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Binary - the concept of contrast

Magda Bętkowska, Abdullah Bertin

Two parts are often framed as absolute and unchanging opposites—two things in which everything is either one thing or the other. This framing results in an exaggeration of differences between social groups, making them appear to have nothing in common. For instance, ideas of male and female being complete opposites invite simplistic comparisons that rely on stereotypes.

Men are defined, in part, as "not women," and women as "not men." Consequently, our understanding of men is influenced by our understanding of women. Rather than viewing aspects of identity, such as race, gender, class, ability, and sexuality, as containing only two dichotomous, opposing categories, conceptualizing multiple and various identities allows us to examine how men and women, black and white, etc., may not be so fundamentally different after all. It reveals the varied and complex nature of identities and lives.

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