In Defense Of Masks By Kenneth Gergen Summary

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The Need of Conformity In the Essay “In Defense Of Masks,” Kenneth Gergen’s assertion on masks is surprisingly ambivalent. The idea that inner-beauty is effective in the notion that people should respect one another the way they act on their feet instead of their appearance is morally speaking rightful and that we should always be true to ourselves and construct this kind of “coherent identity.” Gergen however dismisses the idea of a “coherent sense of identity” in which we only have one true identity that we cannot hide with any facade, instead he believes that we inevitably wear “masks” to become included into society. Therefore, I agree with Gergen in a sense that we wear certain masks in order to conform into society and fulfill our need…show more content…
Gergen believes that people have different perspectives of who a person is and how they treat them and “in each relationship” one learns “something different about” himself(Gergen, 174). For example, a study done at Austin, Texas included a two men, one dressed ragged clothing and other one in a suit. In the experiment, the researcher had them both ask for the same amount of money with the same excuse and in finding, people gave the man with the suit more money as opposed to the man dressed in ragged clothing who got little to nothing. This is because people tend to trust the man in the suit’s excuse because of his appearance and the likelihood that he was telling the truth rather than believing that the homeless man was also telling the truth and they brushed him off thinking that he did not need the money urgently and it was just another homeless man making up an excuse to get money. The moral of the experiment is that we are perceived and judged by how we are dressed and that we judge people on what we see. In theory, both men both had a certain mask on and the way they were treated were based off of those masks. Gergen states that the “value placed on a coherent identity,” in this case, the mask of a homeless man versus the mask of an urbane well-dressed man, is considered as “unwarranted and detrimental” in society. (Gergen,

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