Identity

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The readings this week were interesting; identity is a hard thing to describe. What makes ones identity? Where does it come from? Can you change it whenever you want to? In the first article the author describes identity as a collection of traits, these traits can be physical part of the body, a belief, a genealogy, or even a cultural preference. The author explains that by placing people into categories labeled with these different traits, it depleted a person’s individuality. It is hard to know who a person truly is if they are labeled from a single trait. One trait that I find myself being labeled occasionally is by my hair color. My hair color is blonde, and blondes hold the stereotype of being academically challenged. I however am very intelligent, and it makes me angry when people use the phrase, “you are such a blonde”. I however am lucky because I can always change my hair color. Some people don’t have it that easy. I am from the United States and an example of skewed social identity is terrorism. After September 11th it was nearly impossible for someone of middle-eastern decent to board an airplane without being harassed. It is hard for people, especially people who have personally felt affected by the tragedy, to remove the cultural identity of middle-eastern people from the social identity of a terrorist. I have experienced a new side of identity categorizing being a study abroad student in Australia. It is lucky that so many people are warm and welcoming to Americans in Australia, at least to our faces, however being lumped into the cultural category of an American can have its affect on they way if not openly, subconsciously people see us.
The next article brought the turn identity into a technological context, with the use of self-branding. Self-branding is what a person chooses to wear, how they choose to act, what organizations they choose to belong to as a way of identifying themselves to the people around them. A good example of this would be Facebook. I am a member of facebook and all of my friends are. I have a section called info, which allows an individual to see that I am a single white female, that I am catholic, and that I have two brothers. There is also a section from favorite movies, books, hobbies, etc. Everything that I write on my facebook affects how people see me. The photos that I am tagged in are a direct representation of myself. Many of my friends have changed their names on facebook, made their photos private, or completely gotten rid of facebook all together because it is senior year and most are getting internships and jobs. They want their future employers to see them as responsible, hardworking, and trustworthy, which is hard when half of their pictures involve drinking and/or partying. Our generation has already been labeled by adults as lazy, easily distracted, anti-authority, etc. A lot of these qualities seem to come from the growing reliance on technology. News can be checked on cell phones, and I can watch my favorite TV show on my computer while writing a report. Everything now a days is faster, easily accessible, and convient. Does that make our generation lazy? Or are we just using technology in the advantageous ways it was meant to be?

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