67 Comments
Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

THIS is why I was completely blind-sided, shocked, and sickened/disgusted when the ADULTS in authority around my young teen daughter (then 13 1/2 and during lockdown)—in her case her pediatrician—were so caught up in the “cause” and “being kind” that the pediatrician went in lockstep with the touted way of “affirming” these kids.

THEN, fairly predictably, my then 12 year old daughter, the little sister of my above mentioned other daughter (who also had gotten anorexic after an awful comment from another child when she at then 10 years-old had returned to school after the lockdown more heavy set and having started her period—they said “you look like you swallowed a basketball!”) was “celebrated” and “affirmed” by her woke psychologist for “coming out” (as trans).

My girls were figuring out their identity!! Amongst a weird cultural contagion that ADULTS in authority (including schools and teachers) were sanctioning. Then gaslighting and threatening us as parents!

I will say that thanks in very, very large part to the continuing work of dissecting, analyzing, and publicizing these truths you speak here, Eliza, my older girl, now 16 (*and* her cluster of also contagioned girls in her friend-group) is beginning to come out of this contagion. And, still with many prayers, her little sister may too though she’s 13 now and still stuck in her phone a lot (social media). But maybe even social media is now having a “tide is turning” moment?

Every now and then I catch myself at moments thinking “I wonder if the pediatrician and the psychologist would like to apologize to us parents now?” (And the damn schools/woke creepy teachers, etc.—I actually think the kids now are like, “ew, stay outta my personal business” 🤮. My girls (and it’s almost animal instinct in a lot of people) can sense an overly interested, bad actor in their lives—ONCE they are old enough/have matured enough. With the younger ones, it’s pure grooming.

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Why don't you take the phones away? The reason for this entire thing is phones.

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Take the smartphones away and replace them by dumbphones. AFTER first forming a parents' group that will ALL do this -- so that none of their kids feels unfairly victimised because their friends still have smartphones.

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Hopefully some other parents will chime in with their current experiences of teens and phones. It’s a balance at this point. Per your other comment below, fortunately my girls are also finding marching band, Scouts, XC, and warm conversations with family. I subscribe to John Haidt’s After Babel substack also and am dearly hopeful that our whole world with kids/teens and phones will be better able to manage this conundrum. The issue has been before congress (regarding social media), and class action lawsuits are happening. When your kids are considered sensitive and intelligent, the “tool” of the phone lends itself to many wonderful things in this day and age as well as not wonderful things. And my girls are so freaking whip-smart, and kind and generous and loving, that like all of us as we ourselves have had to navigate our own teen years, will have to figure some stuff out on their own (and my older daughter is—cuz her forebrain is coming more online). So that’s a bit of a winding answer, George, but the “taking away the phones” part has also been under discussion, for sure.

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My daughter has a small baby, now 2 3/4. To ensure that her phone behavior would not negatively affect the baby, she down-graded her phone to a dumb phone. It makes calls, allows texting, and has a few other functions. It does not access the internet. This kind of phone allows communications without addiction.

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To whom you are attracted sexually is purely subjective and therefore cannot reasonably be contested by an outside observer. Where you decide to live your life on a spectrum of superficial, stereotypical male to female attributes (and we all do) is also purely subjective and similarly cannot be questioned. However, your biological sex reflects an objective reality which cannot be changed by your subjective personal view and futile attempts to do so can result in serious health impacts to you as well as actual harms to members of the sex you are impersonating (especially women). Finally, others who are grounded in objective reality should never be forced to accept your subjective version of your actual biological sex.

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If only it were mostly the phones... We adults need to be better role models for youngsters. for a start. IMO it's the broader culture overall (the US at least) that's harming more than just these girls. But I agree, good place to start is the phones. Sorry to sound like a know it all, I am not one, wish I did know it all. Thank you, Eliza, for this excellent, passionate, and beautifully written article. ❤️👍

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Phones are toxic to the environment and will have to be abandoned on that basis alone (75% insect decline, mass bird die offs, millions of people now chronically ill and unable to live near to wireless technology). Wireless is not a viable technology and it is just another one of those hugely profitable mistakes that we are not allowed to discuss.

