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  1. #1
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default Implications of the word "lifestyle"

    When you hear someone's behavior/choices referred to as a "lifestyle," what connotations does that word seem to hold for you?

    Do you think the word has positive or negative implications, and why?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Senior Member nottaprettygal's Avatar
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    It always seems negative to me. I don't think I've ever heard it used without an up-turned nose and a somewhat disgusted tone.

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    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    I think it's meant to be an indifferent way for expressing behavior/choices people don't agree with. Of course, the only time I ever hear people mention it is when it comes to the "gay lifestyle". To me it comes off as negative because you know the intent of the person using it is to say you aren't "normal" or "natural" like they are.
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    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    Its use does seem pejorative...usually used as an quasi-intellectual indicator of "otherness" to the accepted norm.

    When I hear it from someone I am hearing it in a sense as a half-warning half-explanation or apology...Like "Oh, that's Fred he has a your choice lifestyle...but he's okay..."
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    When you hear someone's behavior/choices referred to as a "lifestyle," what connotations does that word seem to hold for you?

    Do you think the word has positive or negative implications, and why?
    I've never thought about how others use the term but I use it when I, in fact, wish not to infer any value judgement. Its meant to be a "neutral" statement of choice. I can see where some might take it as a negative one if saying, for instance, "drinking is not part of our lifestyle" but that interpretation lies with them. I could as easily say, "dancing is not part of our lifestyle" or "dancing is a big part of our lifestyle." So, it depends on the activity referred to I guess but, again, I don't intend it to be a value statement.

  6. #6
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I don't know about other people, however I tend to use it in a completely neutral way.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanan View Post
    I've never thought about how others use the term but I use it when I, in fact, wish not to infer any value judgement. Its meant to be a "neutral" statement of choice. I can see where some might take it as a negative one if saying, for instance, "drinking is not part of our lifestyle" but that interpretation lies with them. I could as easily say, "dancing is not part of our lifestyle" or "dancing is a big part of our lifestyle." So, it depends on the activity referred to I guess but, again, I don't intend it to be a value statement.
    Neat, thanks for offering an alterna... um, different point of view!

    I had never really heard the term outside of application by religious folks to homosexuals and transgenders, but I have been immersed in conservative religious culture my entire life so I did not know how the phrase circulates outside of that subculture. So I will have to be on the lookout for more neutral uses of the phrase.

    The things you mention seem to be separate activities -- and definitely expressions of choice rather than need or nature (i.e., you looked around until you found an activity you liked), so I guess then people who group their lives around a particular activity, sport, or even a religion/philosophy could be said to be living a "lifestyle."

    I was just forced to consider it again when a family member used it to refer to me and my situation, and I found myself very bothered by it.

    First, the word "alternate" automatically assumes that the speaker's choice of lifestyle should be the norm... and these other things are posers or replacements of some sort.

    Second, it insinuates that a person looked around for something they enjoyed or believed in, then bought into it and have centered large parts of their life around it. Speaking as trans (but it carries over to homosexuals, probably), I didn't shop around for something "pleasing/pleasurable," nor did I just pick something from the Smorgasbord of Life as a thing for me to pursue because I happened to like it. It's just a hard reality of my life that this is where I am and what I'm dealing with. The life I want to live would be just as instinctive (rather than "chosen out of interest") as anyone's who is not in my situation. Which means it would be legitimate, rather than just a fancy.

    Third, my life in every other respect isn't changing. There is no "alternate lifestyle." If all goes according to my wishes, my lifestyle would end up being indistinguishable from anyone else in my culture. I am not seeking for anything "alternate" at all.

    And although I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about it at the moment (in the middle of the process), afterwards it's not like I want to immerse myself in parties, boat trips, pageants, and other things belonging to the trans subculture -- which, when taken to that extreme, might be a "lifestyle."

    But then again, some religious faiths do the same thing and build up a lifestyle (not just morality, but what they do, who they associate with, what activities they pursue) around their beliefs.

    Those are the three things I've thought of so far why it might not really be applicable.

    In any case, the whole thing made me consider the potential uses and purpose of such a phrase -- why did it evolve, and what roles does it serve in discussion and human social politics?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post

    In any case, the whole thing made me consider the potential uses and purpose of such a phrase -- why did it evolve, and what roles does it serve in discussion and human social politics?

    I can so see where it would. I'm afraid I have a pretty simplistic view actually. (dangerous to admit I know) but from my "historical" perspective its a phenomena of political correctness so prevalent today. I will use the example of "correctness" in racial definition. When I was young, Negro (with and "o") was the insisted upon word for PCness. Then it went to "black," then to African American and, now, some are offended if "African" is used, while others are offended if its not. I think people have seriously hardened their hearts to the point where they fail to look at the intent of the speaker.

    Sure there are cases when "lifestyle" is used derogatorily but there are probably more cases when its not. I've been in situations, being recognizably by some AmInd, where "squaw" has been used against me derogatorily but, usually, that's not the intention. They just don't know its actual meaning which I'm privy to. I pay attention to "how" its being used in individual cases. If the person doesn't wish me harm, I try to stay open enough to see that and don't pick at their choice of words. Don't get me wrong.. I will call anyone out if I think they're actually name-calling but I don't jump the gun and end all communication as a result.

    Edit: I've even been in situations where "introvert" has been used to call me something derogatory. :-)

  9. #9
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    I don't know about other people, however I tend to use it in a completely neutral way.
    Me, too.

    Lifestyle is a way of life as opposed to something you tried once or twice.

    For instance, a healthy lifestyle might be one that includes eating fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis,
    not just a couple of times a year.

  10. #10
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I've never heard lifestyle used other than by old and/or conservative people to refer to gays, drug addicts, pierced/tattooed kids, whatever the person thinks is deviant from the norm.

    I can see how people might mean it in a neutral sense but I've never heard it used in that way around here....the notable exception being "healthy lifestyle" but that's pretty rare in everyday speech. Maybe all the other things that make up life aren't generally considered important enough to be a lifestyle?

    I would tend to think of a lifestyle as being a significant part of someone's life, I guess. Like even though I wouldn't use the term, having a "gay lifestyle" implies to me someone that is heavily involved in the gay community, drag shows, pride parades, rallys etc....as opposed to someone who just happens to like members of their own sex. I don't know how common that interpretation is, but it's what the connotation is for me, more or less.

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