I’m a Boy. Does Playing Female Characters in Video Games Make Me Gay?

I’m a man “in real life,” however I’ve all the time performed feminine characters in video video games. More and extra folks say this implies I’m both secretly homosexual/trans or a complete creep. Am I allowed to only choose it? —Gender Player

Dear Player,

It feels like you have got lots of people in your life, Player, who suppose they know you higher than your self. I gained’t faux to have perception into your deepest self, however I can provide some methods of interested by your alternative:

  1. Fantasy and fiction provide an escape hatch out of your regular standpoint and allow you to discover views totally different from your personal. Choosing a droid as your avatar doesn’t imply you’re a robotic deep down. Reading a novel that portrays the world via the eyes of a feminine narrator doesn’t imply you’re secretly a lady (or a “creep”). The pioneers of the web hoped that digital areas would liberate us from our peculiar lives, permitting us to experiment with assumed identities behind the veil of anonymity. That’s definitely not the utopia we ended up with (as an alternative, we’re typically sorted into inflexible bins by prediction engines and focused adverts). But video video games nonetheless maintain the promise of the masquerade ball, a spot the place you may don a fancy dress, obtain a brand new pores and skin, and faux for a short time to be another person.
  2. Play-acting and role-playing, in fact, can generally reveal deeper longings, particularly these the aware thoughts has refused to entertain. If you are feeling an amazing sense of euphoria whereas enjoying a feminine character or end up fantasizing about being the avatar in actual life, then perhaps your pals are proper and there’s one thing deeper occurring.
  3. Gender itself, it’s typically stated, is a “script,” a form of efficiency that’s socially bolstered to make folks all throughout the gender spectrum conform to the usual binary. Choosing a feminine character would possibly merely be an acknowledgment of components of your self that you simply’ve felt compelled to repress in peculiar life—not an indication that you simply’re dwelling within the fallacious physique, essentially, simply proof that your mode of gender expression has develop into too slender. An “avatar,” in its unique sense, refers back to the a number of kinds/genders {that a} deity can take. The characters you select is perhaps an acknowledgment of your personal plurality, an try to incarnate simply one of many multitudes inside you.

I’m a vegetarian, however I’d eat lab-grown meat. Does that make me a hypocrite? —Chicken Little

Seeing as you’re not grossed out by the thought of meat grown “in a peach tree dish,” as Marjorie Taylor Greene put it, I assume your vegetarianism is ethically or religiously motivated. Hence the worry of hypocrisy—however I don’t suppose that’s the correct phrase, precisely, for what you’re feeling. A hypocrite is somebody who claims ethical requirements that their habits flatly contradicts, and lab meat, if we’re to imagine the hype, guarantees to be each humane and sustainable. Like many technological options that remodel a vice right into a impartial alternative (clear vitality, NA beer), it cancels out the ethical calculus and relieves us of the obligation to make sacrifices for a greater world, or a greater self. You can have your glad cows and eat them, too.

The hypocrisy you worry is extra delicate and insidious. Maybe the thought of consuming lab meat strikes you as a nasty discount, like permitting your self to bathe verbal abuse on a chatbot. The technical undeniable fact that it’s “not harming anyone” shouldn’t cease you from feeling queasy about your motives and the suggestion of delinquent needs that have been in all probability higher off repressed. As I’m certain , Chicken, it’s potential to push the Frankenmeat thought experiment into darker territory. Would you eat lab-grown human flesh? Would you eat meat grown from your personal cells, or from these of a child?

If you’re involved with solely the sensible penalties of your actions, then certain, you’re not betraying any of your values. What you are betraying is a sure thought of your self. I think about you turned a vegetarian not since you actually believed your particular person actions would change the world, however since you appreciated the thought of being the form of one who was prepared to do tough issues and make sacrifices for greater beliefs. Perhaps abstention made the gauntlet of senseless client decisions really feel a tad extra significant. Maybe it made you extra prepared to do different exhausting issues for the sake of ethical consistency. If you focus completely on the outcomes of your actions, you’ll find yourself continually looking for moral loopholes that come on the worth of your soul. Virtue, even when arbitrary and pointless, has rewards of its personal.

Now that AI can pretend just about something, I simply assume all the things I see or learn on a display screen is pretend till confirmed actual. Is that affordable or cynical? —Doubting Thomas

I feel you’re proper to doubt, Thomas. Your namesake, the apostle, refused to imagine within the miracle of resurrection till he noticed proof together with his personal eyes. But what sort of exhausting proof, if any, can persuade us of something within the Year of Our Lord 2024? Photos lie, machines hallucinate. The social sciences can’t replicate their most basic experiments. Data evaluation, at a sure scale, could be exploited to show mainly something. It’s straightforward to really feel like one thing has been misplaced, that our religion in consensus actuality—or any form of actuality—is on the decline.