Choose an identity, then perform it

I am not sure I fully understand identity transformations or, if you will, identity impersonations.

Sheila Jeffreys. Source: Twitter.
Sheila Jeffreys. Source: Twitter.
Phyllis Chesler
Phyllis Chesler
Phyllis Chesler is an emerita professor of psychology and women’s studies at the City University of New York (CUNY).

We live in the age of identity politics and identity fraud. Identity is now all about one’s visible race, religion/ethnicity and gender, not about one’s work, ideas, or opinions.

Risking being dis-invited yet again, please allow me to point out that both men and women are proudly, defiantly, bravely, dangerously, adopting all the outward signs of the opposite (or of another) sex. As Sheila Jeffreys writes, men are donning “woman-face,” either as drag performers or as surgically and chemically enhanced trans-women, while an increasing number of teenage girls are surgically removing their breasts and taking hormones to lower their voices, bulk up and avoid menstruation.

If you challenge or even mildly question any of this (perhaps dare to raise the issue of the potential harm done to children or note the sorrows of those who de-transition), you will be defamed, harassed and will not get published. Worse: A deceased author, like Roald Dahl, will have no control over the politically correct linguistic changes to which his children’s books are now being subjected, long after he first published these works. Soon, there will be book burnings.

Today, we have people everywhere who believe with all their hearts that a country called Palestine has always existed; and that a country called Israel is a white, European, colonial, usurper and occupier. Just because history, archaeology, anthropology, theology, genetics and international law tell us this isn’t so—dare to point out that this particular Emperor is stark raving naked, and you will lose tenure, funding and your friends. And you definitely won’t get published. The identity of Palestine is a sacred symbol, the most important identity of all. Take up its cause and your academic career is assured.

This is a narrative that is meant to trump facts, overturn them, invade them, drown them out and prevail as a “revolutionary” mob action against history and reality.

My writing this is in no way meant to humiliate, endanger or discount those Arabs who live in the sovereign State of Israel or who live in any other Middle Eastern state or in the West. Many identify as Jordanians, Egyptians, Syrians and Iraqis. The issue of national sovereignty, pandemic Jew-hatred, Arab-on-Arab discrimination and refusal to absorb Arabs in exile, and Islamist terrorism are other burning issues.

What is one to make of New York Rep. George Santos, who has lied, lied, lied to get himself elected, and who has claimed to have done things he’s never done? Is this identity fraud? Is it the familiar work of a con artist/sociopath who says whatever will impress others to help him get whatever it is he wants?

It’s shades of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who said she was black and who represented the NAACP in the state of Washington. We also have one Martina Big, a white German blonde model, who has tanned her face black, says she is black, plans to live in Africa and give birth to black children. Big is planning plastic surgery to enlarge her too-narrow white nose as well as her buttocks. She has already enhanced her breasts to an unbelievable, unsightly size “S.”

And now for a really major sigh of my own. What in God’s name has Raquel Evita Saraswati, a charismatic woman, done? She has just gone up in flames. And why? Apparently, allegedly, she’s been bronzing her white skin, wearing heavy makeup, a super fashionable hijab, lots of bling—and finding work based not on her excellent verbal or intellectual skills, but rather, based on the fact that she presents as a lesbian/queer, religious, Muslim woman? That ticks at least four boxes for those concerned with diversity.

I am not sure I fully understand such identity transformations or, if you will, such identity impersonations.

Identities are being performed right before our eyes—the world is quite a stage—and we, who cherish the past, are nobodies. Those with inner lives need no longer apply for the jobs. For our part, “the rest is silence.”

Phyllis Chesler is an emerita professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the author of 20 books, including “Women and Madness,” and “A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killings.” She is a Senior IPT Fellow, and a Fellow at MEF and ISGAP.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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