But you are right it's a lot more than phones. A lot of trans identified young women seem to want a sense of agency, importance and importance in society. They don't want to be 'just' women (just a sex object). We have a century of feminism to thank for the complete erasure of womanhood as a unique and valued role and identity. To be a mother is apparently demeaning and worthless - and the task of raising children is so trivial that it can (and should) be outsourced to minimum waged strangers every day so that the mother can pursue a more masculine career and lifestyle. A trans identity is just taking feminism to its logical conclusion.

In the west there is no longer any sense that women have anything unique and valuable (ie necessary) to contribute to society as women. And to impose any social responsibility onto women (such as the responsibility to raise your own children and keep them protected from radical ideologies like feminism, as taught in state schools and Hollywood movies) is seen as the oppression of women. Women should have no social obligations, no unique role as women and no limits imposed on their indulgences, neuroticism, consumerism, vanity or narcissism. Women are just consumers of fashion, indulgers in 'lifestyles' and oversized children who lack any agency and must have men cater to them (he for she).

Women are royalty, and being a princess is a miserable existence. What these young women seem to crave is a sense of purpose, agency and 'grit'. Something all pre-feminist women experienced as they fulfilled their uniquely female roles (which was hard graft!) and only 'played dress up' for special occasions (weddings, festivals etc).

Today such a gritty, down to earth, pragmatic lifestyle and identity is only available to men. Men act..... while women are 'acted upon'. This is what these young women seem to want - a sense of agency. And rather than re-establish womanhood as a bona fide gender role (and social obligation) it is being sold to them (as consumers) in the form of 'T' and binders and plaid shirts.

I know a lot of 'gender critics' are feminists. But to me feminism is the root of all of this. Until we confront this I don't think we can help these young people understand why they are drawn to a trans identity.

Forgive rant. Once I start I can't shut up... :)

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Feminism to blame for this utter nonsense? The mention of "state schools" sounds like an extreme right wing rant to me; one of the reasons I loathe conservatism is the fire hose anti-intellectualism ("poisoned by the humanities" "atheist indoctrination" and so forth). I don't forgive anyone who spouts lies about feminism.

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Jun 14·edited Jun 14

Yes to your comment! I think he (Corona Studies -- assuming it's a he and there's no reason not to assume that) loves wearing his rose colored glasses when pontificating about women's lives and how wonderful they used to be and still could be. Oh the joy of being a wife and mother (and children) under the benevolent control of the husband and father. Get me a barf bag!

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The very act of judging traditional (nature based) roles in terms of how pleasing they are is what defines feminism as a form of hedonism. It also defines women as a completely useless / pointless class of people who have nothing useful or essential to contribute to society. The only criteria for feminists is how satisfying and fun their role for women is. No thought to how it affects society in the medium to long term

If men did feminism they could liberate themselves from their traditional (and unfulfilling) role of maintaining the infrastructure and providing resources and do more fulfilling things like speedboat racing and football. Society would be OK for a while, but would soon begin to deteriorate. The bridges would rust and collapse, the roads would be full of potholes and we'd use up all the reserves of oil, coal, grain, timber etc.

This is basically what feminism has done with respect to women abandoning the essential role of childcare. The decline in mental health of gen z and gen alpha is the equivalent of bridges collapsing and the railways turning to rust. If men were like feminists they would carry on racing their speedboats and playing football and they'd moan about the the collapse of the infrastructure but not have the self awareness (or moral responsibility) to admit that it is their fault. They might even go so far as to blame it all on women.

There's nothing wrong with redefining womanhood, but the issue with feminism is that they never provided a substitute for all the essential work women did. Instead they handed their kids over to the patriarchy to be indoctrinated for 6 hours a day. They called this 'dismantling the patriarchy'.

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The only way to keep children safe from being 'industrialised' (turned into genderless worker drones AKA 'global citizens') is to keep them away from state indoctrination ie state schools. The only way to do that is to home (and community) school which requires at least one stay at home parent as well as a community.

