Monday, March 19, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about identity recently, how it's formed, what it's made of. It seems that one's identity is a patchwork of self-assessment, societal labels, and scientific jargon. It all comes together to describe a person, but one's identity is never really who they are. They are more, much more than a bundle of ideas and words. Who I am is more than a demographic and a statistic.

But this does not mean that the labels that make up our identities are without value. Knowing how I am defined -- by myself and by others -- could be very useful for discovering who I am, why you am who I am, and how I got that way. Thus, I have tried to map out my identity along some major categories:

Category Identity Evidence Comments
sex male unambiguous male genitalia, male hormones, and masculine body/facial structure By “unambiguous” I mean readily identifiable and of adequate proportion and reasonable placement. And no, I don’t want to hear any dissenting opinions.
gender man view men as equals and opponents, objectify women, strive for self-reliance, am prone to violence, suppress emotional responses, prefer to communicate in terms of logical reasoning, view sex as power This one was a hard one, and I’m not sure I completely got it. Gender, as I’ve tried to define it here, is a construct of society. I tried to ask myself what traits I posses, positive or negative, that identify someone as a “man” in modern American.
sexual orientation non-deviant heterosexual perform sexual acts solely with and desire only opposite-sex sex partners I added the "non-deviant" with some reservations. By "deviant" I do not mean to say that what others may choose to do is bad or wrong. "Non-deviant," in this case, is a reference to the fact that I do not participate in any non-heterosexual activities. There are some people who engage in some homosexual acts, but are predominantly (morally, mentally, physically, or whatever the cause) heterosexual -- these I would consider to be "deviant" heterosexuals. Likewise, there are those who are homosexual who may, for whatever reason, perform heterosexual acts: deviant homosexuals. I'm not sure what the middle ground would be.
sexuality straight am uncomfortable with personal physical intimacy with same-sex/gender, refuse same-sex/gender sexual advances, approach only opposite sex/gender for sexual acts This differs from "sexual orientation," in my mind, in that "sexual orientation" is what a person desires and "sexuality" is what a person actually practices.
race Caucasian am descended solely from European Caucasians This is true as far as I know.
heritage white was brought up in a light-skinned family that claimed no inter-racial ancestors, think of people as white unless otherwise noted as "black," "Asian," etc. I had trouble with this one. My evidence seems forced.
class status middle-class had my essential needs taken care of (and them some) while growing up, have a sustainable sustainable lifestyle, do not have an overwhelming amount of debt, have a post-high school education Although I don't know exactly what demarcates the different classes, I think it's fairly easy to identify them.
religion non-affiliated do not attend any religious service, do not appreciate circular logic and self-aggrandizement often associated with religion I almost wrote "post-Christian" for this one. By this I would have meant that I still appreciate the mythology and literature of Christianity, but do not necessarily believe that any of it is true or particularly relevant to my or any other modern life.
spiritual belief agnostic believe that there is some purpose to my life and human life in general, do not know or particularly care to know the source or scope of this purpose "Agnostic" means "without knowing." For me, agnosticism is not only not knowing what greater power may or may not exist, but also being content in not knowing. Atheism is too adamant for my tastes.
political party affiliation Libertarian oppose the recent fusing of Republican party with the religious right, find many Democratic viewpoints too socialistic, oppose overreaching government involvement in my personal and business life and the lives of others I've never voted Libertarian, nor am I registered. I would have very recently aligned myself with the Democratic party, but some recent political reading has led me to realize that I would like our nation to pursue the tenets of the Libertarian party platform: less government, more personal responsibility.
political ideology conservative believe that government money should be collected in equal shares and should only be spent on services that benefit or can be enjoyed by every citizen, would prefer less government to the point of anarchy rather than more government to the point of socialism I recently told someone, much to their chagrin, that I am more closely an Anarchist than an espouser of a republic or a democracy. If a representative government is equally likely to slide into either an all-governing socialism or free-for-all anarchy, I'll choose anarchy.

1 comment:

  1. You should check out some of the newer findings in the field of cognitive science---especially in the interdiciplinary borders of cognitive criticism. Lots of cool ideas about the invisible process that we don't often recognize when we "percieve" things. Wordsworth and memory, in regards to "self" construction and ideas pop up alot.



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