COMS201 Fall 2011

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Lecture 3

Filed under: Uncategorized October 4, 2011 @ 10:46

To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

How much control over your own identity do you have?

Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?


  1. nathanking:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    I believe that our identity is shaped by others in many ways and who we are is in fact a direct reflection of our experiences and the people in those experiences. For example someone who is raised in an environment that places value on a particular aspect or moral you are far more likely to develop that aspect as an important part of your identity. If you consistently spend time with people who do very well in school you will feel the need to also do well in school to fit in with them. However, particularly in this culture and age group, have a lot of control over our situation and have the freedom to choose what people we allow to influence our identity and in turn we are in fact, consciously or sub-consciously, choosing our own identity.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    As above, I believe that we have significant control over our identity, particularly in this culture and this age group. The influence others have on our identity is restricted by which others we allow to effect our identity. If there are particular people we do not want to effect our identity then we can simply not allow them to do so, even by not being around those people. Even though it may sometimes be difficult to take control over our identity and who we are we always have the option to do so.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?
    Ever since I was young I have done quite well in school. I always felt pressure to continue to do well in school because this was a trait that was applied to me and I should live up to this expectation. I would not say that there was an improper judgement cast upon me but it was a “normalized” view of who I should be. I have been quite grateful of this “normalized” view because it has given me motivation to overcome challenges, particularly in school.

  2. Alan Dockrill:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I have always thought of myself as a very independent thinker, not subject to the influence or opinion of others. However, after doing the deep dive in to the self identity chapter and lecture I am beginning to question if I really have as much control over my identity as I thought. I suppose the perception of others inevitably shapes my identity and life direction. Perception does become reality in a way, even if that perception of me from others does not coincide with my perception of myself.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    The individual does have ultimate control over how they describe their own identity. However, reality is your identity is often defined by others and their perceptions or labels of who and what you are. Ultimately, the identity others place on you effectively becomes your identity in the world. Also your internalized subconscious identity is often directly shaped by others, even though it may be in direct conflict with your concious description of your own identity.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    Often I am improperly categorized as “shy” or one who is too timid to express their mind. This is due to the fact that I am often quieter and less vocal than what is considered “normal”. Internally I feel as though I am someone who just voices their opinion or speaks up on a subject when I have something important to say on it. I don’t feel the need to speak to hear the sound of my own voice or to fill silence. This selectiveness, or quiet nature, is often misconstrued by others as shyness.

  3. Moira Duley:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    I believe that identity is always changing and adapting to the environment in which it is a part of. In saying this, I think that every individual has many different sides or personas that create an entire identity. For example, a person would have a different attitude and demeanour on a hockey team with people they had known their whole life, versus a hockey team with people they had only known for five minutes. The belief that people mirror who they associate with is key in understanding how much others influence our identity, and I believe that this is a true statement. I personally change my attitude when being with my family to create an identity that is more likely to suit my parents’ idea of who they think that I should be. Ultimately, I think that our actions as individuals pertain to those around us and are influenced by the way others percieve us to be. However, I hope that we still have the ability to create and change our own conceptualized idea of ourself.
    How much control over your identity do you have?
    Speaking to the general population, I feel that how much control over your identity is dependent on how much self-esteem and self-awareness that individual has. This form of control, however, is limited to the simplest level of interaction between others. For example, the idea of peer pressure is something that others can force on us in an blatant attempt to alter our identity. By avoiding or succumbing to peer pressure, this changes our identity. On the other hand, there are subliminal means of others shaping our identity that individuals are not aware of, and thus are unable to control.
    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?
    In all honesty, this probably happens more often than I realize, there is just less chance of me catching it and understanding what’s going on. One time that stood out to me was when I was being scouted for a soccer team. The head coach came to watch us play during provincials of my under 18 season and we were playing for a spot in the finals. During the game I had scored two goals, but I had also hacked a girl down pretty hard and gotten a yellow card. It was pretty dirty, but it was something that I didn’t do very often. However, after the game the head coach came up to me and the one thing that he drew away from the game was that I could be a “goon” for him. I hated the prospect of that, and was very frustrated that the rest of my play was ignored due to a single action on the field. The coach had lumped me into a category of what I thought to be lesser skilled, bigger boned, and ultimately just not the person or played I wanted to be. After months of training, his perception changed but it was very difficult to alter his normalized idea of who I was.

  4. KelseyMcCay:

    1. I believe that our identity reflects those of the people around us. This can be seen on many levels. The Canadian identity that we all share in regards to the global society is separate from that of the United Sates. Similarly, our identity as Albertans and further more Calgarians is much different from those in Toronto or Vancouver. We are proud to be where we are from, we know what the people in our society value as opposed to those elsewhere and we in turn adopt those values. Also, our family identity is greatly influential. If you are raised Catholic, you will most likely assume the role put forward by the Catholic church and so on. Our friends also shape who we are by influencing our decisions. Societal pressures and expectations shape who we are as well.

    2. I believe we do have some control over our identity because we have the freedom of choice. We do not have to follow the influence of our friends if we do not want to. If you are raised Catholic, you can choose whether you want to live that Catholic lifestyle and attend church or disagree with their policies and find your own path in life. Although we do have control, I think it is limited because it is human nature to want to belong to a group, which group that is may differ, but your identity will be shaped by whichever group you follow.

    3. In my life I think of myself as two different people. When Im at school I am focused, try to concentrate on my studies, and dont talk very much. But outside of school I am loud, outgoing, like to always be doing something, and talk to everyone. When people who meet me through school they think I am probably not much fun outside of school until they actually spend time with me in the different setting. When traveling I noticed people had a certain image of Canadians, even Albertans, that we didnt get along with people from Quebec and we are all cowboys. I had to keep explaining to people that I have no problem with people from Quebec, my father is from Quebec and I am not a cowboy, neither are my parents, in fact, I dont even like country music.

