Humans mostly look different from eachother.
So, take all the ways people can look different from eachother, such that you’d notice, and name each of them as dimension, and assemble those dimesions into human appearance space. We humans aren’t spread out uniformly across that space, there’re clusters and empty patches, and we can, perhaps, name those clusters different things.
There are two kinds of dimensions in that space though, innate dimensions are things that most people have little control over1, whereas presentation dimensions are more intentionally changable.
so, you know how i want to see people as people more than as members of genders… it’s not so much that i want to derive no information from appearance, because there is a correlation there,more that i interpret apperiance as too strongly correlated with other things. forgetting gender for the moment, i have a cetegory in my automatic mind of people that look interesting, which is presumably modeled on the poeple i’ve enjoyed sharing with in the past, and is mostly a product circumstance, and in practice doesn’t have sufficient negitives, i haven’t bene around enough people that i don’t enjoy to know the selection based on interesting people is any better than some other selection. yet that filter has a huge impart on my social life - i more or less don’t initiate anything with other folks. and yet, the people who approach me who don’t ‘look interesting’ are pretty interesting. so a parallel practice to the gender stuff might be to stop sorting based on whether someone looks interesting or not. the whole point is something like moving from “this person looks like this and so they have this experience” to “this person looks like this and so they are a touch more likely to have this experience and i wonder what their experience is like right now”. yet the first step seems to be in breaking down categories, because they are measuring the wrong thing. something along the lines of…
you have this many-dimensional space of the things that actually matter, and pople are scattered all over that space, though not uniformly, so you can see some clusters and name them things, perhaps as a gender group, but these clusters are not neat little points, or hyper spheres, or n dimensional gausians, rather they’re blobs with complicated shape and inner structure. more nebulas than clusters. and then you have this point (hopefully) in that nebula, often not really near the center, and the distance from that point gets called femininity or masculinity, or interestingness.
and then! you have this whole other space that is made up of appearance, and that has it’s own blobs that carry suspeciously similar names to the things that matter space, with their own arbitrary prototypical points and distances, and it’s very simple to draw arrows between all the similarly named blobs call it a hueristic.
and there is a feedback loop between the two out in the real world, people find others treat them differently based on their appearance, and some change how they look to mark how they want to be treated. kinda.
This becomes ‘take little control over’ as technology progresses. ↩︎