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

I’m a man “in real life,” however I’ve at all times 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 favor it? —Gender Player

Dear Player,

It seems like you may have lots of people in your life, Player, who suppose they know you higher than you recognize your self. I received’t faux to have perception into your deepest self, however I can supply some methods of fascinated about your selection:

  1. Fantasy and fiction supply an escape hatch out of your standard viewpoint and allow you to discover views totally different from your individual. 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 girl (or a “creep”). The pioneers of the web hoped that digital areas would liberate us from our strange lives, permitting us to experiment with assumed identities behind the veil of anonymity. That’s actually not the utopia we ended up with (as an alternative, we’re typically sorted into inflexible containers by prediction engines and focused adverts). But video video games nonetheless maintain the promise of the masquerade ball, a spot the place you’ll be able to 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 typically reveal deeper longings, particularly these the acutely aware thoughts has refused to entertain. If you’re feeling an awesome sense of euphoria whereas taking part in a feminine character or end up fantasizing about being the avatar in actual life, then possibly your folks are proper and there’s one thing deeper happening.
  3. Gender itself, it’s typically mentioned, is a “script,” a sort 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 elements of your self that you just’ve felt compelled to repress in strange life—not an indication that you just’re dwelling within the incorrect physique, essentially, simply proof that your mode of gender expression has grow to be too slender. An “avatar,” in its authentic sense, refers back to the a number of kinds/genders {that a} deity can take. The characters you select is likely to be an acknowledgment of your individual 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 concern of hypocrisy—however I don’t suppose that’s the suitable 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 rework a vice right into a impartial selection (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 concern is extra delicate and insidious. Maybe the thought of consuming lab meat strikes you as a foul cut price, like permitting your self to bathe verbal abuse on a chatbot. The technical incontrovertible fact that it’s “not harming anyone” shouldn’t cease you from feeling queasy about your motives and the suggestion of delinquent needs that had been in all probability higher off repressed. As I’m certain you recognize, Chicken, it’s doable to push the Frankenmeat thought experiment into darker territory. Would you eat lab-grown human flesh? Would you eat meat grown from your individual 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 really believed your particular person actions would change the world, however since you appreciated the thought of being the sort of one that was prepared to do troublesome 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 laborious issues for the sake of ethical consistency. If you focus solely on the outcomes of your actions, you’ll find yourself always attempting to find moral loopholes that come on the value of your soul. Virtue, even when arbitrary and pointless, has rewards of its personal.

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

I believe you’re proper to doubt, Thomas. Your namesake, the apostle, refused to imagine within the miracle of resurrection till he noticed proof along with his personal eyes. But what sort of laborious 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, will be exploited to show mainly something. It’s simple to really feel like one thing has been misplaced, that our religion in consensus actuality—or any sort of actuality—is on the decline.