  5. CaitlinSimpson:

    1. My identity was shaped more so by other when I was younger but not so much anymore. Now, people can shape my identity by revealing positive things about the world that maybe I had not noticed before, but they never shape my identity in a negative way.

    2. I believe that we ultimately have control over our own identity but certain things such as culture definitely influence it.

    3. I have had many experiences like this, mostly when i’m travelling and i’m expected to fit under the norm of “the Canadian” ..although if there was a norm id like to be categorized under, it’s this one.

  6. Brooklyn:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I feel my identity is shaped by others to an extent. For instance, my parents are Scottish and Ukrainian. Therefore, I am also Scottish and Ukrainian. I make an effort to convey myself as the person I want to be, and the identity I would like others to see. However, I cannot control the perceptions people have of me, or the way in which people receive my communicative messages. Inevitably, aspects of my life are controlled by others. When I go to dance, I act as I should at dance. At school, I am more reserved and attentive. Therefore, my identity is changing in particular social settings as my life progresses.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    I like to believe people control the person they want to be. However, I believe one cannot control the perceptions others have. For instance, I try to convey myself as an honest person with a good work ethic. Other people I socialize with in a social setting may see me as goofy and outgoing. To a certain extent, we all have freedom to our decisions which can alter the perceptions people have of us. For example, my parents were raised Baptist Christian. I prefer to study different types of religion before committing to a particular religion. Ultimately, my identity is shaped by the choice I have made. In other aspects, I cannot control my physical appearance, the way others see me, and the way I have been raised. All things that shape my identity are either in my control, or completely in the hands of others.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    There have been many times where I have been improperly judged based on a “normalized conception”. For instance, I am a very competitive person. I have a fairly good work ethic and try my best regardless of the situation. When I am in a social setting I am very outgoing and goofy. At one point, my friends boyfriend commented that I must be “intellectually lacking” because I came off goofy. This gave him a perception that I was not a very smart person. It was a little disappointing that someone perceived me in this way. The good thing about perception is that it can be different to everyone.

  7. Graham C:

    Personally, I believe identity is almost completely based on others. While probably not strictly based off one person, you decide and form who you are due to observations you make of others. These other can be friends and family, but also people in the media. Interactions also form your identity because if a specific characteristic or mannerism that you often use always garners a negative response, it is likely that you will stop acting on it.

    You do have control of your identity. While people often influence it, your opinions and interests will help you to develop a individual identity. For example if you are a really big New Zealand Rugby fan, you may wear an All Blacks Jersey around, thus identifying with the national team you feel an allegiance to.

    Walking around the campus with a skateboard under my arm, it seems like there are negative perceptions of me. Really its just a fun mode of transportation and the negative aura it creates is unfortunate. I do realize that skateboarders don’t have a glimmering persona attached to them, but it is still a judgement based on a extremely small part of the person who is holding it. On the positive side though, I typically get a little bit of extra space on the C Train.

  8. James McDonall:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    Less and less as I get older, although I’m still constrained to behave myself. I continually strive for the things that will at least make me feel unique in the world – even if that uniqueness is not factual. I strive for independence, for courage (specifically to do what I want rather than give in all the time) and for the self-respect that comes from knowing I did the best I could, no matter what. But here’s the thing: no matter what I do – or what I think is different about what I’m doing – I’m still a gopher like all the other gophers, popping my head out of the ground every once in a while to look around, make a noise, and chew on my nuts. And wow – there are so many \gophers\ now that it’s really getting quite noisy out here.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    As much as I can arrange. I am who I am. I like what I like, and I feel the way I feel, whether that’s popular or not.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    Definitely. Examples? Everyone I know has had an idea of what I should do and be at one time or another. Relatives, friends, they’re all just as guilty. Of course, I don’t punish them for it (anymore) because I know they have my best interests at heart. When I was younger I resented it, but I grew out of that and finally cut them a break.

  9. kennethblake:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    -I believe that my identity is very powerfully molded by those around me and the people that I grew up around. I was born into a very family oriented community, where everyone was everyone else’s aunt or uncle. So I was surrounded by people who constantly looked at me as Rick and Euphemia’s son who they desperately wanted to be successful, God fearing and polite. I was reminded of my manners at every turn, and prodded toward university, and knew about “WWJD” before it became a slogan on a t-shirt. Those three things still form my view of the world and is a part of who I am.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    -I have some control over that. I keep my feelers out and take on that which I like, and reject that which I don’t care for, or what makes me uncomfortable. And I turn out to be known for what I do and don’t like. For instance, I am a fan of the Stampeders, but can’t stand the Flames. I may live in Calgary, but I don’t identify with all of its iconography.

    2.Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    -My name is Kenneth Blake. I was born in Canada, and educated in here. I am a husband of one, and a father of one on the way. I work for a financial institution and teach Bible classes at a local church.

    I am also black.

    I have found that there is a negative stigma to having dark skin. Some people avoid you as if you had the plague, others watch you ready for any sort of action. Mind you some people don’t really care that my skin color is a little darker, but it hurts when the Others show it. I deal with this silent prejudice every day. I have learned not to lash out at the ignorance that some persons project. They expect me to speak in Ebonics and love loud rap music like what is stereo-typically projected on TV and media everyday. I am disinclined to both.

    As I have recently tweeted, I have often been on the bus or train minding my own business (often with a book in my hand or music in my ears) and as it became more and more crowded, people would be forced to stand. I had a seat next to me, closer to the aisle, but often people would rather stand than sit down. Am I look some sort of thug or hooligan? No. Do I look like I want to rob you or cause you harm? I certainly hope not. I’m just trying to get home to my family after a long day; I am not your enemy.

