Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Blurp 003: Identity

"You don't BUY clothes - you BUY an identity!"

In the realm of the ever distracting facebook, the likes and comments echoed in agreement with that person's status. For a moment there, it might sound incredibly beautiful and profound. It is pretty meaningful (and damning), I suppose...

Let me just put on my Captain Serious hat and tell you how your dream about a rabbit hopping along the road is a symbol of a repressed modesty, yearning to manifest freely in society without judgment. Sorry, Freud. Times have changed. No skin? Oh, for SHAME!!! 

But really, I'm simply isolating that status and chucking it into my brain for some playtime. *heads for the metaphorical swing*

"You buy an identity."

I enjoyed how the word 'buy' stood out proudly in capital letters, and not 'clothes' or 'identity'. Plus the whole bit that identity can be easily taken off the shop shelves in your local mall. Good one, Mr Corporation! Well played indeed. *slow clap*

But it isn't to say that there isn't a level of truth to that.

Anyway, I'll try to make it short and as snappy as I can make it. Two things:

1) I'm not denying that outward appearance plays a part in one's identity. It does. 

Looks come with a history, personality and a perception. We do live in a very visual culture. When you dress up punk, it would also bring out the idea and impression of rebels, devil-may-care attitude. Dressing quirkly would have the immediate effect of people thinking of you as a hipster who supports indie brands, Zooey Deschanel, a love for vintage and the handmade etc.  Some of course, challenge the personality in convention with the visual; like wearing lolita but listens to Goth and Death Metal. A part of me feel that a portion of these people subscribe to what they feel in unique within their sphere, and yet paradoxically, it is also collective? Nevertheless, it's not unique enough, so they try to mix up the pre-fixed identities.

Basically, in buying a look, you do buy a visual 'identity'. You can 'buy' the history, perceived personality, likes, dislikes and hobbies. As long as you have sufficient moolah, it's possible to get an Instant Identity.

Are our identities something that comes pre-packaged? Do we think of the limited variety of identities that shops could hold? It doesn't encompass the rich spectrum of what humans can BE and FEEL, but within a range of marketable and acceptable products.

And for the individual... are we riding on borrowed history? Did we really find who we really are, then?

2) But at the core of it, what makes me wonder is - but for whom is it for? With such emphasis on the outward, is identity now a piece of stage-meat for the public to consume? We could have all the costumes and props as we desire it; on the shelves, on the racks, in shoe boxes... In this age when we're encouraged to embrace our individuality (within the limits of what is available in the shops), identity is increasingly being owned by people's opinion and their perception.

What is identity? What we wear and how we look? How deep are those roots? What defines you when we take away the things that goes away or perish? If we have nothing, what do we have to offer?

Let's take away the audiences of our life.

Now. Who are we?

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