Incoming results from my Are vs. Have poll seemed to pretty much stop once I hit 128, so at that point I started sorting through them to see if I found anything interesting. Well – I did! At least, it’s interesting to me. Hopefully you’ll find it interesting too. ^_^
A note on categories
When I was sorting through them, I just tried to categorize them as best I could. The types of answers were, in some cases, very different, so the categories will be different too. There was some fuzziness between some of the categories, and sometimes it was a bit of a toss-up whether any given thing would be best in this category or that category. Nonetheless, I did my best to put them all in an order that made sense to me. I’m just intending to share some numbers – just understand that some of them could be shuffled around a wee bit.
Ok! Numbers! Take a look:
When asked to name what we are, the types of results were as follows:
Things we do: 41
Physical trait: 22
Things we like: 6
Couldn’t figure out how to categorize: 3
When asked to name what we have, this is what I found:
Physical trait: 46
Health matters: 12
Couldn’t figure out how to categorize: 5
Didn’t fit within the context of a thing one has: 2
And finally, one assertion from someone who apparently does not describe themself that way.
And now I blather
So to state the obvious – we clearly define ourselves, overwhelmingly, by what we do, and various personality characteristics. Physical traits trailed behind in third.
Of the 17 responses based on relationships with others, 8 of them were some variant of “mom.” Nearly half!
At first I had tried to have separate categories for jobs and hobbies, but that proved untenable. With no context for the answers, there were many that I could not figure out where exactly they should go, and probably would have needed to create yet another category, even fuzzier than jobs and hobbies, that I would call “things we care about” or something. In the end, “things we do” proved to be an excellent, and interesting, category. Whether it’s a hobby or a job or activism or nervous habits or whatever, what we do is, apparently, who we are.
As for the haves, physical traits definitely dominated the field here. It seems that, by and large, our bodies are things that we have, far more than things that we are.
Answers related to health were entirely matters of illness or health issues in general. Not a single person put “good health” or anything of the like. Similarly, there were a number of answers that I categorized as neurology in both the ares and the haves, but not a single one was “neurotypical” or anything related. Which tells me that as much as we may be trying to get away from the word “normal,” the concept of normalcy seems to be very much around.
Interestingly, many of the neurology results were similar between the two. Depression, anxiety, and the autism spectrum all featured highly, but we seem to be split in terms of whether they are something we have or something we are.
There were some similarities between some of the skills and achievements in the haves, and some of the things we do in the ares. There were several answers of “job” in terms of what we have, but actual job titles were always things we are. So for instance, a person may have a job, but they are an engineer.
Not one single person put gender as a thing they have. The same goes for nationality or ethnicity. While they were both in the minority of responses of ares, they were only ares.
There is, of course, some bias in these results. Some from where I got my responses (almost all of my responses were either from people related to the autism community in some way, and people from Ravelry who were kind enough to let me impose on them), some from my own interpretations of the results, and there is probably a factor of ease of language in terms of how we self-describe. Even with all that, though, I found the sorts of answers given really quite fascinating.
I am currently still undecided about publishing the results, as I worry someone will be offended if I do. I can promise that even published, all answers will remain entirely anonymous. Even I have no way of tracking who answered what, in any way.
So I put it to you: what do you think of the results I got?
Would anyone like to see the answers themselves, and maybe even take a crack at doing your own sorting?
Or, conversely, would anyone strongly prefer that I not publish the results?
In the end, 128 responses is a small sample size, but for this blog it isn’t bad. Maybe someday when I’m famous (heh) I could do this again and see what the population at large has to say about themselves. (of course, in the meantime the poll is still open, so you can go put your answer in if you want)