  10. Alva-Marie Pailer:

    Identity is largely determined by others. Although the individual is responsible for interpreting ideas and adopting concepts as they see fit, it is the people around us who determine what we experience (either wilfully or passively); and therefore, what we have the opportunity to interpret and adopt. This being said however, each experience can be viewed in countless different perspectives it is up to the individual to choose how to view it and react to it. In this way, our control over our own identity is limited.

    I have definitely been improperly judged. Because of the hardship I faced as a youth most people who knew me predicted I would not go as far as finishing high school and would continue working in fast food for the rest of my life. These people are shocked to hear about both my professional and academic accomplishments.

  11. Kevin:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I think our identity is shaped tremendously by others. I know myself, I have my parents as huge influence in life. I also act differently around different friends. I wear my hair and clothes a certain way that is deemed socially acceptable. Things people have said to me and about me, even if they were in passing years ago, continue to affect me to this day.

    Still though, I maintain a level of control regardless. I know what I like, who I like, and what I want to do, without any outside influence. I cheer for an obscure hockey team, watch obscure movies, and geek out about stuff like a little kid sometimes. Not all of these follow the social norms set out in front of us.

  12. Roland K:

    I often change my identity when I associate with different people, though not to fit what others want me to be but rather what I want to be to other people. I take on roles that I feel would be most beneficial to my own standing in that particular group. Mostly it works to shirk off responsibility.

    However, I don’t feel that my identity is directly changed by the people I’m with, but rather by societal norms and rules. No one person tells me what to do and how to behave, but the generalized idea of how a person “should” behave shapes how I live.

  13. Brittney:

    I think my identity is very much shaped by the people I associate with. My family has made me the person I am today, good and bad. I think my longtime friends have helped smooth out my personality a bit, but it isn’t always people that change who I am, it can also be events. I think the longer someone has been in your life the more effect they have on you, even if it wasn’t the outcome they were counting on.

    I was misjudged by my parents when I moved out of the house. My mom said I would be back within three months because she thought I was incapable of being responsible after the years of living with me. Yet here I am two years later, laughing at her. Sure I was misjudged, but it was my determination to prove her wrong that kept me on such a straight path.

    Other people can change your identity, but you decide how they are going to change it.

  14. Dan:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    As much as it would affect your thoughts on the subject as equal to how it would affect others’ impressions as well.

    One thing to consider of course would be involving social heirarchy – If doctor ‘a’ receives a letter from doctor ‘b’ who is referring a patient to doctor ‘a’ and is providing background information regarding the patient’s competence to professional advice and how much they seem to care about their own health as well as how honest or dishonest the patient seems, chances are that doctor ‘a’ will highly consider the opinion of doctor ‘b’, even though doctor ‘a’ will still ultimately form his own opinion once establishing his own doctor/client relationship.

    But if baby bear tells mama bear that man in the woods is stressin him out mama bear’s opinion on man in the woods might be set right then and there.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    Enough, I would like to think, sure we are all born a certain way and others will be able to create their own impression of you, but I think the key is to not get too worked up over what others will think in the end as stress is a killer and as long as you try to conduct and portray yourself in a respectable manner there shouldn’t be a huge problem here.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    All the time

  15. Jing Jing Yang:

    1.To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    I completely believe that my identity is shaped by others. In fact, I didn’t drill even a litter bit deeper until I came to Canada. When I was in China, my friends and classmates around me ever thought about such identity thing; although we already prepared a lot to get into university. What I mean is we don’t have such a strong feeling, at best, we feel glad to see Chinese gain more golds on different kinds of competition. It’s might because we have no chance to considerate it carefully. Now, I’m in Canada. People may not always identify who you are and where you are from. They might misunderstand me as a Japanese or Korean. Once it happens, I try to rectify them immediately. Even every time when I pass the consulate in downtown and see the five-starred red flag, a special emotion is just filling with my heart. That’s all I didn’t experience before. In this case, I totally consider that our identity is always changing with environment.
    2.How much control over your own identity do you have?
    Everyone is dependent and different exist on this world. We love live whatever we want and be ourselves in which way we hope, especially in such age group. Although people on the society and parents may influence us more or less, the qualities about what we are and what kind of person we want be are still difficult to change.
    3.Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?
    To be honest, this kind of thing really happened to me in high school. I have done well both in Science and Art. Until second year, we had to choose one filed to focus on. I got lots of pressure from my parents because they thought I was such trait person who perfect study in Science area. They just judged me based on a “normalized” view as what they thought I should be. It’s actually fortunately I insisted to follow myself so that I can study what I interested later.

  16. Mark P:

    I believe that as human beings our identities are shaped more so by those whom we associate with than by any other single factor be it our family, friends, teammates co-workers, classmates, teachers, etc. When we are young we have little choice. They say we are what we eat, and by extension we are who we hang out with, or more pertinently, we are a conglomerate of all those who surround us, be it a crazy uncle, sympathetic grandmother, or charismatic teacher. Our families are laid out before us without our input, and our friends are picked for us as well. A child has little choice in this matter. Therefore, our identities as young people are laid out without our consent. But, as we grow older we have the power to change who we are around, be it adding people to our inner circle or removing people from our inner circle, we decide who surrounds us thus we choose whom we allow to shape our identity.
    I am proud to be a Polish Canadian. My grandparents on my father’s side fled the communism of that country following World War 2 and moved to Canada, the world’s greatest country. I have a Polish last name, (Pierzchajlo) complete with a silent “z” and more consonances than is acceptable in North America. However, that doesn’t mean that you can come up to me and start speaking Polish like I’m a native Polonian (that cant’ be right). Don’t assume that I speak the language, or that I grew up in Poland and know the economic and political history of the country. In fact, I’ve never even been to Poland, nor have I even crossed the Atlantic. Sure, it’s someplace I’d love to go, and a heritage I’m supremely proud of, but, don’t expect that my frame of reference is the same as yours. I’m a Canadian, just like everybody else. The rest is window dressing.

