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THE IMPOSTER ISSUE

 

 
Dear Outsiders,

Every week popular media has a new hot take on 'Imposter Syndrome'. Today we discuss how that fake-medical term points to more than feeling out of place – and how it can be radically embraced.

Read on,

– Jess


Outsider 143

IMPOSTER NON-SYNDROME

 

When Outsiders Become Insiders


 
 

"Imposter Syndrome" is a problematic piece of jargon. It flaunts itself as a medical term (it's not) that encourages people to blame themselves for structural unfairness. Feeling out of place at work doesn't mean you have a psychological short coming – it says that the environment is falling short.

Too busy rehashing the 'symptoms' of feeling like an imposter and how to 'cure' yourself to confidence - popular media and self-help trash fail to illuminate the cause of these senses of not belonging, or being undeserving of one's position... Systemic biases. It is systematic inequalities that cause those from minority, working class or disadvantaged backgrounds to feel like imposters.



 

"What far-reaching and harmful message are we sending out when we paint the natural reaction of working-class and marginalised people as evidence of some kind of “syndrome”?

Some will say it’s only a word, not a medical diagnosis, but it represents an attempt to individualise a structural issue, and to place the burden of responsibility at the door of the undervalued, or excluded. This only adds to the list of things that working-class and marginalised people already have to contend with on a daily basis...

...It’s important for all of us to remain vigilant to the many ways in which [internalising the structural shame imposed by the
corporate workplace] dehumanises us and strips us of our identity."


– Nathalie Olath




ACKNOWLEDGING TRIUMP

To my fellow imposters,
For starters, congratulations for making it onto the inside. If you're experiencing the sense of imposterdom, that means we are doing something radical – not wrong. And that is precisely the point. We are somewhere we are "not supposed to be", and that is a position for change and influence.



 





EMBRACE IMPOSTER









 


 
 
"Be what's causing chaos in your field"
– John Waters
 





 
CHAOS AS YOU DEFINE IT

Causing chaos from the inside doesn't have to mean loud and vicious. It can be quiet and subtle. Gradual rather than aggressive. Most imposter-advice revolves around 'increasing confidence', which is mimicking the types of displays valued as 'strong communication and leadership styles' in our societies. This means loud voices, big body language, having a "visible presence" and calculated debating abilities – all behaviours taught in private schools, universities, upper and middle-class spaces and relations at large.

Being a radical insider doesn't mean playing along, it can mean flipping the script entirely.


 


IMPOSTERS MOVE THINGS FORWARD

Imposters have always been the ones pushing culture forward. Transgressive creations rarely come from the minds of the comfortable and welcome.

 

 
 







is it our impostordom that can be reframed as success and potential rather than a deficiency.
 









 


Hold onto the knowledge that "syndroming" a sense of being out of one's depth is a harmful message. These feelings are natural reactions to the biases we face on a daily basis. This pseudo syndrome is a structural issue, not an individual problem. It's not something "in our minds" and it's not our job to remove the sense of it.

What we can do now
is the reframing.
 

 







IMPOSTERS AS
SUCCESSFUL
INFILTRATORS

 

 

 


 



Take a new stance on sensations of imposterdom. When outsiders become insiders, the necessary disturbance happens. The radical creativity and activity can begin.

Keep on imposting,

Jess
jh@outsider.works


 




 




 
 


 

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY
 
Outsider is a counter-culture punch from inside the creative industry.

Promoting real life interaction. Pro-offline.


It came into being after watching client after client come seeking 'relevance' with 'millennials' and crying inside. Seeing misconceptions on the efficacy of social media rise. 

Named Outsider as, like Outsider Art, we observed that no/informal training cultivates greater instinct and disregard for 'rules' and established systems.

    
Jess is a pseudonym to keep the digital footprint of our real identity to zero.

Born 1991 but knowing better than old man CEO's.

Secret Access to past issues here.



 
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