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Thread: The They

  1. #1
    Member TinaMc's Avatar
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    The They

    Something I read recently about some existentialist philosophy that I thought applies to CDing and how we can be reluctant to express ourselves/be ourselves fully. It is Heidegger's concept of Das Man, roughly translated to The They.
    The way I understood it was that we live our lives with a kind of existential anxiety, and to help deal with the anxiety we create this construct of The They, which is kind of "the muggles" or "the general public" I guess. The unwashed masses, all of those people who aren't us. They aren't really anyone, but they are everyone else... Well, we create The They, and then we tend to follow their dictate, we do what we think they would like us to do, and live how we think they want us to live. We've created them though, they only exist in our heads. It helps us to reduce the anxiety we feel by giving us some structure to live by, but it ends up turning us into conformists, doing things that we don't necessarily want to do but motivated by The They's opinion.
    The follow on being that because we created them, it is only us who are creating the limits that we feel are "imposed by society" on us.
    Unfortunately, this makes most of us live in ways that are not authentic, we just go with what we think they want us to do, and we do that all of our lives. Sometimes people might have an existential crisis where this lack of authenticity is felt strongly and the person is motivated to do something about it (i.e., maybe a mid life crisis).
    Anyway, just an idea I read that I wanted to share, I thought it was quite relevant to people who might be struggling with what we think others might think of our whole thing...
    And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom - Anais Nin

  2. #2
    Gold Member NicoleScott's Avatar
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    OK, now you're TRYING to pull a brain muscle.

  3. #3
    Member TinaMc's Avatar
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    Haha, I think I need to get out more.
    And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom - Anais Nin

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    Call me Pam pamela7's Avatar
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    you're right Tina,
    I've used process questions for many years to help people clear out such beliefs using questions like "and how else could they be thinking/feeling about ...?"

    xxx Pamela
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJFyz73MRcg
    I used to believe this, now I'm in the company of many tiggers. A tigger does not wonder why she is a tigger, she just is a tigger.

    thanks to krististeph: tigger = TG'er .. T-I-GG-er

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    Lisa Allisa's Avatar
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    I like to refer to it as the 50's,60's mentality. You know before the internet that brought the world much closer together and opening eyes to the vast diversity of life and life styles. I could get political and philosophical but that would get me in trouble with the mods, which has happened before.
    "you are a strange species and there are many out there;shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you ,you are at your best when things are at their worst" ...[ Starman]
    It may of course be a bit disturbing to sense that one is really not so firmly anchored to the gender one was born into.

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    But The They is a construct for everyone, not just cross dressers or trans people. So, 100% of people on earth have to deal with The They or "society" so it's all equal. I think what anyone has to decide is, do I care that much about what They think. If you can be comfortable knowing that what you do is outside the construct of The They, and still do it, it's quite liberating.

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    Gold Member Dana44's Avatar
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    Yesterday, I was in girl shorts and a nice button down female shirt and lady tennis shoes. Went to Walmart and got a few items. I don't think anybody looked at me strangely or did not catch any whispers about me. Frankly, I don't care. So, the they don't quite affect me badly. I think it is more of enjoyment that we can be what we want to be.
    Part Time Girl

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    Aspiring Member Amy07's Avatar
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    great for you mexico dar
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    here for quiet chat and cam... really america
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    Last edited by Lorileah; 03-15-2016 at 02:26 PM. Reason: no need to quote post above yours
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    Member Kevyn53's Avatar
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    My sister-in-law once said, What others think of you is none of your business. What she didn't say is that what we think they're thinking is probably wrong. Most people don't even noticed others around them.

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    OK Tina, you're posts are reminding me of one of mine on 'The Block Universe Theory' and the non-existence of time where I pondered the thought that I'm ALREADY a woman...somewhere in 4D space. Made a few sprain a brain muscle too 😉

    Speaking to your OP though, I'm lucky to live in a free, liberal country and for the most part an accepting community...I don't have much fear of being assaulted (god help the fool who tries 😂 ) and I tend to agree with your point, our anxiety is often self imposed!