  17. Jennifer K. Blezard:

    I think that we are a combination of our biology and our socialization. While we are socialized by family, peers, school, media etc. as we grow up, who we are is fluid and can change. This is dictated by who we choose to interact with. I think there are some pre determinates, but also we do have a choice about the kind of person we want to be. This may not be an EASY choice – sometimes it’s much more simple to fall into learned patterns. But I think a truly critical factor here is self-awareness. This can come again through who we choose to interact with. When we see ourselves through the eyes of others, in order to truly grow, we need to ask ourselves “do I like what I am seeing? Why or why not?” I think it’s important to note that when I say this I’m not referring to peer pressure – eg Bob should not be wearing MC Hammer balloon pants because they’re so over – but more: when you are interacting with your social peers, are you in conflict a lot or do you just ‘go with the flow’ and avoid ‘rocking the boat’? How well do you get along and in what ways – is it intellectual or physical? What are the influencing factors here?
    I don’t think we are solely the product of our environment but a combination of nature and nurture. Take for example people who are psycho/sociopathic. If you read about it, sometimes these personalities emerge from troubled back grounds (cliché here) and other times, they come from perfectly well adjusted and loving backgrounds. You can’t always “blame the parents” and contrarily sometimes you can say well this can be explained because so and so grew up locked in a closet.
    Without getting overly personal, I have at times experienced that others were improperly judging my identity based on a “normalized” conception. I worked a summer job as a receptionist and the guys in my office were constantly telling me to “smile” or “don’t look so pissed off”. The fact of the matter is that I don’t walk around with a grin plastered on my face 24/7 and have found that because I’m not a “cheerleader” personality, people often misconstrue a focused look of concentration for one of being angry (this is one I’m still trying to figure out – let’s face it, it’s not really flattering). But I refuse to walk around like a Barbie doll just so that people are more comfortable in interacting with me. I smile when it’s warranted not just so that I come across as the stereotypical “perky” person (which there’s nothing wrong with, it’s just not who I am).

  18. orkhan.suleymanov:

    In my country our community is so different and you have to do everything with society’s rules. So my identity sahed a lot of thimes with others. I think parents and siblign can give us some advices but they can not make a shapr. But in my country even your neighbourds can give a shape to your behavior, future and so on. But when i began to understand the life, i just ignored all of them. I just listen to my parents important advices,they are so significant to me. Also i did not listen to comments of community on me.Because all of them are parts of normalization and generalization.So now i have my own identity and i make my own decisions and atatements..:)

  19. MeghanRoskaft:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I think our identities are completely shaped by others. This might be a bleak outlook however I don’t think it needs to be. For example, what does our identity matter unless it is in response or reaction to the environment (including people) around us? Plus I think our “identity” is quite a vague term. My “identity” can only exist if there are others around to interpret what my identity is.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    Although I believe our identity to be shaped completely by others, I believe it is our choice to make in what way we are shaped. For example, if I am feeling persuaded by a family member to act a certain way, I can choose to follow this persuasion or to rebel against it. Regardless, I think we are forced to continually make these kinds of decisions (obviously these choices can be much more complex) and cannot achieve an existence in a neutral environment – meaning we may have choices, but we may only have choices within an environment that we did not and cannot choose.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    There have definitely been times when I have felt improperly judged. I must add the precursor however, that this does not mean judged negatively (unlike many of the comments from fellow students, thankfully!), simply improperly. For example, I have always be quite anxious to speak in public forums such as meetings at work and participation in classrooms. Often this can be interpreted by others as having nothing to say on a subject or that I am not paying attention or engaged in the discussion. This is usually not the case – usually I have plenty to say about such discussions but I am simply not comfortable speaking a larger group of people.

  20. CSR:

    @Meghan – So true, we often assume that “participation” must be marked by vocalization. I have often found that you cannot determine the level of engagement of a student based solely on their verbal communication. Often I have had the quietest students, or those that have difficulty speaking in public, achieve the best results on written assignments. I wonder where in our education history that a persons capacity to speak orally somehow became commensurate with academic ability.

  21. Fraser Flemons:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    -My identity, like others in our society, is formed partly by a mass perception of what is expected and accepted. This perception, in my opinion, is formed by media, government, and social trends. We can be individuals, however there are laws that we abide by in order to maintain a consistent level of behavior. Also, expectations emulated by the media and government rule social interaction. Media tells us how the attractive male and female body should look. Government (and media) controls who we marry. With all of these strict limitations and social pressures no one’s identity can be truly unique.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    -As stated before there are many factors which influence and control one’s identity. “How much” is a relative term in this context, it varies also. Certain aspects of my life are less impacted by these influences and therefore I feel that I have more control than in other situations. In most situations, identity is something that we can only control to a certain degree before becoming an outsider in the public eye.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    -Yes. This is the main source of fear which is associated with being isolated from social norms. I have an adopted sister from Ethiopia, and every year that she has been in Canada, we celebrate with a traditional Ethiopian meal with friends and family. Very recently, my girlfriend’s mother asked why we made Ethiopian food since it was such a pain. She said we should just stop making it and give my sister “Canadian food” so that she “adapted”. This ignorance was the result of a social conception which did not appreciate cultural roots, and the celebration of something which was not “normal”. Very frustrating and insulting to deal with!

