Monday, April 30, 2012

My Identity

David Levinson
English 114B
Professor Dinsmore
M/W 11:00
My Identity
            If you saw me walking down the street the way I dress, you might think that I’m weird.  The thing is, you are seeing my style, what you haven’t seen is my identity and history that has influenced it.  Space often influences how I dress too, depending on if I’m going to school, the store, and even my house.  Not only does space influence my identity, but I also influence some spaces such as my room, house, online.  Identity doesn’t only apply to my physical attributes, but can also apply to media.  When on Facebook, I change my pictures, and account, and then pick who gets to see it.  Also if I’m playing an online game, I can change my identity to be whom ever I want.  My identity has an effect on so much more then just my life. 
            “What’s up with the wolf shirt?” a question I get asked somewhat often, because my shirts of choice are wolf shirts.  Wolf shirts are usually acid washed, featuring at least one wolf in nature, usually howling at the moon.  Besides that, I believe I dress like a mostly normal person my age.  I normally wear cargo shorts, high black socks, vans, occasional snap back hat, and oh yea, big thick rimmed hipster “Ray-Ban” glasses.  When I meet new people, usually my wolf shirts are one of the first things they comment on.  To understand how they help to construct my identity, you must first know that wolf shirts were originally worn in the 80s, and were worn by middle, to lower class kids.  This was because in the 80s wolf shirts were sold at stores such as K-Mart and Walmart, and were sold very cheap.  I wear wolf shirts because not only because Walmart started selling them again at very low prices, but also because I love the look of them.  As one of the few people who still wear these types of shirts, I feel it helps me stick out from everyone who wears modern T-Shirts.  My wolf shirts have helped me construct my physical identity, and have also helped me construct my identity online.
            One example of this is my Twitter username, “TheWolfShirtGuy.”  Anyone who follows me on Twitter then knows me by that name.  Another example of this is my current Facebook profile picture.  The picture shows me in a wolf shirt, accompanied by three of my friends, also wearing a few of my wolf shirts, and all of us are howling at the moon.  Wolf shirts are a big part of my identity right now in my life.  Some people whom I’ve met since I started wearing wolf shirts even go as far as to call me “wolf man”. 
            People who’ve known me since high school, back before I started wearing wolf shirts know me as David.  This is a prime example of identity construction.  Since I’ve started wearing wolf shirts, I’ve created an identity for myself.  Though a big part of my physical identity is my wolf shirts, believe it or not, that is not the only thing that constructs my identity.
            Location can also help construct your identity, depending on your location you might dress differently.  I dress differently when I’m at school from when I’m at home, or if I go to the store.  When at school, I dress in casual clothes, and wear tennis shoes, because I know I’ll be walking a lot.  When I go shopping at the store, I wear casual clothes, and very often slippers, because I like my feet being comfy as I shop, and if I’m at home, I wear comfy clothes from top to bottom, because I’m probably just chilling around the house relaxing.  You also construct your identity within your personal space. 
            My identity is shown in my personal space, my room.  I construct my room to fit my personal identity.  I keep my room semi clean, besides a couple of scattered school textbooks.  My room is well lit, my bed is made and my desk is straitened up.  These characteristics show my identity a little bit, but mostly just my traits.  What I believe shows my identity the best is in my room, is how I decorated it.  In my room, I have a chair that has my high school logo on it, this helps to show that I am school spirited.  On the walls of my room, I have two posters, one of a hula girl that says “ALOHA”, and one of Kid Cudi.  I also have a “TOMS” shoes flag pinned up on my wall.  The posters show my identity because I like Kid Cudi’s music, and I believe hula girls are very cute, and the flag shows that I wear “TOMS” and I love organizations that help people in need.  Another decoration I have in my room is a garden gnome who stands on top of my TV.  This is an inside joke between me and one of my friends, but it also shows how random my identity truly is.  An Xbox 360 lies on the floor.  This adds video gamers to my identity list.  I’ve played video games all my life, and I also believe history can also help our identity construction.
            Way back when I was younger, I’d play Gameboy games on “the brick”, and I turned out a gamer.  I believe history helps shape our identity.  Another example is how I used to love playing Frisbee outside when I was younger, and now that I’m in college, I love playing Ultimate Frisbee.  Another example of identity construction is some online videogames. 
            Some online games have you make a character, and design how they look.  This is one more form of identity construction.  When you make your character, you get to make them look however you want, within the games guidelines that is.  When I play online games I usually make a ridiculous looking character.  I try to make a very unusual looking character because then when I’m playing the game, people see my character running around, and it catches them off guard.  Online games also give you the option of being the opposite sex.  This is when identity construction is crucial.  When you choose to play as the opposite sex, you are constructing your identity in a misleading way.  Some people play online games and choose to play as the opposite sex then their own just to mislead people.  Some people might do this for a couple reasons, some guys play as girls so they can get free items off of guys in the game.  Some girls play as guys because they don’t want to look weak.  When playing videogames I usually play as a guy, but if I end up playing as a girl, I usually do it because the girl character has extra skill attributes, which makes her tougher than the guy characters.  
            Identity construction can be your physical style, or it can be your style online, whether on a website like Facebook and twitter, or an online game where you make your character.   Location also helps identity construction because it can influence how you dress and act.  You also have identity construction in your personal space, such as your room.  You get to decorate it how you want it to fit your personality. 

