or what it does. All I am doing, at least trying is to encourage thinking, acquisition of sound education, scrutiny of our inner and outer selves, so we look at what is and is not, instead of going with the flow and complying with what doesn’t work? A few long-time supporters of HRC had told me they no longer do that. They stopped trusting HRC because of too many reasons to state here, but on top of all, because they are not doing much in regards and behalf of transgender people. The last group added to the acronym. This is true, in some regards, because in the past HRC has changed their position in regards of the language to be used in their activism and in a few times, compromised the transgender community. A lot of HRC supporters have dropped their donations.
HRC was aimed since day one towards the benefit of gay and lesbian people and later included the rest. In terms of the language used in civil rights legislation, inclusion makes total sense but it seems a bad mistake in the acronym because adding more letters to the acronym feeds more to the fire in the main-street world and makes that world disregard us even more. This is not an assumption of mine but the result of an investigation I’ve conducted for several years with people I don’t know.
At this point, the attempt to add a Q at the end of the existing acronym is not a bright idea. It is not that we, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people do not support them, but once again, what’s the point? As far as I know, we are all behind support of diversity of all kinds. But more importantly, we should not be advocating for something that doesn’t belong to the approval of others but that can be used against our cause. Our cause is about fighting the basic anti-constitutional violations that affect many of the rights and decisions that we “different people” are forced to make, because being a minority of minorities we cannot easily fight against a much larger crowd, especially if we are to rely on referendums which as well are a fragrant violation to our rights but come disguised with a mask of democracy. For starters, the cornerstone of democracy is the right to a free-living and choices for everyone. That before any “democratic” move to halt those rights in any minority and simply because they do not approve. It is not their right to choose how others may life their life nor what rights should be granted! Legislative, executive and judicial branches have no right to halt any of those rights! Unless there is an amendment to our constitution that derails the intentions of the founding rights that have made this nation what it is and the same nation that every single lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and anyone you drop into this list – contributes every single day of his and her existence. New Jersey legislated approval of same gender marriage but there is a referendum coming up. Watch out!
The very same way that either – we admit, accept, support or not any civil rights, are part of our built-on feminine and masculine traits. And again, what we do with it is no ones business. Whether we want to benefit and grow with our anima-animus or not, is not more than a personal right that no one has the right to say yes or not. But we all have the responsibility of exploring it and the only possible way of doing so is by educating our selves before acting and talking. And all this is happening because most people are troubled with their lack of understanding and knowledge about what animal sexuality is about. Worse, they tend to forget that we humans, have the ability to discern about everything, therefore figure what is and not and that has nothing to do with what we personally choose in life. It is what it is, period!
Voilà, as the French say.