This will be my last post on this problem for a while. I promise. I just wanted to explain the reason for being all butthurt in the previous couple of posts and flying the introvert pride banner for a while.
Maybe an example would help. Consider this article titled “The introvert’s personality traits. A guide to introversion for shy people”. I am sure that article was well-intended and even helpful to many people, but it is quite biased as is shown in the choice of wording. I want to make it clear that I am not trying to single it out and that I am just using it as an example. It is quite representative both of other articles on introversion, but in particular of people’s attitudes on the subject. I am sure that most of these are well-meaning and that they are not aware of how they come across to an introvert. But let me show you:
Consider the following quote from the article:
Introverts have an inward focus and aren’t usually the life of the party. They have a strong sense of self that can make them feel highly self-conscious around other people – making walking into a crowded room a little nerve-wracking. Introverts have a hard time being goofy in front of the camera and telling jokes to more than a couple of people at a time, but they can be extremely witty. They’re less “Larry, Curly, and Moe” and more Woody Allen – but that doesn’t mean introverts’ personality traits are neurotic.
Now, let me paraphrase this, flip it and describe the extrovert (Maybe “A guide to extroversion for shallow people”?):
Extroverts have an outward focus and usually don’t read a lot. They have a weak sense of self that can make them feel highly dependent on other people – making being alone a little nerve-wracking. Extroverts have a hard time being serious or having a deep conversation with another person, but they can be extremely goofy and they enjoy slap-stick humor. They’re less “Woody Allen” and more “Larry, Curly, and Moe” – but that doesn’t mean extroverts’ personality traits are histrionic.
Indeed not, but didn’t it just come across like that? In addition, it did not sound very flattering or even neutral?
Was it accurate? Yes and no. Both descriptions pointed towards a prejudice of some kind and prejudices usually reflect reality in some sense but the implied value judgments do not—they only reflect impressions of reality. In the first case we see the introvert from the extrovert’s point of view. This is the typical point of view held by most people and most literature, even literature by introverts. In the second case we saw the mirror image.
Feeling a different emotional or cognitive response from reading these two quotes would mean that your point of view is biased, perhaps even unknowingly. I’d like to think that mine isn’t but I am not above getting annoyed by being constantly exposed to a biased point of view, and then I write posts like this.
Maybe I should know better, and I assure you I do. Most of the time.
We now return to the regular scheduling…
Originally posted 2010-01-19 00:15:25.