"Three Wolf Moon." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 28 Apr. 2012.

"Roleplaying as the opposite Gender." Web. 28 Apr. 2012.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Essay Proposal Web, Space, and Text

For my essay, I will write about myself and my identity as a whole.  I will look in detail at how I construct my identity online and offline in real life.  I will also write about my room as a space and how I construct it to fit my identity.  When talking about identity construction online, I will talk about how I have my Facebook set up, and possible also talk about my identity as I construct it in games.  I will talk about what I have as visible to everyone on Facebook and what I have hidden.  I will also talk about what photos I have up on Facebook and what they say about my identity, especially my profile picture.  If I end up talking about my identities in online games, I will talk about what they say about my real life identity, and how my real life identity shows through my character.  When talking about my identity construction in real life, I will talk about what clothes I wear and why I choose to wear those.  I will talk about the shirts and pants I wear, as well as my glasses, hats, shoes, and socks.  I will talk about how I am affected by different spaces such as high school, at home, on the university campus, and when out with friends.  I will talk about my house as a space, and how my identity effects it, and also how it effects me.  Then I will talk about my room.  I will talk about how I decorated my room, and how it is influenced by my identity and how my identity influenced how it was decorated.  My essay will be about my identity in real life, on the web, and in online games.  I will discuss why each was constructed how it is, through my environment, experiences, and history. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

After I finished reading "As Nature Made Him" I couldn't stop thinking about how hard it had to have been for David growing up.  As the book progressed it was obvious that as David's life went on, the troubles didn't exactly go away easily.  All because of a freak accident David's and his whole family's life would never be the same.  It was very hard for me to read and get through this book and not only because of my reading level, but also because the book described many scenarios in great detail.  Gender construction played a very important role in this book, but not in the way that some other material we have used had.  In the movie Gamer, and the graphic novel Surrogates, the gender construction was very much focused on being who you want to be while in this book, the gender construction took place when David was growing up and being taught to act like and dress like a girl.  The thing I've noticed about gender construction is that it is almost always used to mask something.  In David's case it was used to mask a mistake and give him a normal life, then later in the book gender construction happens as David rejects being a female and returns to being a male. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

This is going to be very painful...

So I started reading "As Nature Made Him" by John Colapinto.  The book started off pretty good, but almost too much like a love story for my liking, talking about his parents and how they grew up and met.  I was fine with this though, it was what came next that was hard for me to read.  The book continues to give foresight into what the book is about, a boy who had a botched circumcision and is forced to grow up as a girl.  The book goes into plenty of detail when talking about the boys circumcision.  I found myself reading and feeling light headed as I felt the pain of the boy.  This is when I knew it was going to be a very long book...  I pushed though my pain and continued to read.  I think it is very normal how the parents reacted at first being very worried of how David would grow up, and like it said in the very beginning of the book, his parents did what they thought was best for him out of kindness, love and desperation, and when you're desperate, you don't necessarily do all the right things.  I think it is very ironic that the doctor's name is Dr. Money because he was obsessed with David's circumstance and had David and his brother act differently than normal just for his theory and fame, and very possibly the wealth that came with it.  I for one think that your sex determines your gender, but how you grow up determines how you live.