  22. CSR:

    @Fraser, I really appreciated your comments about your adopted sister. In fact, I often wonder why we still have an “ethnic” aisle in the grocery store? At what point does a food, like spagetti, move from the category “ethnic” to the category “canadian.” Indeed, what assumptions about the “normalized” Canadian do we make when we make comments such as your mother’s friend? Very interesting point you raise.

  23. Sonia McRae:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    I think my identity is very much shaped by other’s influences on me. The media alone shapes the way I dress to a big extent, I’m always getting ideas from what I see in magazines and I feel like my personal style is a big part of who I am. I also believe that when I’m in the company of certain people different sides of my personality comes out, when I’m with my male friends I am much different than female friends. I have morals and personal values and others will not alter those, but for the most part I am what I am in the presence in.
    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    I have plenty of control, as noted above I’d admitted that the world does influence a lot of my actions but I believe that I have established my own morals and values and those are something no one has control over.
    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?
    I feel like being in the arts in university opens the doors to a lot of judgment because the world tends to value areas of math and science much more than language, philosophy and history. I spent a lot of time last year with engineering students and I do believe that I was judged with “not good enough” or “not smart enough” and my future would never be as bright as theirs. Their elitist attitude was difficult to deal with as it was completely ridiculous because the real world is a lot different than four years of post secondary.

  24. CSR:

    @Sonia M – I totally agree with your point, there are many social stigmas and stereotypes associated with what we choose to study. Consider the “typical” anthropology student versus the typical “engineer.” However, I am also often amazed that stereotypes seem as equally affirmed as they are contested. Is there room to make generalizations?

  25. Mikayla:

    I think there are many ways in which others shape our identity, especially at younger ages. I know for myself that my peers and friends have greatly affected who I am. I moved from the city to the country in grade 4, and often wonder what would have been different if I hadn’t moved. I would probably have different friends, slightly different interests, and maybe be at a different University. I also had a lot of great experiences traveling and definitely met some very fascinating people who played a big part in shaping who I am today. I think we all subtly act differently depending on who we are with in our day-to-day lives as well. I know I’m slightly different with my parents, than I am with my friends, or my siblings.
    Although we may not always get to choose whom we are with, at the end of the day we control who we want to be.

  26. CSR:

    @ Mikayla totally true, the differences in culture that we normally think of seem to most easily exist across borders. But in many cases, people living in a city in Canada would have more in common with people living in a city in another nation than with people living in the rural areas of either of those countries.

  27. shidashabanirad:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    It depends if you think about family and how your raised i believe it makes a huge difference in shaping who you are and what you know. Since your born and you open your eyes and can see and can hear your surrounded by the people who are around you and parents who are raising you and they tend to feed cultural values, and languages and etc into the child they have created and raised.

    Once the identity is formed, i think its still possible to be effected by other people. If you hang around smart people and study and spend most your time doing the things that your group of friends do .. it does affect you in the long term and changes the way you may see and do things.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    I think a a person has complete control over their identity and can make the decision of making it what they want it to be. you cannot force anybody to be someone their not, unless they choose to make that change within them selves.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    This is a common issue in our society. There is a normalized figure that has been established and anywhere beyond or before that, people tend to judge others. I come from a family where everyone is Doctors and dentists and surgeons and because I’ve always been more on the art side of things i did my grit degree in architecture and my second degree in communication and in some of the family events that we have, i can see the way some of these people might look at me or almost look down on me because i didn’t do what everyone else did in the family and look at medicine and arts in separate levels and looked down on me for doing what i wanted to do. Funny enough I’m happier than half those people and doing much better in life!

  28. CSR:

    @ shidashabanirad – it is very true what you say about ‘normalized’ notions of what it means to be a productive or successful member of society. Perhaps this is one of the areas in which our families place the most pressure on us.

  29. Jordan:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I feel that my identity is subconsciously shaped by others. An example would be when you catch yourself doing or saying something that is very similar to what your mom or dad would say in that situation. I have also had this often pointed out to me around family members on many occasions.

  30. Kadie:

    I believe your identity is shaped by others from the day you were born. As a child, we are grown to learn the ways and customs of our families. As we age, we come in contact with many more people throughout school and work. It is my personal belief that you take a little bit of each person you meet with you, which shapes who we are now.

    I feel like once you mature and grow, this is usually the time we all try to “find ourselves.” This may cause some rebellion against parents or authority, or it may not change a whole lot from how you were raised. Either way, the longer we are around, the more aware we are of ourselves, whether we want to tweak our identity or not.

    It happens every day for some people. I find it insulting to be thrown into a generalized perception, but then I catch myself doing it to others. I think a natural flaw we humans have is to categorize, judge, and group people. Not all blondes are dumb, not all Albertans are sopping in money, not all girls are “bad drivers” etc.

  31. Dan:

    @ Kadie:

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you say however I believe there are other factors to consider:

    Some believe in a saying that “life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”
    Now with that idea presented I think that it’s fair to say that while you said we are defined from birth, and most follow a predefined course set out by family, this may not be the case with all families. Some may be open to personal discourse, and allow the chance for their kids to institutionalize this independently. This doesn’t necesserily mean the needs for rebellion. This just may include, at worst, emotional support and encouragement yet no direct financial support, which is just fine for a lot of independent individuals. But yeah we are certainly defined and supported from a young age, and we definitely take into account what our peers think, but the minor adjustment I’d add to your statement is that self-discovery could possibly instead mean a level of self-creation without any need to rebel, especially if the foundational values and relationships are kept 🙂

  32. christinadruce:

    1. Our identity is shaped by others to a great extent, much more than we’d like it to be. Growing up we are told who/what we are and we are inclined to take it in without question because we don’t know any better. I grew up being told I was a certain way and I did not agree. To this day, I disagree with the character and identity assessments placed on me by my parents. I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to prove them wrong, but that’s clearly to benefit me and not them! As an adult I am now able to have conversations to get clarity if a friend says something that doesn’t fit in my own view of my identity, and you can take it or leave it, but their words continue to be powerful.

