During my undergraduate days, I used to entertain a slew of side projects in my head that I wanted to attempt and/or accomplish had I ever found the time. Among that list was making a homemade railgun1, attempting to smith a sword/axe/sharp weapon and/or some plate armor2, and all kinds of random psychologically-related experiments. The psychologically-related experiments are not as menacing as one might expect; they were really more aimed at understanding how some people view things or themselves.
Among the psychologically-related experiments I was interested in was how people really viewed themselves in a physical nature. It was aimed really moreso at women3, although it could totally be applied to men as well4. My original conception of this experiment involved taking cast molds of people figures (front at back to generate the right proportions) from the neck down. With those negative casts, I could recreate a positive cast of the person’s original figure.
Once I would have accrued enough figures of relatively the same size/spectrum, I would present the person with their own figure amidst a selection of other similar figures to see if they could identify their own amongst the others. The point was to try to understand and/or present to the individual how the person viewed their self physically. It has always been awfully easy to criticize and view yourself in a negative light (especially if you’re looking right at it in a mirror). However, if you carry misconceptions (or don’t even fully recognize) about your own figure, then it could become easily apparent by having some difficulty identifying your own figure from the mix.
Holly shared an interest with me in attempting this endeavor, but we never got around to doing it for a veritable plethora of reasons5. I’m sure she might still entertain this thought if I brought it up to her, but at the present I simply would not have the time to devote to this project while I’m still finishing up my Ph.D. Maybe once I get around to do a post-doctoral position I would have the time to do this, but then I lack the cohort in crime to pull off this project with. The other problem with going this alone is similar to the issue seen with anyone/everyone jumping into the photography field, especially with those characters sometimes referred to as GWC’s. Having a female assisting in the project would at least take some (if not most) of the bias out of the thought that I would be similar to a GWC (just in a different medium).
I like to empower and/or enable my female friends by trying to push them past their personal flaws they’re examining and refocus them on their strengths, and this goes for both intellectual and physical attributes. I’ve got a small handful of friends who are overly concerned on their flaws due to weight gain, rejection, whatever, and they don’t take the time to stop and embrace their strengths enough. I always thought this would be a fascinating project to help them out with, and learn a little bit more about the way people think about themselves.
Some of my friends back during high school and college joked that I should have went into psychology. At times like this, it wouldn’t surprise me; I’ve always had a fascination for understanding what it is that makes people think one way, and why they think that way. At other times, I just stop and realize that tons of shit fascinates me, and I really want to learn about it all.