Kenneth Gergen Conformity

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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…show more content…
Looking at a magazine article, girls see what beauty should be and how to feel beautiful. For Example, when a girl looks through People’s Magazine they see that the People’s Most Beautiful Woman is a woman wearing a size zero dress with a considerable amount of make-up patted on is what beauty should look like. In this need to conform, girls start to buy make-up and start maintaining a certain weight in order to replicate their idol that they see. This is a form of a mask that Gergen talks about in his essay. Fortunately, social media is recognizing these problems and are introducing more ways to feel beautiful in their own skin, such as having a more curvy model or a column telling young girls to be themselves. Gergen also implemented an experiment in the essay about a woman surveying a group of young girls asking about what they thought of themselves and every time a girl would say something bad about herself, Gergen would have the interviewer shake her head as a form of disagreement and likewise when a girl says something positive about herself, he would have the interviewer nod her head as a form of approval. The outcome showed that the girls were putting on a different mask in order to conform with the environment of the experiment and that it was “easy to modify the mask of identity” because each girl put on a mask based on the interviewer nodding her head for signs of…show more content…
Gergen asks “what is causing [a person] to be X at this time”(Gergen, 174) to question a person’s motive to be another person in order to conform or to fit in. In today’s societies, there are so many norms and standards that people have to meet to be able to “fit in.” It is considered bad if a person is an outsider and they are ridiculed for it. High schools are notorious for the issue of “needing to fit in.” In certain high school students have issues “fitting in” because of their sexuality, gender, or race. This is due to the norms and standards that other students have implemented among other students and states that if one does not meet a certain criteria, they are seen as a social outcast and should not be talked to. Gergen asks how an “individual present themselves when they want to gain the approval of others?”(Gergen, 173) to make a point that people behave differently when they are putting on their mask to seek approval and act differently when their masks are off. However, in a study, Gergen found out that not all of the relationships due to masks are fake, but rather because people use that mask so often, it becomes a reality by altering their whole

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