I’d never really given much thought to where our identities come from before so I actually find the idea of it being socially constructed intriguing. I thought it was just something I grew into based on my own experiences, never thinking about how other people and society influenced it. But I can definitely see how this aspect should be included; my experiences didn’t happen in a vacuum as other people were involved so I’d naturally be reacting to their personalities and deciding what I did and didn’t like. The idea of having multiple identities, however, is odd to me because I would never see them as being mutually exclusive. I mean, I could understand it at a younger age, middle school or something, trying to decide where you fit in. I can’t believe I’m admitting I’ve seen this movie, but in A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff (shudder – I watched it when I was sick, ok?), she had a male friend that was essentially trying on identities with his clothes – cowboy, rapper, etc – but his persona was the same, kind and caring. He just spoke as the identity would and reacted as the identity would. It just creates a weird image to me of somebody trying on an identity much like clothing and discarding it when it doesn’t fit – all traits of it. Identity can change over time, but not where all facets are completely replaced instantaneously.
I do also agree with the idea of presenting a different aspect of your identity in different situations. Though – see, I’m saying aspect of identity, not a different identity altogether in different situations. I may get angry and yell at family members over something, but I would never (I hope) react the same way to someone in my place of work. I trust my family when I vent, but how would I know how a colleague would react? This is determined by social courtesies and how society expects you to act out in public so you alter yourself accordingly. Society definitely has a huge hand in constructing gender identities. Gah! It’s just so completely obvious how intertwined it is, what is a girl and what is a boy. I do remember reading recently in the Star Tribune about how the “tomboy” construct has been fading. http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/42817822.html?elr=KArksUUUU
I was so a tomboy when I was in middle school; I even applied that term to myself rather than having someone label me with it. But I’m glad to hear that it’s been leaving. When I was in high school, being in sports was more the in-thing than being a cheerleader, and these girls (myself included) never ran around looking asexual.
Regarding Shayla’s book, Instant Identity, well, what to say about IM? I was in college when she was doing this study in 2002 and 2003. I did use IM, yes, but I used it to keep in touch with my family that I didn’t see everyday and friends that didn’t go to school with me. I don’t use it anymore though; I haven’t used it in years. But I’m not surprised by the dynamics that girls exhibited with IM in the book. I’d rather seem them be upfront with their issues than conniving and going behind people’s backs. That behavior is annoying every way, shape and form.