While there are women who are happy to support a stay at home father, they are rare. Most women either want to be supported (in part or fully) by a husband, or a husband substitute (the state/ welfare) ....... or they want to be independent (ie only support themselves and not support a man).

This is just human nature. The natural flow of labour and resources is from men to women to children.

At this stage in the game we should really put all the ideological nonsense in the trash and just think in terms of cause and effect. The effect of abandoning children to state schools (and hollywood movies and corporate culture in general) is that they will be de-gendered because that is the goal of the social engineers who own and run all of those institutions. That's been their goal for a century (read Brave New World, which was based on the Fabian Society think tank's technocratic plans for future society).

So if we want to have normal, well balanced, happy, healthy kids we need one parent at home. By default (and popular request) that means the mother (but swapping / sharing roles is perfectly fine).

Feminism has never provided a solution to the problem of abandoning children in order to have a 'fulfilling career' without creating generations of traumatised indoctrinated, confused, under developed, messed up kids who cannot really function as adults or get along with the opposite sex.

Feminism defines the gender binary as INHERENTLY PROBLEMATIC and engaged in an eternal BATTLE of oppression with men systematically oppressing women. This absurd and hateful narrative is at the heart of today's gender dysfunction. Feminism IS gender dysphoria intellectually, and so it's no surprise that it is fuelling dysphoria in children - something which only became an epidemic after feminism stopped being a relatively fringe adult ideology and got taught in schools as the default treatise on gender.

Again... we just need to think in terms of cause and effect. If you say that men and women are at war (instead of the greatest and most productive partnership that ever existed) then you are creating the gender equivalent of racial division in society.

Feminism is traumatising for young women (the men who they are hard wired to seek protection and resources from are defined as their psychopathic oppressors - because only psychopaths could oppress their own sisters, mothers, daughters and wives).

Feminism is equally traumatising for young men (they are told their budding sexuality is in fact the urge to rape women, and that their very existence is an affront to women and the cause of centuries of women's suffering and fear. Men are hard wired to protect and provide for women and this narrative is a form of mental torture and abuse).

Feminism on its own is enough to cause both young men and young women to want to escape or erase or destroy their own gender to escape the horrors of gender as described by feminist ideology (as described by their feminist teachers and feminist celebs, movies etc).

50 years ago when our culture was still rooted in 'traditionalism' (ie natural pair bonding and parenting) feminism might have seemed edgy and harmless. But the problem is that when it becomes the default ideology there is no longer any grounding in nature (natural pair bonding behaviour). There is only progressive ideology (gender is problematic) and materialism/ consumerism (fashion, drugs, surgeries).

So it's no surprise so many kids now 'construct' their identity and lifestyle from the internet and their local pharmacist/ gender clinic.

It's fine to scoff at traditional nuclear families and stay at home mothers. But if the alternative is gender ideology and the normalisation of surgeries and hormones then I'd say traditionalism wins. Men still have to play the 'traditional' male role of provider and protector of women (he for she). And most men have pretty shitty (and often dangerous and dirty) jobs, which they do because they feel obligated (and driven) to provide for a wife and children.

It is only feminist women who view their careers/ lifestyles only in terms of 'me, me, me' with no thought of responsibility .... to their children, to men, to future generations, to anyone but their own hedonistic selves.

That's fine to be that way, but don't then complain that kids are going off the rails and society is going down the toilet. That IS the price you pay for turning the female role into 100% consumerism and hedonism. Cause and effect.

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Liar.

Being a feminist is one of the basic requirements for being a decent human.

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Jun 13·edited Jun 14

To Corona Studies: Thanks for your reply. Very long and unpleasant rant at a stranger (why me?) unfortunately, but I can say for sure that, with most of what I did read, I disagree strongly with your confused, confusing, and ignorance-based "understanding" of these issues. Where to begin? Not here, because, sorry, I won't. I've wasted time and been burned by too many like you in the past. But still, I believe in free speech for all, including people who don't know what they're talking about and whose hearts are, sadly, not in the right place (though I can't prove that about you, just call it "women's intuition"...)

