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 individuals say this implies I’m both secretly homosexual/trans or a complete creep. Am I allowed to simply want it? —Gender Player

Dear Player,

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

  1. Fantasy and fiction supply an escape hatch out of your standard 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 by way of 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 atypical lives, permitting us to experiment with assumed identities behind the veil of anonymity. That’s actually not the utopia we ended up with (as a substitute, we’re usually sorted into inflexible containers by prediction engines and focused advertisements). But video video games nonetheless maintain the promise of the masquerade ball, a spot the place you possibly can 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 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 mates are proper and there’s one thing deeper occurring.
  3. Gender itself, it’s usually stated, is a “script,” a type of efficiency that’s socially bolstered to make individuals all throughout the gender spectrum conform to the usual binary. Choosing a feminine character may merely be an acknowledgment of elements of your self that you just’ve felt compelled to repress in atypical life—not an indication that you just’re residing within the mistaken physique, essentially, simply proof that your mode of gender expression has grow to be too slim. An “avatar,” in its unique sense, refers back to the a number of varieties/genders {that a} deity can take. The characters you select is likely to be 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 concept 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 consider the hype, guarantees to be each humane and sustainable. Like many technological options that remodel a vice right into a impartial alternative (clear power, 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 joyful cows and eat them, too.

The hypocrisy you concern is extra refined and insidious. Maybe the concept of consuming lab meat strikes you as a nasty discount, like permitting your self to bathe verbal abuse on a chatbot. The technical proven fact that it’s “not harming anyone” shouldn’t cease you from feeling queasy about your motives and the suggestion of delinquent wishes that had been most likely higher off repressed. As I’m positive you realize, 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 positive, 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 favored the concept of being the type of one who was prepared to do tough issues and make sacrifices for larger 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 arduous issues for the sake of ethical consistency. If you focus completely on the outcomes of your actions, you’ll find yourself continually trying to find 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 faux just about something, I simply assume every little thing I see or learn on a display screen is faux till confirmed actual. Is that cheap or cynical? —Doubting Thomas

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