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Author Topic: Image and Identity
rightleft22
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This week I attended a workshop on “learning how to influence and communicate with Gen Y”. It was a great presentation by an articulate and confident young woman, a “Gen X-er” acting as a bridge between the “Gen Yers” and the “Baby boomers”…

During the seminar the speaker talked about the importance of image to the “Gen X’ers” How for the young teen if your friend thought your hair looked “stupid” you were “stupid” the result being that your ‘friend’ wouldn’t, or was that couldn’t, talk to you for the rest of the day.

To the Gen X’ers a person is as he or she looks - a person identity is the image.

Relationships are very important, however relationships did not have to be ‘in person’- email, myspace, facebook, text messaging is a valid and maybe even preferred form of “contact” in which to relate.

The speaker also mentioned that studies are indicating that teens are becoming uncomfortable with direct eye contact. Studies are also indicating that teens have a greater difficulty identifying emotional queues both facially as well as internally. Where a adults looks concerned they see anger, where the really feel anxiety they are more likely to say they feel ‘pissed’

If I understand it then: identity is defined by image while there is a growing inability to be able to ‘see/know/process’ what is behind that image?
The focus is on relationships, but indirectly, where it’s the ‘experience’ and the feeling of having that experience that counts. This experience is then expressed, indirectly, through words separated by distance, so that one may be ‘known/seen/related to’…..

Someone should invent a t-shirt with a monitor or some such screen. It could be programmed to display an avatar of the wearer and display the appropriate ‘emoticon’s’ that the person is feeling at the time. This way everyone will be able to know what the person is feeling without having to look at anyone directly! No facial recognition skills needed, it’s all their on the shirt!
This way even if your hair looks stupid you won’t be stupid as long as you insure that your avatar looks cool!
Of course you’d still have to figure out what your internal feelings really are… [Smile] or is that [Frown]

Is image everything?

Ever watch the show, ‘sell this house’? Basically the show focues is on a house which has been on the market for a long time. A designer then determines why it’s not selling and then performs a ‘make over’.

The house can be in a great neighbourhood, sound, and have great architectural features but the buying public can't seem to see past the way the house is decorated, the image. The desginer removes some stuff, paints a room or two, improve the image, and va-la the house sells.

If any of the buyers had been able to see past the image which they weren't bying they probably could have made a deal, but now with the new coat of paint which “makes the once ugly room FEEL bigger and WARM”, well only now can they ‘see’ or is that 'feel' the potential?

Is it a wonder that Gen X’ers value image, feelings, and indirect relationship?

[ March 15, 2008, 05:02 PM: Message edited by: rightleft22 ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
To the Gen X’ers a person is as he or she looks - a person identity is the image.
According to what study, exactly?
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Rallan
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Generation X is a bunch of 30-somethings now, who've transformed from "There is no Generation X, these old dudes just don't get the complexity of all our subcultures man!" to "Well hell, I was born in the '70s so I guess I'm part of the demographic, but I don't think I was ever really part of the gen-X scene". So apart from a few aging hipsters, trying to generalise about how everyone in their 30s does this or that because they're part of generation X seems a tad pointless.
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

To the Gen X’ers a person is as he or she looks - a person identity is the image.

Are you sure you don't mean Gen Y in this and a couple other instances?
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TommySama
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I realized that I had trouble with making eye contact a little while back. So for the last month or two I've been forcing myself to make eye contact as much as possible. Seems pretty successful so far.

BTW, Generation Yer's are idiots (assuming that is my generation.) Example: TommySama.

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Jesse
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Probably a good thing. Americans make sustained eye contact in a way that makes most of the rest of humanity uncomfortable.

[ March 16, 2008, 01:12 AM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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rightleft22
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Gen X, Y .. I don't get the labals thing so probably messed it up.

I don't really think image and Identity is a generational thing, only that we are teaching the young to value image as identity.

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TomDavidson
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Probably. Gen X is certainly no longer "young." [Smile]
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Viking_Longship
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Well if Gen Y refers to kids who are teenagers today judging from the ones I work with now and the ones I know back in the states they just seem like normal teenagers.

Teenagers are always hung up on image as identity, and considering how the adults they know deal with the more extreme versions of those identities "i.e. Goths" or whatever Hip Hop culture is calling itself now, they may be more right than we think.

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caladbolg1125
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How long is a generation?

One could argue that it is about twenty years if you just take into account the time it takes a person to mature and produce offspring. I know we are physically able to produce offspring as young as 6 now (scary) and most people can do it by 13 but for cultural reasons the age at which it is generally accepted to start having kids is in the twenties.

So one human generation = 20 years.

Except that we don't have a a bunch of, for example, 10 year olds and 30 year olds and 50 year olds. Plus, there is a big distinction between a 5 year old and a 15 year old and not just in the level of maturity. There is a certain culture difference between two individuals of greater than, say, ten years. One could argue then that a cultural generation is half as long as a reproductive generation.

I suppose my ultimate question to this is: Which generation do I fall in? Being born in the mid-80s, I'm right on the cusp between gen X and (I can't really imagine them calling themselves this but whatever) gen Y. Also, how is a generation defined? Rallan says that Gen Xers are in their 30s. That's a decade and generally too short to be a reproductive generation. My parents are technically babyboomers, though they were born on the tail end of that time scale and to follow from that I would be gen X, right? I'm 21, a full decade younger than what has been said of other gen Xers.

Let's ignore my particular crisis of identity as it is feigned, I assure you. Rather, discuss the definition of generation.