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Sue them both for medical malpractice.

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I wish the doctors and therapists could/would read these writings. I really wonder how many of these girls confide to them these feelings, and if they did would the medicos see a red flag, recommend slowing down, taking plenty of time to work it out before doing anything medical?

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

Identities are made, not acquired. Not adopted. Not found. More, they are home made - and by hand. But we no longer make things. We don't even realize it's possible.

A century ago, most people in the US lived outside cities. The working class (again, most of us) had few manufactured possessions, and those were well taken care of. We - or our neighbors - built our own houses, grew our own food, made our own clothing. Now, even assembling a product annoys us.

A couple years ago, I told the teenager mowing my yard to avoid mowing down the ferns native to my area. I was thinking of making a fern garden. He said, "Why don't you just buy them?" Whatever he envisioned involved multiple trips to Target and Lowe's. In reality, I already had a fern garden. I just needed to dig up the stray grass and add a bench and a lantern.

Now, we are limited to what we are presented with, which means whatever is popular, thanks to "economy of scale". Anything unusual either looks wrong or becomes an instant trend.

The gender movement is an attempt to add more choices to the menu.

I have an old fridge magnet that says, "Computers are useless. All they can give you are answers." We are drowning in them.

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The "renegade priest" Ivan Illich (featured in Eliza's recent "Reads of the Week") wrote a lot about the replacement of what he called "vernacular" society -- subsistence cultures where people did real things, for themselves, instead of doing soul-destroying jobs for money to buy industrial products instead.

His first and best-known book "Deschooling Society" (1976?) tackled the commodification of education, as obligatory for the masses. This perversely resulted in even greater inequalities, instead of the hoped-for equalisation: as kids from more privileged backgrounds were (wrongly) credited with success by personal effort, while those from poorer backgrounds were (wrongly) blamed for personal failure.

And in another study, of transportation, Illich showed how people became servants of the industrial system, instead of being served by it: with enormous expense eg in buying and servicing a car -- to spend the same amount of time stuck in city traffic jams as it used to take to get somewhere without a car at all.

So why not bury a living fern garden, when you can just go and buy another one, in pots? Everything is identical and replaceable.

And off-the-shelf "gender identities" can be tried on for fake "authenticity", from the range of available models on Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, or Twitter-X, produced by a $5billion transactivist-driven body dissociation industry -- until something fits: and at last you belong. Or not.

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PS I meant "mow down", not "bury" -- cannot edit this post

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

The environment we've raised this generation is terrible. Dissociating from the self is the norm. And--as this piece showed--not even having a self is the norm.

After I started desisting two years ago, it was like I was starting at square one in life. I was 17 and yet all I knew I liked were things from when I was 12 and under--from before I adopted a trans-boy identity. The teen years were made for self-discovery, for freedom and play, but the trans movement makes it hard to discover anything about yourself, because you're just trying to become a caricature, not a person.

For any parents--or hell, any desisters/detransitioners reading this--know it takes a while to rebuild. The programming doesn't go away overnight, but takes time. I'm just now forming a vague sense of self, one liable to changing day-by-day (because that's what young adulthood is like), but with patience, things will get better.

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Such an interesting comment you made. My 16-year old daughter is rewatching all of her favorite My Little Pony and Hello Kitty -type things and feels so fond of these memories. I'm scratching my head thinking "aren't we past all of that?" but instinctively understand that she is stuck in a moment in time before this ID took over and is re-living her favorite moments. I'm hoping this is a signal that she is getting ready to desist. We are having good conversations to help push her thinking along.

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Sounds like your daughter is rediscovering bits of who she was before losing herself...

I think we probably need a lot of shamanic "soul retrieval" to help desisters re-find lost bits of themselves.

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I have no idea if there is any relationship here, but people coming out of addiction/alcoholism often find they are at the sort of "emotional maturity baseline" they were before they started using. There is a pause in maturation during the addiction stage.

