I chose to monitor myself in church and when I was attending a party with some friends last Saturday. I found that my self-presentation in those situations was altered almost completely. Also I found myself using impression management during each activity in order to choose peoples perception of me. Goffman’s idea of dramaturgy is how our society continues its function. While at the party I found myself engaged in the role of the “carefree party girl,” but the next morning my role was the complete opposite as I was engulfed in the role of the “perfect Christian.
Socialization is the reason we play the roles that are almost assigned to us by the people in our lives and the choices we make. Growing up in a Christian household I attend church three times a week and also participate in other church related activities on a regular basis. These facts both being true my relationships outside of church and my actions would not reflect so.
Knowing I was to attend a party Saturday night I dressed accordingly, short white high waisted shorts, a black crop top, and high top converse.
My attire is what is found appropriate for a social gathering of the sort. Once I arrived at the party with my friends I immediately engulfed myself in my “care free party girl” role. Getting overly excited when seeing girls I don’t even like, surrounding myself with who I feel I fit in best with, and engaging in activities that were certainly not what I consider the right thing to do.
I also found that once I arrived at the party (the front stage) my role became more than natural for me to play.
I found it interesting that everyone else there was also playing a certain role. There were the teens who used drugs, the heavy drinkers, and of course the better than everyone group of teens. Being in the audience for a while I observed the actions of others and I was able to point out each role that was being played. The next morning however when I attended church my role immediately changed which seemed effortless. At my church I am more than well known due to all of the things I participate in.
My audience views me as a smart, innocent, and a loving Christian. So therefore I acted accordingly. Engulfing myself again in a role but this time as the “perfect Christian. ” I wore a knee length dress with almost childish looking flats. I was surprised when I notice that even the words I chose to use were completely different than that of the night before. During worship I held my hands high whilst singing along with the rest of my church. My performance team being my family and close family friends made my role even easier.
While the rest of the church (my audience) gave me a reason and motivation to convince myself that I was whom I was acting like. Although both situations were complete opposites I still managed to see my stigma and how it affected how I played each role. Although I am half-black and half-white my audience has always seen me as what mean people would say, “white washed. ” According to society I do not fit into what is usual for typical African Americans. While at the party I surrounded myself with primarily Caucasian people where I feel I fit in best, and the same went for church.
Although in both situations I played a different role, my roles were based on what I chose to make people perceive me as and whom I surrounded myself with. We are not given a true self; our true self is created through the choices and actions we preform throughout our existence. We create who we are based on our stigma, environment, and relationships with people. Although we play many different roles through out our existence how we define whom we really are is our own choice. I have many different roles, the “perfect Christian” and “carefree party girl” are just two of the many.
Just because we have different roles in society doesn’t not mean we do not have a true self, the roles we play through out our life is what creates what we can call our true self. Having a true self doesn’t necessarily mean that we have act the same in every situation we encounter. Nothing is permanent everything is susceptible to change. Societies change, laws change, people change, and the use of impression management is simply a way for us to choose who we want to become. When is comes down to the basics we are who we are, or who we are perceived as and with the use of impression management we are able to create our true self.
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