When we think of our own identity, our individuality, and what aspects of ourselves make us who we are what comes to mind. For me it is a giant blank. I have never been good at answering the question of who I am. I do not think of myself as straight, as white, or as a male. I define myself more by my interests. That might be my privilege as a straight white male talking but those aspects of myself are not nearly as important as reader, poet, and animal lover.
It is weird to me when people think of those former aspects in relation and importance to the second. I am a member of a few Facebook groups and on a couple of them there are always questions of, “Are there any men in this group,” or someone will straight a topic, “Hey ladies.” The funny thing is there are a lot of men in both groups and lots of men with those interests.
One is a Facebook book lovers group and the second is a professional pet sitters group. Both have a lot, if not a majority, women, but there are enough men that interact on a daily basis that the question shouldn’t be necessary. Yet the question arises often. In the pet sitters group there are even questions of if men can work with dogs and surprise that dogs get along with men. It is a strange thing and I can’t imagine the reality of the people that think dogs can’t get along with everyone.
The book one is weirder. There are a lot more women in the pet world than men. I can tell you that from who applies to our jobs and who books our services. I even use female as a demographic we are looking for when marketing. It is most often the woman of the house that makes the care decisions for the animals.
That is neither here nor there though. When it comes to my personal identity I am far more a reader and animal lover than I am a male or a white person, and again it could easily be my privilege talking that way as I don’t have to think about or face either of those identities unless I want to. I have the luxury to only confront myself with the identities in which I choose for myself. That is not the case for a lot of people out there and that is why I find it so unusual when my identity as a reader or animal lover is questioned because of another identity I barely consider an important part of myself.