Is Imitation Really the Best Form of Flattery?

It’s been a known saying throughout the world since the 1800s, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” This saying is a bastardization of Oscar Wilde’s famous quote. It’s the idea that if someone is dressing like you or acting like you, it means they want to be like you. You should take them imitating you as a compliment. And in most instances, this can very much be true. But there’s one issue that has come up recently that’s made me question, “Is imitation really the best form of flattery?”

Fair warning, this article has a lot to do with non-binary topics and gender identity, so if you’d rather not read on, I understand.

This topic came about for me after the whole non-binary movement sprung to the forefront of our society. There are people out there truly struggling with their identity and those who are loud and proud celebrating their gender identity, and I am all for this discovery and celebration. What I am not all for, however, are the people latching onto it for attention or as a way to make themselves feel as if they are special or different.

It’s a topic that’s not too unfamiliar to me. Growing up, my first relationship was with a woman, and I struggled with society’s inability to accept me for who I was because of who I loved. And it pains me to say that there are girls out there who are not gay in the slightest who will still flirt with women in certain settings just to turn a guy on, and I think it’s gross. I’ve seen these straight women imitate lesbians to get with men, and to someone who has struggled with loving other women, it doesn’t leave me with a positive feeling.

But that’s not what this article is about.

I’ve known two people in my life who have fully made the transition from a woman into a man. They have passionately felt that they were born into the wrong bodies their entire lives- enough so that they struggled until they finally decided to fully make the change. I watched these women become the men they were destined to be, and I was so proud for them. To see someone fight so hard to be who they want to become- it’s a beautiful thing. And yes, it IS a fight. There are so many issues that arise when one is making the change that many are blind to.

One of my friends, I’m sad to say, suffered so much from this fight that it eventually ended with him dead. He was finally able to be himself fully and completely for just a short while before he DIED. That’s how high the stakes can be. The struggle for gender identity is REAL.

Now, here’s where things get unbelievable. I’ve had someone tell me that they identify as ‘non-binary’ (unpassionately so) and are doing it because it’s ‘what everyone is doing’. I’ve heard people say, ‘Maybe I’ll try it.’ like it’s a fad. I’ve seen firsthand people doing this for attention, not for a passion to be who they really are. So, when I see some people loudly making noise about being gender fluid, people who are very aggressive about it yet who are doing so just to imitate what they are seeing, to try and ‘feel special’, it sickens me. In that case, I have to reiterate, imitation is not the best form of flattery. In fact, in this situation, I feel they are taking away from the cause of the people who are really struggling, the ones who are fighting tooth and nail to be and celebrate who they really are.

I applaud anyone capable and willing to unapologetically fight to be who they truly are- whatever that means to them. The people impassionately imitating to imitate, I have no respect for. So, please, be the best version of you that you can be… but don’t imitate just to imitate. Don’t join the crowd to take away from someone’s important cause, instead, join their parade and raise them up, support them in their struggles by stepping back and allowing them their moment to shine. It doesn’t always have to be your moment. And imitation is not always the best form of flattery.

Malorie Mackey

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer based out of Los Angeles, California. Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book. Stay tuned as Malorie travels the world bringing its beauty and wonder to you.

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