Sex Body and Identity Term Paper

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identity institutionalized in mainstream culture?

Belonging to a group differentiated by character and trait best defines the identity of an individual. Identity can also be distinguished in a qualitative and quantitative approach by means of identifying the disposition and similarity of a person. The state of being as "I'm" denotes the individuality of a man in a common state within a group since the individual is all but one. Such that, a man can be qualitatively identical to another man by means of his trait but can never be identical to another man in terms of individuality or the state of being one. Wikipedia further explains this by citing:

"Examples of this might be two wine glasses made in the same wine glass factory on the same production line ... (at least, for a relaxed standard of exact similarity)

For example, Clark Kent is numerically (quantitatively) identical with Superman in the sense that there is only one person (who happens to wear different clothes at different times).

In modern generation, identity is being institutionalized in different forms and state. These are the personal, political, cultural and in later twentieth century genre, sexual identity.

Personal identity depicts the individuality of a man, why does he exist, what is his purpose, how does he interacts with other individuals in his group and other persistent questions regarding his being. As time ages, so does individuality of a person's identity develops. His thoughts and deeds are a collection of actions of which he alone is responsible. These actions then create an impact, to a certain point, among his peers thus imploring them to counter react. The state of individual identity can be easily rationalized in the movie of Tom Hanks "Forrest Gump." In the film, His (F.Gump) individuality however queer and vivid, as critics reveals, creates an effect not only to the characters surrounding the plot but also the viewers who have watched the movie. Hence, mainstream culture have adopted the impression that the individual identity most of the time contradicts equality amongst the society. This notion indicates that the individual identity of a person ranges in different levels of intelligence and his sense of humanity.

The political and cultural identity defines the belongingness of an individual to a group or culture being dictated by certain norms and principles in the society. This form of identity influences other individuals in terms of beliefs, ideology, ethics and morality.

Most often issues in both types of identity are interrelated to one another. Certain rules, guidelines and directives were set in order to preserve both of the mentioned identity. A continuous contact between cultures is dynamically relevant to cultural identity. These are then associated to issues in mainstream political identity. In the U.S., crossing boundaries between these two types of identity are very prevalent, of which, with regards to race, sex, ideology and religion more often are set as basis of consideration in making political principles and discussion on issues implying the latter from the former.

Cultural identity implores different position or stand in its move to preserve its uniqueness. Its measures are described to adapt to certain situations wherein:

"Nor will any culture ever reflect only one attitude: like any model dominating a given culture at a given moment, these basic attitudes can (and will) be contested and eventually replaced by other ones" (Wikipedia 2005)

These are described as the Imperialist, the Defensive, the Trans-cultural and the Defective Stands. In summation all of these positions are collectively relevant to one another replacing each doctrine to support constant change in principle and belief.

The presence of an individual in a group allows his identity to grow and develop. In an interview made by Jammie Heckert (2000) in her paper Beyond Identity ... one of the subject interviewee stated that:

"If society doesn't know you are there, it can't respond to you." Therefore, it is important to be seen by as many people as possible.

This statement suggests visibility amongst individuals in order for their identity to be recognized by society. The feminist movement of the late '70 grew stronger and empowered the modern women, therefore establishing a degree of sexual identity within the dominant masculine group from the medieval period onwards. The movement brought forth diversity in the identity of women and men alike. In the turn of the twentieth century, most common of this implications are attributed to the inevitable emergence of the "third sex."

Lesbians, Gays, Transvestites and Bisexuals. (LGTB) (Beyond Identity ... 2000) In the early part of the present era, they (LGTB) were considered deviant and a taboo in recent period. The acceptance of modern day society of this contemporary gender not only liberalized the specifics of sex in mainstream culture but also recognized their existence as a normal human being. These days LGTBs in part of the world enjoys equality among the natural gender and established their own identity.

Identity in the modern generation exemplifies the development of modern man. His own personal identity through his interaction with other individual gave him the ability to clearly adopt into a cultural and political belief of modern times that may have initiated the rise of new generation of genders. The identity of man however is not confined to just customs, traditions and standard norms of the society. In the near future, the identity of man could evolve into a new breed of individuals again enforcing the constant change in our culture and civilization.

Given our society's criticism of superficial and materialistic attitudes, why does the beauty myth continue to prevail?

With the constant change of norms in modern society, the beauty myth has been defined and classified in its utmost obscurity. The propositions of this notion are complex and have crossed over the boundaries of time, gender and culture. Evidently, all gender classification, may it be in its customary state, the male and the female sex or to the most recent juncture in the new millennium, wherein homosexuality is a widely accepted sexual labeling amongst present-day beings, experience and all the while suffer this phenomenon. The beauty myth, as others would express, is associated with the regular and sometimes irregular standards of our culture. It could be characterized in such historical meanings. Narcissism, when vanity is a trait and given an immense importance among those dwelling in the medieval towards contemporary times.

In medieval times, beauty is a premise that can be seen in works of art and literature. The representation of men and women in these masterpieces stresses a clear definition on how beauty is to be express and be admired by those who view it, scrutinizing every detail and symmetry. From then on the basis of beauty have shaped the mindset of the society and culture on how it is to be exemplified. In the later medieval period, northern European literature and art created an ideal of feminine beauty thus forwarding the same notion and influence towards the early and later part of the twentieth century.

With all of the contentions about the beauty myth in history and present era, this subject matter is quite evident among women rather than any other of the sexes. The works of Naomi Wolf is a paradigm. This author ponders, in her book "The Beauty Myth," about controversies surrounding the factual and historical experience of the modern day woman. For N. Wolf she defines the beauty myth as:

a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West it is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact"

She then notes how social pressure affects the way of living of women in this genre, that what is deemed beautiful are being accepted by our society without the consent of the female gender. It is not the beliefs that need to change about the beauty myth, it's a way of seeing beauty. Far from the confines where a women are a subjects of un-raveled stereotypes wherein women are free and proud. In the response paper based on this book, of a student at UMF, Julie Jones, she argues that:

"Society still hounds us on weight, age and looks. The more the feminine movement overcomes, the more this beauty myth has spread and gained momentum, to the point that woman are dying of eating disorders, breast implants and broken hearts because they are ten pounds overweight. The overall social pressure to be beautiful, thin, funny, compliant ... (and on) has become a burden on the shoulders of many women in this country"

This statement expounds on the prevalence of the beauty myth's stings and disorders that affects the women of the society. The inevitable truth however is that this "infection" are still ever present far from the realization of the modern women of all ages.

In our society the beauty myth is full of inconceivable diversity: Young and old, the affluent, the middle class and a portion of the underprivileged constituency.…

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