The complex makeup of the identity Essay Example
The complex makeup of the identity Essay Example

The complex makeup of the identity Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1228 words)
  • Published: August 10, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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The passage examines the intricate nature of Identity and delves into the perceptions individuals have of themselves as well as how others perceive them. It also raises inquiries about whether identity is unalterable or subject to change. In the 1930s, George Herbert Mead advanced the notion that our perception of self and society's perception jointly shape our identities. According to Mead, interactions with others within our social environment contribute to the formation of our identities.

The text emphasizes the significance of how we are perceived by others based on our personality, clothing, words, and behavior. The author argues that selecting what to wear is not just about fashion but also a means of projecting our identity. As per the author's viewpoint, our attire can establish a distinct identity that sets us apart from others. Erving Goffman further supports this notion by suggesting that our individualitie


s are influenced by societal roles and daily routines. For example, society expects individuals in different roles such as mothers, students, or doctors to fulfill their respective responsibilities which not only shapes their identity but also links their personal and social aspects of self.

The definition of individuality has been debated by social scientists, considering influences such as gender, societal category, nationality, physical appearance, faith, and ethnicity. In the context of societal category, "category" refers to a group of people who share the same economic position based on their occupation and income. Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Max Weber (1864-1920) have provided two main theories discussing the relationship between societal category and our individualities. Both theories highlight that category is interconnected with capitalism in the economic structure. However, Marx's theory predicts conflict and clas

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consciousness within society through collective individuality due to the emergence of two opposing classes: bourgeoisie (ruling class) and proletariat (working class). This conflict arises as large businesses eliminate or oppress small-scale capitalists like store owners and self-employed individuals.

Weber's notion of societal classification is conveyed as stratification, emphasizing the segmentation of roles within a specific institution. This partition pertains to a collective of people who possess comparable origins, interests, and avenues for earnings via labor or commerce. These diverse groupings, each with unique market conditions, give rise to disparities and inequities rooted in their social standing. These divisions either constrain or privilege individuals in terms of their ability to attain an improved standard of living encompassing housing, healthcare, education, employment, and income.

Gender, an important aspect of one's identity, is greatly influenced by societal constructs and can impact individuality in diverse ways across societies. Society often assigns certain traits as masculine or feminine, linking gender with social influence. Activities like childcare, homemaking, and cleaning tend to be associated with femininity, whereas occupations like police work, construction, and football have traditionally been connected to masculinity. Nevertheless, gender roles are becoming less rigid due to the decline of industries such as coal mining that were historically seen as male-dominated professions.

Many workforces now include nurses, and many women are becoming mechanics and builders. Gender constraints affect individuals in various ways, often creating conflicts between societal expectations and personal desires. Society, equal groups, employers, and parents all have the power to either promote or restrict opportunities and aspirations based on gender.

The household teaches gender individuality through the roles of parents as role models and through play with toys like dolls or

soldiers. Girls are encouraged to cook while boys are encouraged to use tools. Additionally, certain colors are taught to be "gender appropriate".

Traditionally, the color pink was associated with girls and blue was associated with boys. Girls were often discouraged from pursuing educational achievement, instead being directed towards marriage and domestic duties. In contrast, boys were encouraged to excel academically and become successful providers. Society believed that children had natural predispositions towards certain physical or mental activities based on their gender.

This can affect their career ambitions from a young age. Boys are increasingly falling behind in education. Education is no longer seen as masculine and lacks attractiveness. Girls have become the leading achievers in academic abilities and are now appreciated as part of "girl power".

Both employment and gender have significant societal influence. In society, if a male child shows femininity, they are often considered suitable for careers like dancing or hairdressing. Conversely, if a female displays masculinity, she is commonly associated with traditional professions such as being a gym teacher or police officer. Additionally, religion plays a crucial role in shaping gender identity by promoting beliefs that position men as superior to women. This can be viewed as a disguised form of politics.

Some faiths allow for bigamy, which ultimately diminishes the status of women. Culture plays a significant role in shaping gender identity, with certain cultures encouraging women to be submissive and lacking assertiveness, while others push women towards achieving a positive social standing.

In essence, societal constructions greatly impact gender individuality as it cannot exist or develop independent of them. Just as gender interacts with societal constructions, identity involves a relationship between individuals and society. However,

the modern media has a significant influence on societal class and gender identity. It presents us with the ultimate perspective of what is considered the "norm" and perpetuates images and values that constantly change. These can be seen in advertisements or promotions by popular celebrities, whom I refer to as "Z category celebs" because their fame solely comes from being in the media spotlight. This mass globalization or "McDonaldization" phenomenon, where there is a McDonald's restaurant nearly everywhere you find Westernized society, represents our current idealized reality. The media plays a crucial role in shaping "consumer identity."

The media and corporate ideas constantly guide us on how to move, look, and experience life, as well as what to buy and when. Despite media influence being criticized for promoting a collective identity over individuality, modern society provides more choices. This enables individuals to shape their own lifestyles and cultures, influencing how they are perceived by society. The concepts of postmodernity indicate a fusion of high and popular culture, offering a diverse range of cultural forms to choose from.

We constantly consume civilization in a routine way. The internet, newspapers, and television offer us constant access to knowledge whenever we want it, providing us with real-time information. These mediums greatly affect the decisions we make on a daily basis regarding our cultural affiliation. Therefore, I firmly believe that our core identity does exist. This identity is formed and influenced by various factors like ethnicity, gender, social class, and emotions during our upbringing from birth until adolescence.

It will help you discover your true self, including your personality, behavior, and preferences such as music and food choices. As you start becoming

aware of society, you begin to shape your public image and strive for acceptance in a specific social group. You may hide certain aspects of your core identity in order to fit in and conform to societal norms. This could range from simply wearing a suit for work, to pretending to like a certain genre of music, or even completely disregarding your own beliefs and values just to belong.

You will need to present a small part of your authentic self to be accepted, but not enough to be rejected completely.

Reference & Bibliography

  1. Sociology Themes and Perspectives ( Seventh Edition )
  2. Woodward 2004
  3. Bob Bradford, Lincoln College 2009
  4. Marx & Engels 1848
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