    I believe that we have control over our own identities. For example, I worked in a high-level position that I loved for several years before having to become a stay-at-home mom due to some family issues. Literally the first day that I was off work, I went in to do some banking and the guy wrote “homemaker” at the top of the form. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I did not identify with that label at all! I still don’t, but I have worked to create a new identity for myself so that I’m not defined by the work (in or outside of the home) that I do.

    I personally feel judged by a normalized conception of who I ought to be all of the time. When I was working, I was judged a bad mother by the stay-at-home mom set, and when I was home I was judged to be crazy to have left my career by the working mom’s (though that is much less now that I’ve decided to also go back to school). We are judged all of the time, and the question really is, do/should we care? Most of the time I don’t care, and for those times that I do, I do some soul searching to figure out why I care>

  33. Courtney F.:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    My identity has been shaped a lot by others, especially family. My parents raised me and instilled a lot of their values to me that way, and although some of my viewpoints aren’t as right-wing as theirs and my interests are very different, they still have had a lot to do with shaping my identity. The media and friend groups also have had an influence, but not to the extent that my parents did.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    I think people have more control over their identities than they might think. There are always choices no matter what the most common one is, and I try and be how I want to be regardless of what else is going on. The factors that have shaped my identity when I was young can be and have been ventured away from.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?
    No instances of outright judgment come to mind, but I feel like the perception of female football (soccer, I guess) fans is a bit biased. A lot of assumptions are made about why women watch football, or other sports for that matter, and a lot of them are unfair. Sexism is still a really important issue and I think that people hold unfair ideas of what women should do/say/act like/dress in/think etc.

  34. Kanzaa:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    An identity is the condition of being oneself and not another. I think our identity is shaped by other in many aspects e.g. the environment we live in, people we meet, culture we belong to and our family, and what we are today is because of all those aspects mentioned before. Like all other kids, my parents decided everything for me since childhood, for example, our food, and our clothes. They teach us values and morals so we can learn how to live our lives and make our decisions.
    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    I think we have a lot of control over our identity. It’s a combination of our past experiences, (schooling), our instinctive emotions (the way we react to situations), and our rational thoughts (the way we think through situations) and Our Identity makes us different from others.
    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?
    Yes, I have felt it many times and have seen it around me that how everyone judges everyone. I am Muslim and I was born and brought up in Pakistan. What is the first word that comes in your mind when you hear this word, “Muslim” or “Pakistani?” And I think we all know the answer. I went to USA last year and when I was coming back to Canada, on Airport the security officer saw my passport, and then he looked at me, and then the Passport and other security officer and gave a sarcastic smile and returned my passport. That was the time when I actually felt that people judge you based on your ethnic or religious background.

  35. Joanne:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    When I was younger, my identity was shaped by my family, friends, religion, community and teachers. I remember being opinionated about something and someone asked me, “Why do you think that?” My reply was, “Because my mom said so.” They looked at me and said, “Just because she said so, doesn’t mean it’s right.” I mulled over that statement and it bothered me for some time. That was when I began to question if things she was telling me was right or not.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    Now that I’m older I observe and form my own opinions about what is being shoved in my face or waved in my direction. Now I do my own thing and march to the beat of my own drum. I don’t particularly care what other people think and if they confront me on something I believe in, I stand my ground. I think I have more control over my identity now than I did when I was younger. I still am influenced somewhat by media, but I take my time to research, think and form my own opinion about things.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    Oh absolutely, going through a divorce within a small town really had tongues wagging and gossip flying about me. I was criticized and judged harshly because people didn’t understand the “why.” Since I was not sharing the “why”, judgements were made and rumours spread. People quickly learned not to talk about me behind my back because I went after people and confronted them on spreading rumours. I got a lot of, “This isn’t you! What are you thinking? Why would you leave? You are being so selfish!” Getting a divorce was not digested well in the small town and although millions of people went through a divorce everyone was ‘appalled’ that I should be one of the statistics. It is frustrating to deal with people who had me put in this box of who I was, what I should be and how I should act. People don’t seem to have a sense of ‘ it’s none of your business.’ They think that because they think they ‘know’ me, that they know what is best for me in my life. :S I really learned who my friends were and who were back stabbing gossipers.

  36. Nadia:

    Others shape my identity all the time, everyday especially those who dont know me. The passerby has my identity all figured out, so he thinks, by the way I walk, how I dress and whom I may be walking with. In other peoples minds we are always something we think we are not. I also think our identity was partily shaped from the outside world but I dont think it has the total say on who we are or will become.
    Many people think I am shy and kind of a pushover, because I dont talk as much as other but when I do I feel the misconception is overturned. I am more of a listner with stong convictions and when I see something wrong or bothersome to myself or other I will say something.

  37. Rachel C.:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I believe that identity is shaped by others. I think my identity was shaped by my parents
    when I was young. As I get older, I started to understand the world and think about
    myself. It made me to shape my identity the way that i wanted to. I also figured that out, if there is somebody who I do not want to be influenced,
    I can just ignored them.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    Even I believe that identity is shaped by others, there is our choices to shape it in the way we want. As I answered in first question, we can ignore some influences if it is not the way we want.
    I think as we get older, when we start to struggle
    about ourselves(identities), we get to have more power over our own identity.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    I am quiet and more like a listner than a speaker.
    when I get to do the group projects, sometimes people think i’m not really interested and not motivated on what we are doing. I have thoughts and ideas to share, I just do not talk a lot.

