Twenty-Something Women And The Paradox Of Sexual Freedom Analysis

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A person’s identity is comprised of numerous characteristics that make them different from another person. People begin to develop their identity from childhood, which is then always being consciously reshaped based on their environment. Leslie Bell, a psychoanalyst, conducted a case study on women in their mid-twenties who were suffering from instability due to binary thinking. In Leslie Bell’s “Selections from Hard to Get: Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom”, she explains how identity is unstable when people hold themselves back from acting on their desires. Bell focuses on how identity is comprised of a person’s agency and their decisions they make in situations. In contrast, Malcolm Gladwell’s, “The Power of Context:…show more content…
In Bell’s opinion identity is first constructed through cultural values that children are instilled with. These values form the skeleton of a person’s identity. Once the person matures, their decisions will further demonstrate their identity. Bell explains that identity is made up of experiences that allow a person to fully understand who they are and what they desire. Though, unless people grant themselves the ability to be active in their desires, they cannot have a stable identity. This was evident with Alicia and Jayanthi. They would only allow themselves to be exclusive to sex or relationships. This in return caused them to remain uncertain of who they really were because they only allowed themselves to be exclusive to sex or realtionships. However, binary thinking is expressed through their cultural values. People are perceptive and see what is the social norm based on the society that they live in. This is further explained in Gladwell’s writings because he expresses that humans hold an unstable identity that can always be reshaped based on the environment that they live in. Gladwell makes a point that the environment can adjust a person’s identity, which he proves by explaining the Stanford University experiment. By placing people in a hostile environment their identities begin to change in order to survive in the environment. The result of Zimbardo’s social experiment was described by Gladwell, “His point is simply that there are certain times and places and conditions when much of that can be swept away [personal identity]” (Gladwell 158). Through this social experiment Gladwell proved that outside influences in society can alter a person’s identity, making them a product of what is around them. This ties into Fredrick’s explanation on love’s biology affecting human behavior. Fredrickson thoroughly explains that the biological chemicals that are given off by the body

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