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I see tensions between myself and how people see me. This is explained more in greater detail when looking at my relationship with one advertising piece of media that I came across described below. Outwardly, I identify myself with other people as a generally happy person but in some ways that's far from the truth as I identify myself as someone with little self-confidence although as said that's not how I come across. I shy away from confrontation; anything for me is better than fighting.
People see me as a very happy and friendly person. I never judge people from what I may have heard from others, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and because of my low confidence I don't believe I can do things. I am very aware of being a sporty person and I am very close to my family.
I love the media and its social ability to alter our feelings and emotions. I watch television to keep up with current media subjects but only usually read papers that I pick up on trains. The Internet and its social interactive elements bring the media to me in an interactive way by Facebook, Twitter, Youtube. These open for me a worldwide sense of identifying myself online but I only show people what I want them to see.
If I was to look at how the media saw me and identified me, the standard description would be of a University student living away from home for the first time and having a great sociable, drinking and fun time. This is not quite how I see myself represented as a person away from home for the first time in strange surroundings and having to work to get all my assignments in on time.
The two examples of media I have used below are an advertisement that I noticed when walking along Trafalgar Square in March last year. On the side of an inconspicuous ordinary single Decker London bus numbered 29. There was an advertisement along the side, stating very few words but sending a very powerful message. "There's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life". The bus with the advertisement is reproduced over the page.
Ariane Sherine (2009) [Online Image] Available at http://www.atheistbus.org.uk/bus-photos/
(Accessed 25th September 2010)
The first advertisement "Atheist Bus" I can identify with and in particular with the relationship with other people called humanists. In her book "Questions of Identity" Kath Woodward describes identity in the following way (Woodward, 2000, p.9) "Identity provides a link between individuals and the world in which they live". There is probably no bigger discussion that takes place than on religion, and one that can cause such emotion.
I promote myself as a humanist and I believe that many people today never really think about God, only when it suits them. Sometimes I feel pressured from presenting myself as a humanist as the perception from a Christians point of view is that not to believe is blasphemy and I will eventually end up in the burning depts of hell. So my identity is seen as a group of non-believers, probably a small unequal group seen from the outside world. So when I engage with humanism I am grouped with other humanists but accept that I do not represent the majority of others, nothing is black and white.
I can imagine many religious people puzzled by who "I think I am" and wonder how I can live my life without religion. Equally, I identify myself wondering how people can put faith in what I term as the paranormal and mystic supernatural.
I see myself as someone who can live well and still live a good honest life; I like to think that as humans we live as harmoniously and considerately together. As a race we depend on each other.
I have often said and asked the questions, why am I here? What purpose is there in life? Is there a life after death? As a child at School I was bought up with Christian beliefs in the local primary School I attended. This is a classic example of how my identity has changed proving that this aspect of my life is fluid and not fixed.
My identity is strongly linked into favoring rational scientific explanations. The beginning of life and the universe, for example moral values evolved, and continue to evolve. That's what human nature does as society does, it evolves and the two are interconnected. What if civilization were to start from scratch, would religions be developed in the same way? Would we have a Church of England or Islamic religion? (the 2nd most popular religion in the world). No, I don't think so but as humanists would the basic morality be the same, because I identify with the same rules to live together and be harmonious.
A media advert such as the "Atheist bus" illustrates how I see "who I am" and if I talk to other people that's how they see me, how interesting then does my identity play with another group of people taking on this original advert. As (Woodward, 2000, p.14) says "The society in which we are born presents us with a series of roles, which are patterns of behavior, routines and responses, like parts in a play". The response from Christians was to do a copycat approach. I saw this as a compliment into what my identity is with this subject.
Reuters (2010) [online Image] Available at
(Accessed 27th September 2010)
When I talk to people about my identity, because I am probably in the minority, it is interesting to see how other people react. It can be everything from disbelief, to boredom, to hurry up and finish or just can't be bothered at what I am trying to identify with. (Woodward, 2000, p. 18) "What is going on inside our heads, how we as individuals feel about who we are, and the social, cultural, and economic factors which shape experience and make it possible for people to take up some identities"
Another interesting interaction from the media and how I was represented in my views is that people complained about the Atheist Bus campaign, as a controversial campaign it was not at all surprising. What was more surprising is that a huge number of people complained about the Christian bus advert that was run as a challenge to the original scheme. It found its place in being the top most non-broadcast advert ever. So I can identify that the media exposed me to my identity in representing my views. See http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/557.
The second media example is a trailer advertising a film called "Paranormal activities 2". This trailer identifies the genre of film that I like to watch. It identifies me with watching a terrifying film and although very scary it is completely different from the other ad. In some ways it is a contradiction because of the ghost aspect and demons, which is the story line and is the polar opposite of my identity in the first advert, which is to do with religion.
The playlist ( October 2010) [Online Image] Available at
(Accessed 26th September 2010)
The clip of film above is different in that it forms the commodity, which the film is promoted. I can identify certain symbols in the clip, which is meant to interpolate me in a particular way. To scare me into thinking this film is the horror film I want to see and not any of the competitions.
Very subtly this is working with me consciously by being drawn into thinking I must see this. It is a typical stereotype of horror movie but the trailer I saw has a very powerful media piece of short film. As Freud said "does this reveal our true feelings"? Freud argued (Bocock, 1983) "that through early development children repress all their anti-social needs and wants, all the things a child is not allowed to do or have"
It manages to use peaks of horror, which identifies the important relationship of what the film is trying to achieve. I must admit it engaged me quite profoundly and I went and saw it just two days later. Of course it is aimed at a group of people who to their social orientation and thus reduces in many senses a much wider range of people. It is assuming that certain groups of people may see this as a "reality".
As previously said there are many changes that I go through with my identity in my life and my position in society. I like to think that I am able to change and cope with change as and when different diverse things happen to me. This account, which focuses on "who I am", shows my connection with the media and how I have been persuaded or given an idea to follow through to my identity by an advert and a film clip.
When I meet someone for the first time my way of identifying who they may be apart from asking there name is to say "and what do you do for a living" This can identify the person you are talking to and set the conversation around this persons identity until I get to know them better.
The possibilities made in the media, is almost endless. No matter who you are, what you do, how you feel, there is always a particular identity that you can see, feel and read about which is closely associated with my identity. Apart from magazines, websites and T.V, even adverts on the side of buses!