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I hope so, too!

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

Psychologist Lisa Marchiano has talked about how gender confused young people have lost their sense of the metaphorical when it comes to understanding themselves and life and become locked into the literal. That seems to apply to the development of identity and self too. It becomes a literal external thing you must look for, find, and put on - clothes, haircuts, a name - rather than a metaphorical "trying on" and exploration of internal and more abstract experiences of ideas, interests, personality, and character. Identity and self have become literal things to be found, collected, obtained or purchased, more of an aesthetic, like the pins on a Pinterest board. It's already hard enough to go through this process as an adolescent and young adult as it should be, much more when the young person also has the autistic and/or borderline personality traits (which by definition come with "masking," copying others, and a weak or shifting sense of self, and difficulties with the abstract) so often seen in the girls who get pulled into the gender world.

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I love this insight from Marchiano. Where does she talk about this? I’d love to delve into it.

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I'm not 100% sure where I heard her discuss it. It was in a podcast interview, maybe Gender a Wider Lens or possibly on Benjamin Boyce's podcast?

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

This description of the "struggle towards self" is so sad to read as a parent of an adult daughter. Part of identity formation should be finding healthy ways to separate from the parents (especially the mother) to go out and test the universe. But also to know that the family is always there. What happens with our kids is that the universe continually assures them that we are NOT there and we are NOT a place of Shelter. This doesn't happen in eating disorders, or other medical or psychiatric situations. Only in cults. It also made me think of a song from long ago by a band called The Replacements called "Aching to Be". In that song, a guy who we assume is "a cool guy in a band" seems to be denegrating a girl for seeming vacuous, lost and insecure.

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This honestly sounds like normal identity exploration for a teen - except that we now have this other -available, encouraged, pushed - possibility that almost automatically makes an identity more important and profound.

If you are "trans," you have the ANSWER. As a "trans" person, you can rest assured that you have figured it all out, that you are a profoundly interesting person, and that all of your feelings of discomfort in the world (okay, not all of them, but the biggest ones) exist only because you are "trans." If you were not "trans," you would surely be much more comfortable with yourself, and not have the need to explore your identity.

If there were not an option for being "trans," most of these young girls (and boys) would ultimately become adults and figure things out in the usual way, through life experience. "Trans" throws a wrench in the normal exploration of identity that occurs during adolescence.

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

This is exceptionally sad but significant to read. Many more people need to read things along these lines and so hopefully understand better the thinking processes in play, the damage being done to young people, and hence how the 'gender' cult offers the opposite of true liberation.

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People get a sense of self by learning to do stuff. Do these kids do music (band, chorus)? Do they do art? Theatre is a lost place filled with trannies, but kids can get fulfillment - my daughter did theatre and never was anything other than normal hetero.

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

TIFs are always so relatable, although at least in my case, as my husband rudely pointed out to me, I know myself. I just don't like myself.

" I feel like I have no name, just things people call me, and I feel like I'd be someone if I had a name."

So that reminds me of something lol. I distinctly remember, as a teenager, training myself out of responding to my name because it was SO common that 99% of the time if someone said my name they weren't talking to me. And even today, in middle age, when people speak to me using my name I feel so uncomfortable, like "oh, right. that's a name people use for me" because I don't associate any name with myself. (Although I do associate relationships and interests. It's not like I don't exist just...I trained myself out of associating with my name.)

I don't know if that's something that is common, but I do wonder, with how much emphasis TIPs put on trying on new names, if this is not an experience at least some of them have. Of alienation from your name because it's shared by so many people you learn to stop responding to it.

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Name changing also has a cultic aspect. In many religions it's common for novices to assume a new name to signify a new, committed phase in their life, together with rituals like cutting their hair or shaving their heads. And adopting a religious habit or gown symbolic of belonging to a new community. All "outer" signs of the inner change.

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"They wonder what it takes to be a boy. Or fret about not being 'boy’ enough. They wonder what boys talk about, so they can talk about the right things, rather than just saying the things they want to say. They speculate about what boys do when they hang out with each other, so they can fill their time with the right activities and hobbies, regardless of personal interest."

