April (exseraphim) wrote,


can some one help me with some more ideas on how culture and ethnicity effect identity development? being a product of the dominant culture i am sort of at a loss for understanding .

Family is a large influence on identity development. Parenting styles appear to be a huge
factor. Democratic or what I have previously learned to be authoritative parenting
provides a good structure and foundation for identity development. In this type of family
structure adolescents are encouraged to find out who they are by being part of a
democratic family process in which feeling, concerns and opinions are validated. In an
autocratic family structure that I think is the same as what I learned was an authoritarian
structure healthy identity development is not very nourished. In this type of family
structure there is a “my way or the highway” tone to the parenting style. This parenting
style is also known to use harsh punishment, in which case a teenager may be afraid to
show who they are or express opinions for fear of punishment and ridicule. My mother
was definitely a permissive parent and I know from my own experience that permissive
parenting is not helpful in attaining identity achievement. In this sort of a family structure
you are sort of left to just go out and figure it out for yourself. I think identity
achievement took me a lot longer than some other teenagers as a result of this sort of
family structure. Also, families the promote individuality and connectedness are helpful in
identity achievement.

There can be a conflict between maintaining the role of culture in identity while
integrating with the dominant culture. Teenagers who identify themselves with their
ethnic backgrounds also have the task of identify themselves with the dominant culture.
The sense of membership to one’s culture and ethnic background can sometimes be
helpful in identity achievement.

Culture as a whole is a very influential part of identity development. The culture in which
one lives is a very influential factor. Living in our industrialized culture many aspects of
identity are associated with college or a job trade “what I want to be when I grow up”,
etc. Also commercialism plays a role, many people express who they are with the way
they dress, natural foods are not, the type of music they like, the television shows that
interest them, pink, blue or brown hair, etc.

I think gender plays a larger role than was mentioned in our book. We may be aware of
the social construction of the gender roles but that does not mean that they don’t still
exists or that we do not still live in a male dominated culture. Males and females are still
portrayed very differently in the media. Women in commercials usually are either over
sexualized or portrayed as “know all do all moms”. It is frightening to me how many
commercials I have seen for some sort of cleaning product where the know all do all
mom” shows the “lost in a television show worked all day dad” how easy it is to wipe the
counter with this new cleaning product. I know not all commercials segregate the sexes
as much but there is still a lot of it out there. The standard of beauty aimed at women in
the media consists of two large factors; youth and a slender build. This is an issue of
gender. I am ware that cases of eating disorders are on the rise with men but it is still a
problem largely dominated by young women attempting to define themselves by
resembling our culture’s unrealistic standards of beauty. Also, many boys are still raised,
and it is still portrayed in the media that it is not “manly” for men to cry or “talk about
their feelings.” This has to effect identity development when a young man thinks it’s not
okay to be expressive of their feelings. I do think it is more acceptable now than it used
to be but our society still fosters these ideas of the gender roles and creates segregation
between the sexes.
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Can't help with growing up in different cultures or ethnicities. I probably grew up in a more sheltered system than anyone I know. Though is it difficult to understand and put yourself in it, if briefly? To grow up constantly told in tiny ways that you're part of a group that is lesser than other people. As a woman you know a little bit of this. For women, though, there's a kind of muddled, confused backlash against this repression. There's a feminist striving to make women be more valued, and there's ways the patriarchy has reabsorbed these feminist tactics into itself and made them exploitive, and it's all quite mixed up.

Maybe it's just as confusing to be black. I couldn't tell you. I can tell you that the idea that black people are worth less than white people is more ingrained into the culture than prejudice against women. Its forms go more unquestioned. With women, people are asking the questions and pointing out the problems--this doesn't always change anything but people notice. With prejudice against other ethnicities, people are able to just ignore it.

Is a permissive family structure the same as a neglectful one? It seems like they don't have to be the same though permissive edges towards neglect pretty easily. But you can be permissive by being lovingly blind or watching helplessly because you don't know how to be a parent. With neglect you just don't care or don't bother looking at all. Or maybe they both end up as neglect, just with varying degrees of fault or blame.

I was watching a TV show recently and there was this pissed-off teenager. I was trying to figure out exactly what was making her so angry, because her circumstances weren't that bad. But then I thought, she's angry for the reason that almost every teenager is angry: she's trying to become an adult and nobody is helping her. They're not hindering her, they're not letting her do whatever she wants, and they're not forcing her to be anything in particular. They're not trying to keep her a little girl. They're just not doing anything helpful.

How do parents help teenagers become adults? Does that ever really happen?

Commercials are frightening but what's more frightening are sit-coms. Maybe not all of them, and perhaps they're better now than when I was growing up. But they usually have their finger right on what's wrong in the culture, so they can get a laugh without conveying much information.