  11. #11
    stone free mykell's Avatar
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    yes you made me pull my brain muscle,

    interesting philosophy, i have to agree with jenn on this being something for all, though i would add that its affect on say the CDer or trans person is to a higher degree in the eye of "the they". to them if one were to admit to engage in masturbation "the they" would perhaps be more empathetic, but add CDing to it and "the they" will be disgusted by the act.

    now look at "the they" when one say adds a charitable deduction on the tax form one submits and "the they" might respond meeh. no biggie.

    so "the they" wields more impact as it pertains to the act that "the individual" perceives "the they" will respond by theyre action/concern/guilt ....yes
    ....Mykell
    i dressed like a girl and i liked it! crossdressing...theirs an app for that those who deny freedom deserve it not for themselves
    NOBODY gets a pass to blow out someone else's candle in order to make theyre's shine brighter

  12. #12
    Weirdest woman ever! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    One of the first things I learned from my first therapist was this:

    "If u want to know what people r thinking? Ask them! Because if u really care and u guess, you'll be wrong nearly every time!"
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Diversity's Avatar
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    Hi Tina,
    Thanks for sharing this. Conceptionally, I can appreciate this level of thought, but one thing stands in the way for me. It is that of the feelings others and myself have that affect the love we feel.
    While I could easily feel free to cross dress anywhere and at anytime should I adopt the The They theory, it would definitely be wrong to me to do do, should it affect the love and the understanding between my wife and our families. If love, understanding, respect, and trust were not factors in The They theory, then all would seem to work in harmony. But love influences us all and can cause real hurt and while we can be cold and un-caring as we go about our TheThey lives, it is really love that gives us the joy we all need to feel as human beings. As such the The They will not work for me. Nice in theory, but not practical in practice.
    My opinion, but I love the brain stretching exercise you gave to me!😄
    Thank you!
    Di

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    Another interesting topic. When I am out shopping, in drab, I never really pay much attention to anyone around me. That goes for both men and women. They all pretty much dress the same anyway. Unless someone is acting strange, or a pretty woman in a short dress is nearby, I just never notice anyone else. I think most other people act the same way, IMO.

  15. #15
    Member TinaMc's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's what I was getting at really, that you should just go out and do it, be yourself, feel free. You shouldn't let what other people (or what you think other people) think stop you. If that is stopping you from doing it then maybe look within - it's almost certainly you that's stopping yourself (or at least, the They that you have created).
    There are other strands of existentialism that are really applicable to CDing and transgender issues, it's truly an interesting and positive branch of philosophy, particularly to those who are at the outskirts of society's norms...
    And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom - Anais Nin

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    My opinion is that while I agree with you that a great deal of this is in our heads, that's actually the point, and that "the they" do in fact exist, and reinforce those ideas in your head by way of abusive behavior of various sorts.

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    Senior Member Nikkilovesdresses's Avatar
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    Isn't that group instinct, that 'existential anxiety' part of a general survival instinct? If everyone did what ever came into their heads without thought of others wouldn't that be chaos? I certainly don't want to live in a world of chaos, and I wouldn't rate a crossdresser's chances of survival very highly in a world of chaos- civilization is a thin enough veneer as it is.

    Children learn coping skills very quickly, and for good reason. Blending in reduces the chances of being rejected, shunned, and ultimately starving... though nowadays ostracism or a beating are probably the main worries.

    So yes, we create our own limits, but those who reject the group's limits completely are in for a very rough ride.
    I used to have a short attention spa

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    Aspiring Member AnnieMac's Avatar
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    There is no they, just we. We live in this universe together and the more we think that way the better human life becomes, and the less we think about building walls that Mexico has to pay for.

