Thursday, 23 April 2009


I identify as myself. I don't, on the whole, identify as something, be that a nationality, gender, sex, religion or something else.

I am a woman. I am Finnish. I am female. I am Christian. I don't prefer to be identified as any of those - it's not about my preferences, it's about who I am, almost to the point of whether I like it or not. Identifying carries the meaning of someone - that would be me - doing the identifying. But I don't do it. I just am, there's no doing in my being. They're different for me.

I cycle to work occasionally - I don't identify as a cyclist. Cycling to work doesn't define me, not for myself anyway. It may, of course, prompt other people (or even me) to see me as a cyclist, or it may not, but it's not me doing the identifying for the most part.

In fact, identifying oneself as something has this faint air of deception in my ears - the logic being that if you have to identify as something, it seems almost as if it needs extra work, and that identification doesn't really flow from you like apples from an apple tree. Identifying as something has also a bit of an effort to it - and that kind of an effort is something I leave undone with extra pleasure: can't be arsed, kthxbai.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, some people like to think I identify as something - they like to think I am doing my being. I know, it won't change me, and I don't, on the whole, mind it much - I've lost hope on most people understanding things anyway, but I do like to point out that it's kinda silly to impute motives on other people (that is, yours truly) - it's much better if you ask, and don't get defensive if you don't get the answer you were expecting. And please, pretty please don't try to shoehorn the answer you may get into some standard formula of yours - please give it a fair consideration, and don't be too quick to judge what does, and what does not, exist.


  1. Thanks for this post, as it sums up how I've felt for a long while about this stuff. I don't 'identify' as a woman, as trans, as a feminist, or whatever, it's merely a state of my 'being' - who I am. Whilst I can understand the growth in 'identity politics' as a way of collectively organising and representing, I do think at times that it is also used by others as a means to divide and seperate when they so desire.

    I also don't think it's really purely about 'cissexism', as I think those of within certain 'collectiveness' are actually just as bad for constantly the re-ifying the whole 'i identify as'.

  2. Thank you!

    Yeah, it's not about any particular -ism or identity: it's more about labels and identities being used as means of control. For example, whenever people remind me of my being a Christian, more often than not they do it with a "But how can you, as a Christian, think/do/be that?", and then I patiently (or not) try to remind them that I am not the label - the label doesn't restrict me in any particular way from the outside. It's just convenient shorthand for the fact that I do belong to a church, pray, go to Mass and try to be a decent woman. It describes me, it doesn't prescribe me. Labels are useful as descriptors.