  38. Michael Lee:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I would think that the extent to which my identity is shaped is due to the cultural/racial background that I was born in.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    Pretty much anything else as I think I have control with my personality, wealth, status, education background and career.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    Yes there has been a time where I was judged based on my racial background” “Because you are a ____, you are _____”. But I think that this only happens to me once.

  39. Christin Bell:

    Our Self is not innate. I think our identities are shaped more by others when we are younger, and as we become older we gain more insight into our true selves. When you are growing up the self-fulfilling prophecies and life scripts that others assign to us start to shape our personal identity. As we grow older and mature we can start to realize that we are in control of our actions and our trues selves. We can use reflection and social comparison to start figuring out what kind of identity we truly have. Society will always play a role in defining us on social status, sexuality, beauty, abilities and talents, but as we grow older we gain the knowledge and thought processes to try to separate ourselves from identities that we are not, and we can try to become the person we want to be.
    Over the last couple of years I have started to focus more on finding my true self. I believe this is a life long journey and that it can change with time. Looking back I can see how my family and friends affected me by using reflective appraisals and prophesies. As I mature I can start to pick and choose what characteristics I want to be apart of my identity. Also now that I am more aware I am able to see areas of my self that are in the “blind area” that I have never realized. I would like to say that I am in control of my identity, but I think we will always be shaped by our society.
    There have been many times in life where I felt that someone improperly judged my identity based on normalized conceptions of who they thought I was. I work in a male dominated industry where women are usually seen as administrative support. Throughout my career I had been treated in this manner. At first I used to get very frustrated, but not say anything. Finally I realized that if my identity was going to change, that I had to make the first move. From the point forward I started to direct co-workers to the proper person for assistance and informed that what my job was. I found this to work very well and it helped me realize that we truly can change the way others treat us, by how we allow them to treat us.

  40. Raeesa Merali:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    I think a lot of our identity is shaped by others influence, from the way we look to the way we think. But it comes down to the individual and if they want to accept that influence or not, as individuals we have the power of choice.

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    That’s a tough question because from the clothes we choose to wear and the hair styles we get done are all influenced by others, more specifically media but when it comes to the way we think I believe to an extent we can be influenced by others thought but have the option to accept or decline that influence to form our own thoughts instead.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    Definitely, especially when 9/11 happened because during that time when people found out you were Muslim you were judged because media at that time some what defined all Muslims as bad news bears which still to this day happens with certain ignorant people. The judging tends to be a lot of non-verbal communication.

  41. Jessica McIntyre:

    I believe that our identity is shaped by others in a big way. It is our families who begin to influence us in the beginning and help us set our beliefs and values. Then once we go to school, our friends help us to shape our identity even more whether its how we look, what we believe in and hold valuable, to the music we listen to. I also think the media has a way of helping us shape our identity because it is such a big part of a lot of our lives.
    That being said, I think we still have control over our own identities, especially as we grow up because we have a lot of knowledge about things and have freedom to make choices. For example, my family grew up Catholic and sent me to a catholic school, and even though all of my teachers tried to shape my beliefs about how great the Catholic religion is, I don’t think I believe so much in it now because I didn’t agree with a lot of things in it. This is one decision I made on my own.

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    I feel like people improperly judge us all of the time based on the “normalized identity. I remember even just applying for jobs when I was in high school, no matter how many people were hiring, a lot of them didn’t even call me for an interview because I was so young and they were probably under the conception that I wouldn’t be as mature as other options. Now being in University, i found it so much easier to find a job and one employer even told me she was “happy I was in post secondary because it means I’m more mature.” No matter how true that may be, they are still judging based on a stereotype.

  42. Yidan Jiang:

    Personal experience:
    I think my own idenity/personal image are totally shaped by others. Espeically my parents. I grew up being a chubby but healthy girl.My parents put me on a diet when I was 12, because by the time, bony image were the standard to judge if a girl is pretty or not. So since I was little, I know I have be a stick to gain others’ acceptance, especially boy’s. But my body grew both horizantally and vertically as I get older. So I started exercise like crazy, and eat only what I call “clean food”. Sadly like a lot of American girls, I had eating disorder, my whole body and health was messed up! So I spent last two year recovering from this worst nightmare. Now I am healthy and happy again, I just want let all the girls know, Don’t Let anyone else change your opionon about yourself. We can’t be shaped by others entirely.

  43. Jill Truscott:

    I found this lecture very interesting, as before I was likely to communicate that I, myself, am the most active agent in forming my own identity. I was headstrong in my independence and individuality, however this lecture got me thinking about how undeniably strong the influence of other people is on creating identity. At the same time, I still do believe that we all hold control over our own identity. By organizing and realizing one’s own values (even if these are affected by the people around you), you can choose to identify yourself in a way that best suits your own interests. Although there are a number of important influences on your identity, such as family, friends, culture, and society as whole, I can’t shake the belief that we still hold much control over our own identity. We will always be active agents in changing and shaping our identity throughout our lives, especially as we get older.

    In reality, a countless amount of people have shaped my identity throughout my life. Family, friends, and even strangers have influenced the person I am today. What I value in myself is shaped by what I value in others, as well as what others value in me. As self is an ever-changing process, I am continuously growing and changing in ways as a result of my personal experiences as well as the people I communicate with. I believe that people whom I look up to and enjoy to share experiences with are the people who have the most influence on shaping my own identity. For example, I hold my mother at a high regard, and value her morals as well as her perspectives of me. She has had an incredible impact on my life, encouraging me to become the person I identify with today. Other family members and friends (particular others) are also very important in having an effect on how I view my “self”.

