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Identity: A Conceptual Understanding Essay

1562 words - 6 pages

A human being’s perception of ‘self’ contains many characteristics pertaining to who they are. This as a concept is distinctive to identity. Identity can be defined as “the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is” . Despite this universal definition, identity cannot be explained as one particular word or definition, it is an idea with a range of aspects; including one’s DNA/Gender, upbringing, your cultural context and national identity. These aspects are in conjunction with influences such as the media. Muhammad Ali, a famous American boxer, is someone whose identity differs completely from my own, having grown up with a different set of beliefs, talents and values as well as a different personality.

One particular concept that is discussed in terms of identity is gender identity. How gender affects one’s character and presentation is an important factor while determining your selfhood. Although gender is seen as a significant element of our individuality, the difference between male and female individuals is not truly seen until puberty and adolescence, where not only do increasing changes within the body begin to separate how we look on the outside, but our personality and how society treat us begins to change. Although the past century has changed in terms of gender equality, there is still a significant difference between males and females and this is directly related to our personality, as it affects ones opportunities and therefore experiences. As experiences help to shape our identity, gender therefore has a large influence on defining our own self.

Your DNA also assists in creating your identity, as it is what determines whether or not you are to grow up with an illness. For example, if a child grows up with Cystic Fibrosis, this disorder becomes a part of this child’s identity, as their livelihood is centralized around the disease. Your genetic make-up also determines what you are ‘naturally good’ at, this allows for you to also find an interest that you are naturally suited to. For example, having the ability to be a naturally good reader has allowed myself to flourish in reading-based subjects such as English. Muhammad Ali was born with talents that allowed him to progress in boxing; this allowed him to become a world-renowned boxer. Having skills helpful to boxing caused Ali to build a life around the sport, so this has made a clear influence on his identity, as his selfhood was formerly based upon succeeding. On the other hand, not having natural talents in sport had made sport have less of an impact on my own identity.

Your upbringing is arguably the most important aspect of your identity, as a person normally spends nearly a quarter to a third of their life under the direction of their parents or a guardian figure. Even after you have left your family home, you are typically still influenced by your family values through constant contact through family milieus. The place in which you grow up has a...

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