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Diana Venegas

Jennifer Rodrick

English 115

October 26,2017

Space and Identity

Ones self identity has a lifelong of shaping and shifting to accommodate the places

where we are in life. The spaces we are in influence the way we are and act. To survive daily life

people may have a different identity for every different place they go. We switch off our identity

to conform to the atmosphere we are in. In spaces with family we learn to absorb traditions and

culture. In public spaces like school we are shaped to be well behaved, and educated. In

unfamiliar places we shield off any influence, because we fear the unknown.Everyone lives in

their own world that makes them who they are. The unique experiences we go through are

essential to the making of who we are, and determine the way we carry ourselves.Todays

society has dictated the shaping of our identity through the influence of gender roles, social

norms in the communities we live in, and the living conditions tied to our socioeconomic status.

Gender roles are instilled, and absorbed in our culture then enforced since your birth. To

be gender conforming suppresses your individuality. There is ideal femininity, and ideal

masculinity, and the moment youre out the womb youre expected to live up to those ideals. The

shame you know you are capable of bringing to your family if youre not gender conforming

forces you to be submissive to the expectations put upon you.In A Global Perspective on

Gender Roles and Identity, Elizabeth Saewyc points out that Most societies are profoundly

gendered; these gender roles and expectations affect nearly every aspect of life from infancy

onward.With just the assumption that you will identify with your biological sex, many aspects

of your life are already predetermined. You will be expected to have a favorite color, but only

colors associated with your gender will be accepted. Everything in society is gendered, and

attached to a specific sex? It stirs a lot of confusion in an individual when they realize that

something of their interest is unacceptable merely because of their gender. If youre a female,

youre expected to be okay with being considered inferior to men. As a female you can be smart

but not too smart because it intimidates men to see you as equal. If youre a male and youre very

in touch with your emotions then you cant necessarily express that,because its frowned upon

and that shapes boys to suppress their emotions. The way you dress is associated with your

sexual orientation so you are also stripped of the right to express yourself through clothing.

Gender roles dont necessarily eliminate self expression, but the backlash from society is

dreadful so we tend to settle for conforming. Heavily enforced gender roles are toxic to your

mental health, and limit individuality.

Social norms are expectations of society as a whole.Expectations subliminally ingrained

in our living atmospheres shape who we are, and who we are constantly trying to become.Its

tiresome to continually adjust because for every different social environment we are in there is a

different set of social norms. If we live in a place where its idealized to be rich then we will

consume that aspiration, and be influenced to become materialistic. If our family expects of us to

be a certain way then thats what we do in order to ensure their satisfaction. In public spaces we

will conform to being what ever suits the strangers around us, and not ourselves. In foreign

places where we know nothing, some may approach it with an open mind, but thats rare because

often times our instinct is to be closed of to the influence of things we arent familiar with.There

is a theory that we are only our truest selves when we are alone. I believe that its true because

its the only time when we don't feel pressured to live up to expectations put on us by family,

friends, or society. Its the constant shifting and pretending to be someone youre not in order to

receive validation from those who we care about.

In a capitalistic society our socioeconomic status determines a lot of where we start in

life.Where we stand in terms of social class is directly correlated with the area we are born and

raised in.The place where you are raised and cared for is foundation of shaping who you become.

The financial standing youre born into decides many factors of the lifestyle you will have to

adapt to. It is human instinct to constantly adapt to whats around so we tend to be a reflection of

our surroundings.The community you live in determines what the people around you will be like.

If you live in a well off community youre more likely to have positive influences rather than

negative ones like the ones that are in store in areas of poverty. how experiences in different

socioeconomic contexts (e.g., low- vs. high-SES schools, neighborhoods, workplaces) over time

shape peoples cultural-specific selves in ways that influence the dynamic interaction between

context, self, and behavior. If you live in a low income community, you can either be really

appreciative, or resentful towards the world for all the negative things that come with living in

poverty.Every person is a good person until circumstances push you to execute wrong doings in

order to get by. Poverty ties to high crime rates because lacking basic needs triggers desperation

to obtain whatever necessary by any means.That is just a possibility, but theres also the chance

that your difficult circumstances will shape you into a

If you grow up in a loving home youre likely to be happy, and very family orientated.

Whereas if you grow up in a broken home youre more likely to be a troubled person, and

disattached from the idea of family.Another example is that if you live in a place full of

negativity, then you are bound to absorb that, and be negative too. In a large scale perspective the

place in the world that we live in also influences who we are, and what we are like.Sometimes

the social climate that we live in has such a strong influence that we become aligned with the

stereotypes assumed about the places we are from.If you break it down similar people tend to

live amongst each other, and that simple fact makes it easy to make generalizations. For example

people in progressive states tend to be progressive, and merely because its the ideals that

everyone around you spreads, and practices around you. It does not mean that you need to be like

the people around you, but rather that youll tend to be similar because its whats fed into

you.There are varying outcomes, and none are set in stone, the examples can go on and on, but

my point is that circumstances shape, and change you.

Space and identity have a direct correlation with conformity. The act of conforming to

what s expected in due time and space. Whether its right or wrong it always just seems

appropriate to change who we are according to circumstances. Social norms are enforced on a

daily basis from what to wear, and how to be if you want to be accepted in society.The ideal cut

out shape to achieve acceptance is heavily influenced by our physical surroundings.In

conclusion, surrounding are very influential to our self identities, and Id say it takes a lot in

order to not be influenced by the actions,and ideals deeply ingrained in your surroundings.

Theres the saying that the people you spend time with are a reflection of who you are, and I

think thats true also in regards to your surroundings. Your environment influence the way you

act, think, and behave.In different social environments we are forced to be different puzzle

pieces to fit the picture, but sometimes whats expected in that ambience is so different from who

we are that we tend to hurt ourselves trying so hard to be what others want. It is critical to

acknowledge the relation between space and identity, as it influences who we become in the


Works Cited

Destin, Mesmin, et al. Status-Based Identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol.

12,no. 2, 2017, pp. 270289.


Saewyc, Elizabeth. A Global Perspective on Gender Roles and Identity. Journal of Adolescent

Health, vol. 61, no. 4, 2017, pp. S1S2.