What does identity mean in today’s society ? How do you define yourself as a person ? Is it more difficult to have a sense of self in this booming era of media culture ?
All of these pondering questions were arising in my mind when I was reading David Buckingham’s: Introducing Identity. I found that a lot of his theories in regards to identity and how young people often have a battle with ‘finding themselves’, applicable to the media and how they stereotype and portray certain idealistic fantasies through different media outlets. He stated that identity is something unique to each of us and being able to define yourself and separate yourself from others is important to us as we like to be able to distinguish ourselves from others. I believe that the the rise of social media such as Instagram and Twitter has made young people feel more insecure about being themselves, evidently having a fear to show their true identity.
The reading had a really interesting statement in relation to how I think the media has an affect on young people of this generation. ‘I am the product of my unique personal biography, yet who I am varies according to who I am with. I think that platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, which I previously mentioned have created a frenzy within young people where they have a constant battle with comparing themselves to others which creates low self esteem. For example there has been a rise in the amount of people who do make-up tutorials online, whereby the application of layers of different products can make you look like a totally different person. People who may not be comfortable with their appearance could hide behind this and it could shy away from their true identity.
Bauman was mentioned in the reading and he argued that identity only becomes an issue when it is threatened or contested in some way and needs to be explicitly asserted. I agree with this as I think when someone is questioning your identity, or making you feel less in any way, you could start to have an issue with who you are as a person. For example if the media is associating negative labels and connotations with how you see yourself you could start to become more insecure and have an identity crisis, especially as an impressionable young person. Another point in the reading which is in relation to my previous point, was that young people have diverse ways in which they interpret digital media and they reflect these interpretations by trying to identify which a specific subculture, as essentially the media subliminally tells us that we need to belong to a certain category. It is all about being accepted.
To conclude I agree with a lot of what was said in the reading. I think that young people have a hard time with identifying themselves as sometimes the media likes to categorise young people and this in turn can lead us feeling like we can’t be our complete selves in fear of not being accepted. Like Guaffman says we all have front stage behaviour which is the self we present to our peers and our backstage behaviour which is apparently our true identity.