April (exseraphim) wrote,
April
exseraphim

Help

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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