And it opened up my eyes — I saw the sign!

“He’s from Alabama? No wonder he’s such an idiot. All those stupid inbred redneck hicks come from the South.  Alabama, Georgia, Texas, whatever… his momma and his auntie are probably one and the same.”

“Man, I’d really love to have one of those Chinese girls for a wife… so sweet, and soft, and you know they never talk back to their husbands! I love that exotic air of mystery they have…”

“Wait, you said your teacher was condescending, impatient, and rude? Let me guess… totally a woman, right? Hate to say it, but that’s just how girls are!”

Totally offensive, right? Completely unacceptable things to say. I mean, they’re horrible things to believe, even if you keep your mouth shut about it, but I hope that most of you can recognize that these stereotypes are over-broad, that they deny the agency of any individual person who happens to fit into a category because of something to do with the circumstances of their birth.

There are millions of people born in the southeastern United States, hundreds of thousands (at least) in Alabama. To insist that you know anything about a person from that single fact is arrogant, ignorant, and completely narrow-minded. Sure, there are lots of people who make those assumptions anyway, but that doesn’t mean they’re right!

There are as many ways to be a woman as there are women — none of them more valid than any other. To insist that you know anything about someone based solely on their gender is arrogant, ignorant, and completely narrow-minded. Lots of folks still do, sadly.

And… ugh. Please, don’t get me started on the Colonialist, racist bullshit that sits behind the fetishization of East Asian women. Just… eww. And yes, sadly, there are plenty of folks who are into that. Shit, someone who’s a blood relation is off the deep end of that Orientalism cesspool, mail-order bride and everything. I’ve seen it up close, and it’s disgusting.

So what about this, then? “Oh, you just had your birthday? I bet you’re super sensitive to criticism, aren’t you? Always trying to help people out? You seriously need to get out and do something with your life, stop sitting around all the time!”

Especially if you just barely met someone, then I guarantee you that you don’t know enough about them to make those kinds of claims. But for some reason, it’s much more socially acceptable to deny individual agency and make arrogant assumptions about someone based on over-broad stereotypes… when you base it on one category about the circumstances of a person’s birth: that person is obviously a Pisces, and so you can generally get away with insisting that you know everything about them!

I call bullshit on that. I call bullshit just as much as on the rest of those sickening, harmful stereotypes, and I call bullshit on anyone who claims that they can take shortcuts instead of getting to know you. I call bullshit on projecting a stereotyped image that gets in the way of actually interacting with an individual.

I call bullshit on the laughable idea that the place and time of my birth have any bearing on my future. I call bullshit on the disempowerment of giving up control over what I do and how I do it, giving that up to some bullshit stereotype that some other humans decided to write up into tables and graphs and circles and charts and symbols. I call bullshit on anyone writing my future besides me.

And, no doubt, there will be folks who jump in to tell me that this is exactly what they’d expect from a [some guess at when I was born and what my “sign” is based on the aforementioned bullshit] — which of course leaves the wiggle-room of “oh, well, I guess I was wrong, but that one shares some traits with this other sign, so I was still right about the ignorant, arrogant, agency-denying assumptions I made! Ha!” And really? One thing I’ve found fairly consistently is that for folks who choose to give up their own agency to the star charts, it’s difficult for them to handle others who haven’t joined in with drinking the Kool-Aid.

Even worse is the folks who use their birth date as an excuse and a rationalization for their own failings — “Well, yeah, I should’ve admitted I was wrong about that, but you know how stubborn we Taurus folks are!” or “Yes, I know I was late… again… I just can’t seem to get things together, I’m definitely an airy, air-headed Gemini!” How about admitting personal fault instead of shrugging it off as inescapable? I suppose that would be too close to admitting that you’re responsible for yourself, instead of having the handy excuse of something “out there” having determined everything about you from the day you were born, wouldn’t it?

And as far as that goes, I can guarantee I know your sign.


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