Hidden Identity

Why Hide Your Identity?

    People sometimes hide their identity to protect themselves.  They do not feel comfortable with who they are and their identity.  Sometimes, people have to hide from the public or from others.  These people hide their identity or adopt a false one.  Sometimes, people are forced to hide their identity, and other times people do so by choice. 

Controversy over Head-Coverings

    Right now, in Canada, there is an issue concerning whether or not Muslim women should be allowed to wear head-coverings.  It is a part of their culture, and many Muslims may feel they are losing some of their cultural identity.  However, as the writer argues, the head-covering shields their identity.  A hidden identity has always scared people.  Seeing a person’s face has always made people be able to relate to that person and feel comfortable.  Now, without being able to see who the person is, people may become a little uncomfortable.  The writer argues that these people cannot take responsibility for their actions under the law because they cannot be identified.  However, one could talk to the person.  The fact that this person is supposedly shielding her identity is what scares people.  


    A hidden identity is not foreign to Americans.  Many superheroes have hidden identities.  Superman, when not saving the world, is Clark Kent.  Clark Kent is a normal human being who has a job.  When people call for help, however, Clark Kent disappears, and Superman emerges.  Superman/Clark Kent may be accused of having a double identity.  The hidden identity of Superman is necessary so that Clark Kent can have a normal life.  Batman, Wonder Woman, and many other superheroes have had hidden identities, which does not scare the people.  


    All throughout history, there have been passers.  Passers and the act of passing is when someone takes the identity of someone else (or a group of people).  This is usually done because a person is not happy with who he/she is or to protect a person from persecution.  Racial passing is a type of passing in which someone of an ethnic background that is a minority in a certain place (in the United States it was usually African Americans) tries to deny their identity and hide it.  Sometimes African Americans who were slaves were able to escape from slavery if they had light skin because they could pass for a white American.  In the process, they were forced to deny their identity as an African American slave and conceal that identity.  During the 1960s, with “Black Power” and the civil rights movement, it became frowned upon to hide one’s identity.  It was the strong acceptance of their identity that helped the African Americans earn civil rights that they should have had from the beginning.  


    Some people feel that they are an impostor.  This lowers their self-confidence and leads to self-doubt.   Not only does impostorism cause people to feel uncomfortable, but it can change their goals.  Studies have shown that people who fear they are impostors blame success on luck.  They feel that whenever they succeed it is not because they are good at what they are doing or because they earned it, but it is because of chance.  
    Sometimes, people are self-conscious about their success.  They are not confident in their confidence.  A study in 2000 at Wake Forest University asked people who felt they were impostors to guess how they thought they would do on a test of social and intellectual skills.  These people often felt they would do very poorly.  They were then asked to make the same predictions for the same test in private, and they were told that their results would be anonymous.  Many of these people thought they would do well on the test.  The researchers decided that these people were not really impostors.  They knew the extent of their capabilities and did have self-confidence.  Then why did they originally believe they were impostors and say they would do poorly?  They chose impostorism as a social skill.  They felt that people would think they were cocky if they were overly-confident.  These people then hid their confidence and accepted an identity as an impostor instead.  In this sense, people could lower expectations and then achieve these expectations.  
    At the same time, impostorism and the fear of being a phony can protect people from dreaming too big.  Little kids think that everyone can be an astronaut or a doctor, when in reality, there are some jobs that may suit them better.  Without extreme self-confidence, people may not be selfish and self-centered.  They may fit better into society and feel comfortable in their roles.  It can lower expectations and make people feel more comfortable in a situation in which they have to speak in front of a group or other such situations.  Many people feel uncomfortable and question their confidence level.  This can protect a person from humiliation, and sometimes can be good.   

Women and the Feminine Mystique

    Women, after earning suffrage in 1920 under the 19th amendment to the Constitution, fell back a few steps in the middle of the twentieth century.  Many of these women fell into the traditional female role of marrying, having children, and staying a housewife.  However, these women had an education and did nothing with this education.  They hid in the identity of a housewife, never allowing their true individuality and individual interests to show.  When falling into the feminine mystique, these women felt a void within themselves; there was something missing.  These women gave up interest in school around the end of high school.  Many aspiring young women gave up their interests in the particular subject in which they succeeded.  They went to college, often only taking home economics classes, cooking classes, and other classes that provided skills that would be necessary in the home.  Men took on their traditional role of being the bread-winners and looked down upon the few women who actually wanted jobs.  Magazines that were made for women were written mainly by men.  The articles had little meaning or were only about raising children.  The women who had the education for and skills for being equal to their male counterparts, were trapped in the world of the home.  They continually re-decorated the house and had more children whom they hoped would help occupy themselves.  This just exhausted the women and left them with even more emptiness.  However, the women who went back to work, accepted individuality, earned jobs, and took part in society again began to feel the emptiness being removed.  These women needed to work and needed a meaning to their lives.  They could no longer hide behind the four walls of their homes and behind their identities as a housewife.  They needed to pull their true identities out of the attic and bring them to the working world.  

Works Cited