Does it ever occur to them that if they were the real boy they claim to be, all of this and more would come naturally to them? Sure, in the real world boys know how to be boys because they're socialized as boys. But if a girl actually believes she is a member of the opposite sex without actually being a member of the opposite sex, then believing in innate boyness would be a relatively minor feat of magical thinking.

It must be agonizing for some of those girls to discover that the act of declaring they're a boy doesn't automatically give them the social attributes of a boy. It's only a short hop to the realization that if intrinsic boyness is unattainable, perhaps the whole boy project is an illusion too.

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I wish someone (perhaps you, Eliza?) would write a book about the imposter syndrome you mention here. It would explain so much about why a lot of trans kids continue to feel like imposters after transitioning.

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author

This is what my thesis is about.

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That’s great— I hope it will be published so we can read it!

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author

It will be published... takes a few months, apparently.

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Congratulations on your book. I’ll watch this space for info about where it’s for sale. And I hope you do a book tour that gets the discussion going more on this issue; I think it can open a lot of eyes to the truth of the quandary these kids find themselves in, and how many false promises are made to them.

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author

Oh, no, my academic thesis. No book contract yet. No takers.

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Hope that’s just “No takers, yet.” It would add so much to the conversation.

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This piece reminds me of a Quillette article I recently came across called Identity Satiation: https://quillette.com/2024/03/08/identity-satiation/

Here's an excerpt:

This effect [depersonalization-derealization] doesn’t only occur with visual self-inspection, but with mental introspection too. I call this “identity satiation.” It has been studied for thousands of years and it is the basis of many Buddhist and other spiritual practices. It has long been understood that extended periods of introspection and self-contemplation result in a sense of identity-loss and a disorder known as “depersonalization-derealization” with eerily familiar symptoms. Depersonalization-derealization affects “your ability to recognize your thoughts, feelings and body as your own.”

...

The school curricula and social dialogue now dominant in the West feature endless discussions of identity and encourage constant introspection. This replicates thought patterns shown to result in poorer understanding and more confusion, and inadvertently broaches complex topics (such as cartesian dualism) that have preoccupied serious philosophers for centuries.

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Thanks for the link to a very interesting article, with equally interesting comments by "A Curious Turn". Jonathan Haidt's diagnosis of an "epidemic of mental illness" among Gen Z being directly due to the replacement of a childhood based on play, by a childhood based on screens, particularly smartphones, is congruent with all the ills described here of excessive rumination -- over-engagement of the brain's "default mode network" -- in producing states of depersonalisation, derealisation and dissociative personality disorder. All very lucrative for the $5billion transactivist-driven body dissociation industry.

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Jun 10Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

Eliza- I always look forward to your posts. You have such a precise manner in which you capture exactly what is going on for these girls. Most of us can see it, but we can't articulate it this well. I agree that a book and book tour suggested by another poster would be amazing- this needs to get into mainstream somehow. Thank you for all you do and good luck on your thesis.

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The girl who says she has a girly style and talks girly and wants to be able to do that BUT be masculine too sounds not only very confused but that she's really trying to be part of the trans crowd even though she's a basic normal girl. Could some of this be about seeing those in the trans crowd getting special attention and wanting that too - but not knowing how to get it another way, say by finding an activity/interest to cultivate like music, art, literature, etc.? Could some of this be the dovetailing of that need to be special with the toxic vacuosity of Instagram and other SM platforms?

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"These girls don’t just want to become someone else, they want to become somebody at all. They’re grasping for templates that don’t wound and offend them. They’re trying on masks, looking for the one that will create the right impression and secure the right kind of recognition. In other words, they’re engaged in the developmental process of identity formation—but only in the most superficial sense of the term, working from the outside in, cutting themselves off not just from the reality of their sex but from their actual interests and inclinations, which are reduced to props that either undermine or support the gender they want to project."

Perfectly articulated.

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I love this post and comments. Nice stack, Eliza M!

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