Tag Archives: Gender Identity

Scientific evidence confirms that Ikea furniture has no personality – a previously undescribed form of synaesthesia?

Some, possibly all, of my offspring, spanning most of the genders, report experiences that are consistent with synaesthesia, which suggests to me that my own synesthesia could be the result of a double-helping of synaesthesia genetics (homozygosity). Just the other day one of ours (female adolescent) unexpectedly explained that most of the large objects in our kitchen/living room, in which we all spend a lot of time, have genders and personalities, as is well-known in the ordinal-linguistic personification synaesthesia (personified numbers and letters) which we share, along with grapheme-colour synaesthesia. She told me that this goes back to her early childhood and has perhaps faded in time, but still operates.

Like my own OLP for numbers and letters, her Furniture Personification Synaesthesia is dominated by males. Maybe this could be related to the fact that we are both “tomboys”, with the usual orientations but personalities that reflect characteristics that are associated with maleness in our culture. Maybe it is simply a reflection of the dominance of males in society or the predominance of males as major fictional characters. Maybe it is the solidity of furniture objects that makes then seem (mostly) male. I only hope this doesn’t develop into that unfortunate mental phenomenon in which people (mostly women) “fall in love” with large buildings and structures, which they generally personify as male. That wouldn’t be fun. I don’t want a traffic bridge as a son-in-law.

Here’s the details of this type of personification syn that I’ve never before heard of:

TV = male

Refrigerator = female

Piano = male, nice (of course, what kind of piano is NOT nice?)

Oven = male, nice, cheeky

Airconditioner = male (everyone’s best mate on a hot summer’s day)

Brown drawers = male, cheeky

Rocking chair = male, nice

Rangehood = male

Ikea shelf = neither

Speakers = male

Merry Christmas readers, and please be kind to your loved ones, be they human, animal or otherwise.

Just a thought

Is there any connection between transgender-ism and personification processes in cognition or in personification synaesthesia? I’ve no reason to believe that trannies are any more likely to be synaesthetes or vice versa, but I can’t help wondering whether being transgender could be an odd or questionable type of (gender) personification of the self, while ordinal-linguistic personification is an odd type of personification applied to the concepts of numbers and letters (and other things in some cases). Is self-image and self-concept different to the personification of other people with characteristics such as gender and age and personality? Is self-image and self-concept different to the odd personification a different kind of thinking to that found in ordinal-linguistic personification synaesthesia? Why do some/many people experience odd types of personification? Note that OLP involves the personification of characteristics beyond gender. It can also involve ages, appearance, personalities and personal relationships. So I wonder whether there are people who feel that they have personal characteristics other than gender that don’t appear to match their physical being? Are there people who feel that they are the wrong age or the wrong weight or a mismatch in some other way?

Personifying moving objects by decorating with gendered features – cute cars with curled eyelashes and boy-bits dangling at the back of utes

car with eyelashes

Car decorated with cute eyelashes

Ordinal-linguistic personification is a type of synaesthesia in which concepts such as letters and/or numbers are involuntarily thought of as having individual characteristics usually associated with people, such as genders and ages and personalities. One the face of it this might seem pretty odd, but the linking of personal characteristics with non-living things is certainly not limited to the arena of obscure psychological phenomena. In our shared culture ships are often ascribed with a female gender, and cyclones are given personal names. One very effective make of vacuum cleaner has a cute face on it and is named Henry. It appears that moving objects are especially likely to be associated with human-like characteristics, possibly because their mobility and agency causes the more primitve and instinctual parts of our brains to “read” them as people or intelligent animals.

The car in the photograph above was spotted recently in an outer suburb of Perth, Western Australia. I’m not sure whether the personification of an inanimate object or the creation of a gender identify statement was the insipration for this quaint bit of motor vehicle decoration. Another odd type of motor vehicle decoration that I’ve seen recently is like the male version of this idea. It is a thing that looks like a nutsack draped over a towing assembly at the back of a motor vehicle,  generally seen on the back of utes which tend to be associated with male drivers. They appear to be made out of an empty plastic balloon and two tennis balls. The car eyelashes appear to be an accessory that does not come with the car but can be purchased through the internet, should you require a more cute-looking mode of transport than your standard car.

Tyler, Alison Blinking madness! Car lashes are the most patronising ‘female-friendly’ gimmick of the lot. MailOnline. 6 September 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1309380/Blinking-madness-Car-lashes-patronising-female-friendly-gimmick-lot.html#ixzz1pRfWtTGU

BullsNuts. YouTube. uploaded Jun 7, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwz4zCMwA54   (an advertisement for truck decoration accessories that appear to be sold by an Australian business)