  19. #19
    Member Secret Drawer's Avatar
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    Existential anxiety stems from the moment one comes to understand that there is nothing else or anything else pulling strings or keeping tabs on you. That anything you do or decide is completely up to you. It causes existential crises when, for example, a person who "wished" to publicly crossdress their entire life but felt constrained by those invisible outside sources, such as the OP's "the they," or even a God of some sort, comes to realize that they stopped themselves and now have missed out on a lifetime of opportunities.
    None the less!!! There are social and sometimes physical limitations to consider, even if you are running your own show. You still have to answer to law, family, community standards, etc. This is the part where existential "authentic" and "inauthentic" living comes to play. To live an "authentic" life one needs to come to terms with this balance, to weigh the likely outcomes and issues surrounding an action, and get as close to your own authentic choice as possible.

  20. #20
    Silver Member Tina_gm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinaMc View Post
    Yeah, that's what I was getting at really, that you should just go out and do it, be yourself, feel free. You shouldn't let what other people (or what you think other people) think stop you. If that is stopping you from doing it then maybe look within - it's almost certainly you that's stopping yourself (or at least, the They that you have created).
    There are other strands of existentialism that are really applicable to CDing and transgender issues, it's truly an interesting and positive branch of philosophy, particularly to those who are at the outskirts of society's norms...
    If I was 19 years old today, I would gladly take this advice and set my life up in a way where I had no expectations to be anything other than what I am.... I wish now I had done that, but I didn't.

    For the many of us on this board, who are at or approaching middle age... kids, wives, careers, community obligations... this is not necessarily the best advice.

    Now- I am not saying don't. I really am not advocating to not live a life which is not authentic. I am saying though that "the they" is real, to an extent. For the many of us who have spent decades hiding in the shadows, to read this advice and think, y'know, all will be fine, the fears are really all in my head.... will likely get a harsh awakening. Even if a majority of the people are not horribly obsessed about the change... if you have lived a life where no one knows, and suddenly you (the CDer) decide it is time to break free and do whatever you want whenever you want wherever you want, there will be consequences if you have those things I mentioned above.

    Your wife, if she even knows, is probably struggling, more than she lets on. Your kids as well, if they know. And if they don't, the thought of their dad presenting as a woman will likely be a shock to them, and that shock will be magnified greatly should you then just up and make yourself available to the world to see whenever however wherever. They will not only have to deal with their own internal issues, but the outside issues from friends and other family members as well.

    Speaking of friends and co-workers and other family members. You will likely cause a divide. Many who have known you all their life may also feel a sense of betrayal, as they were never let in on your secret, until you decide one day to share it to the world.

    What I am really saying is, be careful. It is not the general public's attitude if you walk by in a dress that is the issue here. 30 or more years ago that probably would have been a bigger issue too, but it is your inner circle which we need to be mindful of.

    IF- your really feel it is time to let the world know about you, please at least prepare your inner circle 1st. Let them know what changes you will be making, before they hear about it, even nonchalantly from "the they." Let those who have been a big part of your life for most or all of your life be aware and ready for the new you. You kind of owe it to these people, if they have been with you and supported you through hard times, as well as the best times.Be ready to take it slow with the family, the wife, kids and others. Be ready to compromise.... Maybe at the most important times of your kids lives, say their graduation from HS, or college. Their big starring roll in a play, the big game.... Maybe they would prefer that time to be about them, and not about you.

    I say this for those NOT making a life transition. Because they will still have the dad they were raised by in the end. Your wife will still have the husband she married.... Sometimes we need to remember that they come 1st.
    Last edited by Tina_gm; 03-15-2016 at 11:16 AM.
    Chickens should be allowed to cross the road without having their motives questioned

  21. #21
    Silver Member Amy Lynn3's Avatar
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    Tina, now you did it. My head is sideways now. You know what ? I agree with what you said and I put it in a few different words to a lady friend of mine, just the other day. I think that THE THAT could explain why some children are labeled as being ADHD or OCD and the like disorders.

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