Identity is what distinguishes us from everyone else. There are different forms of identity and people can have different identities according to the relationships they have and the roles they carry out; for example a person can be somebody’s husband, somebody else’s father, somebody else’s friend and somebody else’s teacher all at the same time.
Identity is very important and being an individual amongst a whole sea of people is also important. Some people value their individuality more than others – they may like to buck trends, for example, listening to alternative music or wearing ‘different’ clothing, while others are happy to be more conventional.
Some people may say that people have become less individual in recent years, thanks to global fashion trends, popular media outlets and the rise of celebrity culture. If you look at fashion, for example, you can read five magazines and they will all point out the same trends and encourage you to buy clothes that reflect these trends. As a result, many people dress in a similar way. Fashion designers have also been criticised for using ‘clones’ on the runway. Designers frequently choose very thin, tall girls for their shows, who all look very similar and are completely different from the ‘average’ girl on the street. On the flipside, some might say that fashion has become more eclectic and a variety of looks are being celebrated and championed by designers and fashion houses. There has been a huge increase in popularity of vintage-inspired fashion and new labels have come up with modern, edgy designs.
The rise of celebrity culture has also had an impact on individual identity. The celebrity lifestyle is attractive to many people, especially young people, and they now have different aspirations and want to be part of a collective rather than being recognised or admired based on their own individual achievements. A recent survey, for example, revealed that a significant proportion of young girls want to be ‘wags’ when they are older.
Despite the fact that many people adopt a conventional lifestyle this does not mean that individuality is not promoted. There are many different fields where individuality is praised, from cinema and theatre to art and fashion. People are encouraged to strive to achieve dreams and fulfil their potential. The world is becoming more tolerant and people of different identities and backgrounds are able to stick to their identity, rather than trying to take on a false, more socially acceptable identity.