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TomDavidson
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If you were born in the mid-80s, you are in Generation Y. You aren't even on the cusp.

Members of Generation X were born in the '60s and '70s.

[ March 17, 2008, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Gaoics79
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I was born in 1980. What does that make me?
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TomDavidson
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That actually puts you near the cusp. There's no official cut-off, but I think the general consensus is that 1976 was the last year of Generation X. If you were born in 1980 and had a lot of older friends, you probably have more in common with GenX than GenY.

Coupland says he thinks of the generation as mainly (culturally) consisting of those who would have been twenty-something in 1990.

Me, I tend to think of the "generations" like this:

Generation X: 1961 to 1976.
Post-Boom Generation: 1977 to 1989.
Generation Y: 1989 to 1995.
Disney Channel Generation: 1996 to Present.

If your parents were just slightly too old to be hippies, you're probably Generation X. If your parents were hippies and you can sing the Gummi Bears song, you probably fell into the post-boom. If you never owned a record player, you're probably Generation Y.

[ March 17, 2008, 01:45 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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caladbolg1125
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That's exactly what I meant, TD. If you're defining generation culturally instead of basing it on reproduction then a generation is much shorter so that, for the most part, parents and their children are two cultural generations apart even if the age difference is only twenty-some-odd years.

Where did you get those years for those generations? Whether I'm right or not, I've always thought of Gen Xers as those who were teenagers in the 90s, what you have labeled as the Post-boom Generation, I guess. I'v never heard of that though.

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scifibum
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I guess I'm in post-boom based on those date ranges but I've also never heard about it. Perhaps we're just too in-between to get much cultural recognition. [Smile]
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RickyB
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Do 80's kids have a cool name? [Razz]
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Redskullvw
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Tom has it generally right as far as calendar demographics. Another way of looking at it is instead of being dependant upon your calendar year for a cut off, you instead start with the generation of people who where in their late teens/early 20's during World War Two.

That generation which used to be known as the "War Generation", came home from the war in 1945/46 and promptly began having babies. Their babies were known as the "Baby Boom" because quite correctly, a lot of people who hadn't been able to start a family due to 5-6 years of military service got busy in bed. Starting in December 1945 a lot of babies were born to Dads who had been in service in Europe in May. It was a real uptick which really got going in mid 1946-1947.

Basically a "Boomer" was someone who was born to parents who were making babies in the late 1940's. Boomers however didn't follow the pattern of their parents in generally choosing to initiate families when they were in their teens/early twenties. Gen-X has two upticks. The first is pretty much around 1968/69 where some of the Boomers did have families that coincided with Summers of Love and Moon Shots. Those that did mimic their War Generation Parents were derided by their contemporaries as being Yuppies instead of Hippies. The Yuppies in turn said that those who hadn't decided to settle down and start a family were the "Me" Generation. Or variously, the Coke Generation, or even Disco Generation. Think "beautiful" people in the home movies of Studio 54 in its heyday.

Gen X gets kinda stretched because eventually those non-Yuppie Boomers started hearing the biological clock ticking and they suddenly began having their first babies right about the time the Gen X kids were also beginning to have their first kids as well. Depending on whether you had parents who were being traditional or parents who had delayed having babies by more than 15 years, Gen Y kids have parents who are now in their late 30's or early 60's.

My mother who was a boomer born in 1946, had em in 1968, making me a middle of the pack Gen-X. She had my brother in 1975 meaning he is a tail end of Gen X. Then she went on and had my half-brother in 1993 making him a early Gen Y kid. Now if I had gone ahead and had a kid when I was 18 like my mom did, my kid would be an early 20's years old Gen Y. But since I waited until I was 37, my kid is actually being born into the Disney Channel Generation instead of Gen-Y.

By family decent, Alex should be Gen Y. But in terms of actual calendar years and cultural relations with his peers, he is going to be more concerned about Mickey Mouse, that whatever it is that captures the attention span of my youngest Gen Y brother.

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scifibum
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quote:
By family decent...
A good typo. I know Red didn't mean it this way, and it is clear what he meant, but written this way it sounds like a nice contraction of "being born of goodly parents" [Big Grin]
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KnightEnder
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
Probably a good thing. Americans make sustained eye contact in a way that makes most of the rest of humanity uncomfortable.

Bunch of pussy's.

KE

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Actually, the assertiveness of Americans is (imo) a real plus. That is not to say that others are not assertive, simply that we tend to be more assertive in general (in my experience).
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KnightEnder
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That's what I said.

No wonder we rule the world.

Maybe it's a Texas thing, but a man that can't look you in the eye ain't much of a man and ain't no man I trust.

KE

[ March 17, 2008, 10:00 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Jesse
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To a lot of people around the world, it's a signal that you're looking for a fight.

Generation thing -

"Technically" Boomers go from 44 to 64, but let's face it, if you were 8 when woodstock happened and 14 when the Draft ended, you're not culturally a boomer.

You're also not culturally an X-r, either. Just like those born from 35-45 aren't culturally the War Generation or Boomers, there's a gap there too.

X, culturally, includes people who were defined socially as adolescents by whether they were listening to Rap, or "Alternative Rock", or Metal, or Glam rock.

If you never had to suffer through Poison or The Fat Boys being played at a school dance at some point, you're not culturally X. If Grunge was not a culturally relevant phenom to you (regardless of opinion), and you're white, you're not X. Whether that was your Junior High days or College days is another matter.

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