The only barriers between us are the one's we construct ourselves.
If you didn't mention you were a female gamer then no one would have asked. If you're announcing a difference then you have created the barrier, it is now every body else's burden to avoid the barrier as best as they can.
Be a human instead, I find far less awkward situations that way ;)
Mmm...I disagree. People overstep boundaries, or make social faux-pas all the time (knowingly or not) that can offend another. A slightly racist joke, a misogynistic remark...things like slip out all the time. They occur because of our inherent differences (what you refer to as barriers).
Pretending that we're all the same is not a solution. Others will make mistakes and cross lines, because they are limited to their own life and experiences, and are innately unable to fully
empathize with others. Better to acknowledge that we are all different, and to recognize and appreciate differences in others that cause them to approach things in other ways. A female should be able to feel completely comfortable with disclosing that she is female. That's not a fact that one should have to hide. Disclosing one's gender can help others interact with you on a more personal level...the onus is on others to not use that information to behave improperly.
Social barriers should not be "avoided." They should be bridged through understanding.
It's actually interesting; since the age of the internet and the increase in "social networking" the result is that many people have all but become socially inept. In a world where you can put anyone on a block list and ignore them, you're never FORCED to deal with compromise or differing opinions. Why come up with a counterargument or risk learning something when you can click ignore/thumbs down and go on to something else?
Studies have shown that much of communication is nonverbal. Emphasis, voice tone, facial expressions, body gestures, all of this factors into telling people things. Humans are designed to be social animals; that's why forums and message boards and other social networking sites are like crack to us; we find ourselves interested in saying what we're thinking and hearing what other people are thinking.
The problem is, the internet allows people to say and do whatever they want with virtual anonymity, and it also allows people to ignore anything they don't want to hear. These are both horrible things, and one or both is almost always the cause of nearly every problem you will ever encounter with everyone you will ever meet online. The fact that there are no repercussions to saying what's on your mind teaches people that there's no need to actually keep certain things to themselves. This idea, when applied IRL, can have disastrous results. Furthermore, as I said earlier, the fact that one can simply ignore anything you don't like or just downrate it implies two things: one, it implies to people that their opinion is ALWAYS equally as valid as anyone else, even when they don't have a strong opinion or their opinion is flawed. Two, it doesn't allow people to get the experience of actually DISCUSSING things with people, because everyone has this opinion, and if you disagree with them, they don't care what you have to say. Ignore, move on.
There is no filter like this in real life. You can TRY to ignore that girl in a chicken suit holding a Peta flag, but it's much more difficult to deal with when she's trying to hand you a flier that you don't want than it is to right click on someone's name and make them magically disappear.
The result of all this? Everyone falls into cliques. People only like to talk with and hang out with other people who have things in common with them. The downside is that the less you hang out with people who DON'T share common interests, the less likely you are to develop NEW ones. If all you ever do is talk to people who agree with everything you say, you're going to be miserable.
And indeed we are. Ask your parents or your grandparents. Growing up, they've had to deal with a lot of people they do not like. Some of them are probably still dealing with people they don't like. But they end up with more friends at the same time. Many of your parents who are in their 40s and 50s like mine (or older) will rattle off names of people they grew up with, who they'd trust with their greatest secrets, because they honestly felt they could trust them.
So in this age of social networking, I present the following: Let's say you have a story or a picture of yourself in a horribly compromising position; say you were cheating on someone or you stole something expensive or that you played Snow White in an all-male (including you) cast, whatever you want. Ask yourself: how many people would I trust with this knowledge to not only not make fun of me, but also to NEVER tell ANYONE about it? One person? Two? None?
The fact that we can't -see- people and we can't -touch- people breeds contempt and distrust. I'm not talking a total lack of trust, but a lack of REAL trust. Many people come here asking for advise on their systems, what to upgrade. I've helped a lot of them. I have gladly taken my time to tell people what to buy, what not to buy, and lots of people have taken my advice and thanked me for it. I'm not the only one. So you trust me to recommend computer parts.
But let me ask you this: Would you give me the key to your house and ask me to feed your cats while you go on vacation for a week? I mean, I have two cats so I know how to take care of them, I can clean litterboxes, refill their water bowl daily, I love cats. I also keep a rather clean house so I'm not going to trash your place; ****, I might even clean it up for you.
But do you -really- trust me? What color is my hair? What color is my skin? How old am I? What's my name? Have I showered today? Am I wearing pants right now? You don't know any of this. I could tell you that I have blond hair, am Hispanic, 29 years old, named Javier, last showered three days ago, and am wearing sweats. You might even believe me, despite that every word of it was *********
Now my point is not that you -can't- trust people, but that people -don't- trust each other. A friendly smile and a firm handshake go a lot farther to establishing a trust relationship than 100 tweets ever will.
Once you strip away race, gender, and age, you might say "we're all the same", but the fact is, we're not. In fact, the only thing about us as humanity that makes us all the same is the fact that we ARE all different. Attempting to avoid differences just causes you to see everyone else as a name or a number, and not a person. And if you can't see each other as people, you can never hope to actually trust them.
The result is that none of us are ever alone, and yet all of us feel lonely.