    I feel that there exists a time in everyone’s life where they feel improperly judged, based on normalized conceptions of society. As there will always exist rules and beliefs about how individuals should act, and what they should identify with, judgments will ensue. Although I have been fairly fortunate in the community and culture I have grown up in, there have definitely been times in which I have felt unfairly judged. A broad judgment would exist in sex discrimination, and I have definitely felt in certain times of my life that I have been treated differently (such as, in the workplace) due to being a female. However, I feel that we live in one of the more unbiased countries in terms of sex and gender, even if some prejudice still exists. Another example was when I made the decision to take two years off post-secondary school to travel. Although the idea of a “gap year” is emerging as more common in our culture, it still is regarding by some people as unmotivated and careless. Education is held at such a high regard in our culture, so to stray from this in order to pursue an alternative path is often looked down upon. I felt that in this choice, I was regarded by some as foolish, as people (and society) have different definitions of success. But looking back, I don’t have a single regret, as my travels were consequential in shaping my identity and who I am today.

  44. moses ndirangu:

    You learn from the actions around you, which shape your character or personality, due to the people your with or would like to be. Also, your brain develops at an early age to defer what they comprehend and remember from expirience, social interaction, and mental memorization.
    Your personal identity is shaped by both environment and heredity. During the centuries there has been more emphasis on one or the other. But today we assume that certain characteristics, e.g. intelligence and social adaptiveness are shaped both by the quality of your genes and by parental influence. It’s like a flower that will blossom most beautifully with the best natural characteristic and the right soil.
    2. at the present time in our society we have more control over our identities than back in the 70’s and 80’s . we now have a generalised concept of equality and people are not judged mostly by their preseding gender or racial or affiliatory conections.

    3.I was in houston for the summer and in the restaurant that we went to have diner there was some discrepancies on the bill , and because this was a high end restaurant when we questioned it the waiter was quick to resolve it because of the preceding insidents with black americans who always as we found out cause scenes at the establishment when they visit. In this incident we were judged by the same lens of the “black man” who causes chaos.

  45. Lizette:

    As children, we absorb information from the moment we open our eyes into a bright new world. In my opinion it is impossible to argue that: our sense of self, who we are, what we like or dislike, and our belief systems are not affected or effected by the people around us or the environments we are placed in as children, and later in life. We are what we believe ourselves to be.

    While our cultural perspective and environmental ties surely do effect and affect some portions of our identity, as reasoning beings, we take an active part in re-enforcing or rejecting culturally ascribed ideas, roles, and practices. While we may not be completely in control of our culturally created identity, we do have the ability to transcend it and to change our ideas, our discourses, our very actions, and by extension, consequently, societal behaviour.

    As a Caucasian in Canada, I have seen people (of various races) expecting me to be “Canadian” and then, when I start speaking and my South African accent becomes apparent, floundering about when they realize I am not. Sadly, I have also experienced biased behaviour directed against me as an older, white, more conservative, South African (because I and what I symbolize represent the old “evil” apartheid regime), without the person who is stereotyping me as such, ever asking me what my personal political views are. I guess my infamous last name did not help much! 🙂

    Lizette De Klerk

  46. Stephane Licina:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?

    How much control over your own identity do you have?

    Has there been a time in your life where you felt that someone was improperly judging your identity based on a “normalized” conception of who you ought to be?

    In my opinion, your identity is shaped by who you were raised, and then it is shaped by who you are around, like friends, teammates, etc. The influence of how you act is, to me, how you were brought up. The influence of how you look (body wise) is by your own actions. And the influence of how you look (clothing) is determined by the group you are usually surrounded by (friends). This in my opinion is what your identity is shaped of.
    Personally, you have all the control you want of your identity (except of how you naturally act). If you want to be seen as something or someone, you can change a bit of how you act, you can change how you dress, and you can change how you maintain your body to portray anything you want. Lets say if you want to be seen as an athlete, you can force yourself to excel in sports etc. If you want to be seen as a leader, you can try to put your fears aside to lead others through difficult times. If you want to be seen as someone smart, you can change your lifestyle from being lazy and a gamer, to studying and trying to excel in your academics.
    To this day, I feel as if people see me differently then I actually am. I won’t get into too much detail in this subject, but an quick example would be: someone thinks i am very cocky, when actually inside i believe everyone is equal and that I am not superior to anyone else.

  47. yamna:

    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    In the society we constructed and now live in you believe that the identity that you have constructed over the years is your own. however thats not entirely true your own identity is nothing more then a mar calibration of the ideas and thought presented by society. we take whats suits us best and conform it to our own needs.

  48. Stephen Moore:

    To what extent do you think your identity is shaped by others?
    Although we sometimes don’t wish to believe, out identity’s are more than often shaped to a large degree by the beliefs and values of our parents. I think that values that are instilled into us in our early youth, although possibly rebelled against in our teens, become the fundamental basis of our identity in our years of maturity. We learn from the successes and failures of people around us works to construct our identity into something greater than what would be achieved in isolation.
    How much control over your own identity do you have?
    We have very limited control over our own identity because our idea of what may be the best choice has been greatly influenced by the world around us, and that what we may choose as the best thing for us, is actually what we are taught to perceive as the best thing…

  49. vincents2:

    1. I think my whole personality and how I cognitively think are being shaped the society. MY identity are being taught by others. If I am born in the wild or even a different family backgroud or environment. I am sure I will totally a different person.
    2+3. There is a force just keep telling you what is the right thing to do. Such as go to school, get a degree, get a job, buy a house and a car, form a family, make kids, and die when you are retired. Specially in Chinese culture, we honor our family and need to move upward in the society in order to benefit the family and therefore yorself. You have to work hard cause there is social pressure that keep driving you. If you don’t your family will suffer and therefore you will suffer. I don’t really buy in to that but that is the reality to me.

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